In hindsight, Roger Schmidt should have known better.
Leverkusen’s current talent steward certainly had years to build up a healthy dislike of Peter Stöger, tracing back to when Stöger’s FK Wien side snatched the 2013 league title in Austria away from Schmidt’s previous money-fueled football business masquerading as a “club.” Coming away from Saturday’s latest meeting with his old foe with such a big victory had to be somewhat cathartic for him, which helps inform his ill-conceived slamming of Stöger’s side and coaching philosophy.
I say it was ill-conceived not only because it made Schmidt look a bit like a poor winner/jerk, but also because he should have already been aware of Stöger’s cool demeanor that has made him so popular in Köln and helped him navigate the media hotbed in which his club plays. Plus, it was already public knowledge that Stöger would be appearing on “Doppelpass” later in the weekend, which would give his target a much bigger podium from which to offer a response and plenty of time to consider the best possible phrasing of his retort.
And he really did land on a perfect phrasing of his retort.
“Respekt gibt es auf dem Transfermarkt eben nicht zu kaufen.”
It’s difficult for me to know I have it translated perfectly, but “you can’t just buy respect in the transfer market” captures it the way I heard it. More literally, he says there is no respect on the transfer market to purchase,” but you get the idea.
Stöger was responding very naturally to a question about Schmidt’s shot at him, implying he was unaware of any lingering animosity even from their time as opponents in Austria, but he was then unable to completely suppress a grin as he delivered the dagger at the very end.
You KNOW he had that one in his back pocket for use if the opportunity presented itself . . . which it did.
If you’re a fan of the Pill Pimps and their Dracula-looking head coach, you might be tempted to label Stöger’s retort as classless in a way similar to the way Schmidt’s post-match commentary has widely been.
You’d, of course, be wrong, but if you somehow landed on Leverkusen as your club, it will obviously not be the first time you’ve been in the wrong. An instigation, after all, deserves a response, even though Stöger had clearly come away with the better public perception from the entire incident, even before taking a crack at Schmidt’s tendency to have his coaching abilities bolstered by his clubs’ fiscal power in the transfer market.
Again, if you’re a fan of Leverkusen, you can’t really be in denial of how your team is constructed. Please tell me you’re not in denial of how your team is constructed.
Actually, don’t . . . I don’t want to know.
But even Schmidt must have been made aware somehow of how well his comments were met by public perception. I suppose if you imagine people are generally appreciative of big-money rosters becoming the path to Bundesliga success, you probably think acting like an ungracious stiff is also completely in-bounds.
Hence, by Monday, we were able to read what passes as a clarification and/or apology from such people.
“I wanted only to express with my statement that I am an advocate of offensive play and that, for me, only such an active style of football is even possible. If this was taken to be a statement my colleague, I am sorry.”
Now, breaking it down a bit, let’s just be real about it.
Firts, if you’d wanted to express only that you were an advocate of offensive football, you’d have said pretty much that and nothing else. It would have sounded like, “yeah, five goals is really the reward of my personal philosophy, which is an offensive style of football. It’s the only sort of football I really enjoy.”
Then, PERIOD! Even that could have been construed as being a bit of a jab at Köln and Stöger, but without you having drawn the lines to it yourself. Once you start in with “otherwise, I wouldn’t be much of a football coach,” or however the English version would read, you’re no longer talking about just you and your philosophy, especially after pointing out you couldn’t play the way Köln played.
Second, Schmidt drops the “my dog ate my homework,” or “my Twitter account was hacked” version of apologies.
“‘If’ all you media folk, Köln fans, Peter Stögers, and or anyone else misconstrued what I said as being what I said, well ‘THEN’ I guess I should probably at least pretend that I might be sorry . . . because one of my bosses pointed out that we already have a bit of a PR problem in the area from being moneyed by pharmaceuticals.”
Okay, that should be enough talking about a club other than my own for a while. It’s a bit fun to bash Bayer about a bit after they did the same on the pitch Saturday, but it’s not that productive . . . well, it’s a little cathartic, isn’t it Rog? . . .
On to the home match with red-hot Augsburg and trying to remember that we are not yet in a must-win situation to meet our rather low season goals.
That said, it sure would be nice to get another three points and start to feel better about the recent run.