Frank von Behren is not one to rush things. When he was offered the post of managing director at 1. VfL Potsdam, he carefully weighed up the eventualities. And yet the project quickly won him over. “I found it really exciting right from the start,” says the 45-year-old, “we found common ground pretty quickly.”
On the day that von Behren was released from his job as sports manager at GWD Minden after almost five years last November, Bob Hanning had contacted him by phone. In the months that followed, there were meetings with the managing director of Füchse Berlin, who also acts as a trainer for VfL and whose stated goal for some time has been to lead the cooperation partner to the second division.
“The conditions here at the Olympic base in Potsdam are perfect for this. This is absolute competitive sport, every athlete dreams of it,” enthuses von Behren, who shares a vision with Hanning. Both attach great importance to promoting talent and have repeatedly campaigned for the establishment of young German players in the Bundesliga.
So it is hardly surprising that the paths of the two officials often crossed in the past. For example, Christoph Reißky, Malte Semisch and Miro Schluroff went from Berlin to East Westphalia, while Marian Michalczik was drawn to the Champions League aspirant. “Although I thought even then that this step came too early for Marian,” says von Behrend, who was somewhat taken by surprise by the Sports Director of the Foxes, Stefan Kretzschmar. Ultimately, von Behren was right. Michalczik was not able to establish himself with the foxes, was also thrown back by injuries and is now moving to his competitor in Hanover ahead of time.
But that’s the sport. That’s the business with young players who don’t always make it through to the top clubs without problems, and who are difficult to keep if they develop successfully. This is one of the reasons why the Potsdam project stands out and a look at the current squad shows what fruits the efforts are already bearing. There are numerous players active here who have already played for the foxes in the Bundesliga. Fuchs Matthes Langhoff also gets the playing time here that he sometimes lacks in the pros. It is also planned for the next season with Max Beneke, while left winger Tim Freihöfer is moving to Berlin.
Hanning and von Behren want to build on that. Regardless of whether the Potsdamers make the promotion perfect this weekend. After the 30:25 first leg win at SG Pforzheim/Eutingen, the chances in the home arena (4 p.m./sportdeutschland.tv) are more than good. “But then it’s important that the structures grow with them and the club is further professionalized,” says von Behren, whose contract begins on July 1st. From then on, the 45-year-old will initially commute between Potsdam, Berlin and Minden, while his wife and children remain at home. “We’ll see how it goes first,” says von Behren.
He doesn’t think there could be any problems working with the always committed Hanning. His former national team colleague Kretzschmar showed the way. Just like Volker Zerbe before him. Respect for Hanning is great. “He’s just a doer, I can only benefit from that,” says von Behren. As managing director, he has a lot ahead of him in the initial phase. But Frank von Behren takes it with his usual composure. He wants to get an overview first.