Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has admitted his fascination in the rivalry between Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc and his Bayern Munich counterpart Matthias Sammer.
Hitzfeld coached both sides and former players in a stellar managerial career, taking over the reins at Westfalenstadion between 1991 and 1997 and subsequently at Bayern from 1998 to 2004 and again from 2007-08.
The duo were team-mates in the early 90s, with Sammer coaching Die Borussen to the Bundesliga title in 2002 before igniting the current rivalry between German football’s two biggest clubs ahead of the DFL-Supercup match this weekend. ‘Der General‘ offered his views on both men in an interview.
“I brought Mathias Sammer to Borussia Dortmund from Inter, he wasn’t particularly happy in Italy,” the 63-year-old told Bundesliga.de
“So then, we were working together, and he was always was one of the leaders of the team, he wasn’t the captain, Michael Zorc was. But he was always critical, and calling things into question. With him, it was always relevant criticism, aimed at helping the team being successful.
“Zorc had been the captain for years before I joined Dortmund, he was a leader as well. He invariably put the team before himself. He had come up the ranks there himself. He was very popular of course. He always represented the team’s interests and was always an easy captain to work with.
“Obviously, I am fascinated by this duel between Zorc and Sammer. But I think they are two personalities who each play a supporting role to the coach, and it is the coach who is always in the public eye, not the sporting director. And that’s how it should be in the future.
“Now they’re going head-to-head. That’s just the passage of time, when you have two former players taking over in top positions, and that’s something that German football profits from.
“I think both are heading into the German Supercup with very high expectations, it’s a chance for them to see where they stand, as well as being a prestigious duel.
“Dortmund were very clearly the dominant side last season, while Bayern ended up with nothing. That will be a real thorn in their side of course. Now is the start of a new season, this can give them a pointer as to what they can achieve for the rest of the season. As far as that goes, there is a lot more at stake for Bayern than Dortmund.”
Sunday’s DFL-Supercup clash at the Allianz Arena kicks off at 20:00 CET.