Exclusive Interview with Karl-Heinz Förster

12 apr 2018
Photos © 
An iconic figure in the late '80s, Karl-Heinz Förster is back at the Velodrome tonight. On this occasion, the former midfielder sat down for an exclusive interview...
Karl-Heinz, in the first leg, OM lost to Leipzig (1-0). What did you think about the two teams' performance?

I think the defeat was not really justified for OM. The draw would've seemed fairer to me. OM had several players absent. And despite that, I found the team to be very competitive. The level of play was intense.

Is OM able to win tonight?

Of course. First, because the team will regain some of its players. Florian Thauvin in particular. Then, because Leipzig played a game on Monday and lost to Bayer Leverkusen (1-4). I think it can affect the morale and the fitness of the group.

Given the outcome of the first match, can we expect a stubborn game? Will Leipzig focus on defence?

Not at all. Leipzig is a team that always plays forward, regardless of the opponent or the competition. They will not come to the Velodrome to defend the first leg. This is absolutely not in their game philosophy. They will try to "get back" very quickly in the match and score as quickly as possible.

If you had to define the Leipzig team in a few words?

It is a club that has achieved good results very quickly. They reached the Bundesliga in 2016 and quickly reached the UEFA Champions League. This is a club from East Germany, which benefited from the arrival of a very large investor. The inhabitants and supporters of Leipzig are obviously delighted. 

But in Germany, we do not see it very favorably. It's more complicated. I think that English football has seen the arrival of big fortunes some time ago. It happens in Germany and it must be done, even if it is still very badly perceived at home.

You are at the Stade Velodrome tonight. You'll discover the new-look stadium. What does this represent for you?

I am waiting for that with great impatience. When I wore the jersey of OM, I remember an incredible atmosphere and fervor. It was pushing the team a lot. And I think that will still be the case. This will make the match even more complicated for Leipzig.

Which current player on the team impresses you most?

I really appreciate Dimitri Payet. He is a great captain. I like his way of playing. He does not play for himself. We feel that he is at the service of the collective. I find it so rare in this position. He is admirable.

During your career, you have worn the colors of Stuttgart and Marseille, from 1986-1990. What is your favourite memory?

I spent four fantastic years in Marseille. It was a great time for the club. My family loved living here. One of our girls was born in Marseille. The year of the double is necessarily my best memory. There was this final of the Coupe de France against Monaco ... We won 4-3! I was injured and perhaps may not have played in the final. But I convinced my coach and I could play!

And the most painful memory?

The injury that forced me to stop my career.

And finally, what is your prediction for tonight's match?

OM will qualify. I bet on a 1-0 win, with a qualification at the end of the penalty shootout.