It was a great feeling to finally stand on the pitch as a master. To be honest, I was also surprised by our performance. It was really a special week. Many celebrate, very little training, a special rhythm. So of course I was all the happier that we could add a win.
The FCZ had a difficult phase a year ago. 8th place out of 10 in the Super League 2020/21 under coach Massimo Rizzo. They were afraid that you would not get far with the performance. How did the team freed from this crisis, what was the key moment?
Clearly André Breitenreiter, who came in summer. He had an enormous impact on the team. From day one you felt what he has for a personality and what his goals are with us. He had a lot of conversations with us and picked up the team as a whole on a completely different level. Most of the success in success is therefore certainly to be awarded to him. But of course also the team, who has consistently called up their performance at a top level this year.
Can you still remember what André Breitenreiter said in the cabin during the half -time break after you were already in the lead 2-0 against Basel?
We came into the cabin and were already positive. Then André came and said: “That was the worst performance in a long time.” At first we were all a little perplex at first, but he was right. At that moment he brought us something on the ground of the facts. In the second half we were much more concentrated.
So I think training cannot be called. It was more of a movement therapy.
Yanick Brecher about the “Training afterwards”
When was the turning point for you in the season when you realized that the championship is no longer so absurd?
Already at the beginning of the season it was noticed that we are a special team and that we have what it takes to achieve greater things as long as we bring our performance onto the square and do not lose sight of our plan. Nobody would have thought that we really do it in the end. Me neither. The key moment was definitely the second half of the season when we had several points ahead and the competition left points. There was already the moment when I thought about: If we continue to do this in this form, we become Swiss champions.
What was the first training with the team?
So I don’t think you can call that. It was more of a movement therapy (smiles). I think if we were watched from the outside and did not know who was on the pitch, then we could have passed as a district league team (laughs). The error rate was very high, the movements were very slow and sluggish.
You said that on the day of the big celebration with the fans you only arrived at home at 4 a.m., but could only sleep at 7 a.m.
Inside I was completely drained at midnight because everything was so emotional. Then at some point the tiredness came and I made my way home. There I was welcomed by a huge FCZ poster of my neighbors. I would not have expected that. Then I actually wanted to go to sleep directly, but no chance. I then looked at the key scenes of the game again on the sofa. Simply to look at the whole thing from the outside. On the square you are in the tunnel, so of course you can see more details on TV and process the different impressions very differently.
That was definitely a special situation for the team, after such a long time without fans, to celebrate together again.
That was really very extraordinary in Basel. Because the guest sector was enlarged, there was an outstanding mood in the stadium. Then we were on the balcony at the Helvetiaplatz in Zurich. If you see these crowds, that’s just incredible. I was already there three times after cup wins, but the masses of fans are not comparable to those of the master celebration. That is simply a special status.
It is of course understandable that he is concerned when clubs from the Bundesliga show interest.
Yanick Brecher via Breitenreiter
The Bild newspaper recently reported that various clubs are interested in the master coach André Breitenreiter, including Hertha BSC. What do you say and why should Breitenreiter remain?
For us that would of course be extremely a shame if he went. We played a sensational season under his leadership. For three years we stood constant in the lower half of the table. He made us a master. Something like that is unique, it is normal for other clubs to become aware of him. But with us he has the opportunity, and I think we differ from some clubs to play in the Champions League qualification, which has always been a great wish of him. This is an argument for Zurich, of course in addition to the great city, the club and the entire team, which has done this very well to date. However, it is of course understandable that he is thinking of one or the other when clubs from the Bundesliga show interest.
You address the Bundesliga. Two years ago, they said that they could also imagine playing there. Would that still be an option for you?
Yes, of couse. You should never say no to the Bundesliga – that’s the way it is. I am very happy here in Zurich. I grew up here and my children grow up here – that is my club. But should it be the case that a Bundesliga club would report to me, it would be a new challenge for me again in terms of sport and it is logical that I think carefully about it. You can’t just say no in advance.
In winter, Switzerland goes to the World Cup in Qatar. There the Nati meets Brazil, Serbia and Cameroon in Group G. How do you see the opportunities for Switzerland at the World Cup?
I think there is no easy group at a World Cup. All teams are so close together, you can see that in other international competitions. Switzerland has recently proven that we have a chance at big tournaments. After the game against France last summer, everyone saw what quality the team has. If you show this performance again on the pitch, you have potential to qualify for the knockout phase.
Who are your favorites at the upcoming World Cup?
I still have ancestors from France, so there is still some French blood in me. France has a very strong team. I was therefore surprised that Switzerland beat it at the time. But I think that when France plays again in the usual quality, then you are certainly one of the title favorites and also a team that I will follow.
How will you follow the upcoming World Cup?
My daughter is an absolute football fan. She is there with every home game. She is only two and a half years old, but she is already practicing the fishing chants of FC Zurich. Therefore I will certainly watch one or the other game on TV with her. But I will certainly follow the games of the Nati, which is of course a must for every Swiss (smile).
Has the Nati coach called you to you after the championship won?
No not that. My bad luck is that we have so many good goalkeepers in Switzerland who play in the Bundesliga or France. Therefore, it goes without saying that those who play at a top level and deliver to the World Cup week after week. Of course, every player has the dream for the national team, but I have no problem when I follow the games with my children from home.