Who are Tesla's unsung heroes

Retreat of a silent soccer hero

HAPPURG - He is one of the "unsung heroes" of German football, now he is ending his active career after 355 competitive games for 1. FC Nürnberg, VfB Stuttgart, Austria Vienna, Energie Cottbus and Red Bull Leipzig: Timo Rost from Happurg wants his passion but remain loyal - as a coach.

The Happurger is spending his 34th birthday today at the Stanglwirt in Tyrol - in the fitness room to work off his body, which has been hardened in paid football in 16 years, together with the boxing world champion Vitali Klitschko, who is preparing for his next World Cup fight. It had been bothering him for years, especially the Achilles' heel was becoming more and more noticeable. So much so that the former Bayern doctor Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfahrt recommended "taking it easy".

This advice was taken to heart by Rost, who kicked the ball for the first time at SC Happurg at the age of five and is still a member there. Later he moved to the Valznerweiher via Amberg, where he became a youth national player (52 international matches from U15 to U21, third in the U16 European Championship, U17 World Cup participant) and won everything there was to be won in the youth field. In 1997, the midfielder, mainly supported by “Tiger” Hermann Gerland, also made his Bundesliga debut at the “Old Masters”.

After only nine games for the club ("My family is still very much connected to the club") and despite being promoted to the first division, he followed coach Winnie Schäfer's call to VfB Stuttgart the following year. But even for the Swabians, the professional, who is strong in running and tackling, only made 16 games - and his first of a total of twelve Bundesliga clubs - before moving to the Austrian “Operetta League” at Austria Wien for two years. There he received the higher consecration of football strategy from "Tactic Fox Arie Haan" (Rost).

For the 2001/2002 season he then signed a contract with the Bundesliga club Energie Cottbus - and found his sporting home, which he was only to leave ten years later as their honorary captain and table football player with the most Bundesliga appearances (129). Under coach Eduard “Ede” Geyer he learned “everything in terms of discipline” and matured into a seasoned defensive midfielder who was feared by many opponents. "I had a lot of well-known opponents", says Timo Rost, "Diego, Rafael van der Vaart, Marcelino, Mehmet Scholl and not to forget Franck Ribéry".

He looked good against almost everyone - only he never got a grip on Leverkusen's Bernd "Schnix" Schneider. “He could kick, run, pocketed and dealt, never complained. He had everything and is also a great guy in other respects, ”says Rost still today about the 81-time national player who retired in 2009.

A large part of his "unbelievably many" memories of 16 years of professional football are closely linked to energy. Like the derby against Hansa Rostock in 2008 when the loser had to go to the second division. “Early red card for us, Rostock takes the lead. If we had lost, we would have been relegated, "says Rost," I make it 1: 1 with a diving header. Hansa keeper Stefan Wächter tears his cruciate ligament, but Rostock can no longer change. And then Dimitar Rangelov scored the winning goal with the first ball contact after a month long injury break and the stadium went wild. "

Timo Rost is also on the pitch at one of the strangest moments in 50 years of the Bundesliga - Energy goalkeeper Tomislav Piplica's header in the 3: 3 win against Borussia Mönchengladbach: “I've only been in Cottbus for a few months and thought to myself what we have there for a madman in goal. "This opinion was of course soon out of date, as the goalkeeper demonstrated to him" every day what makes a professional ".

The Happurger wants to teach this to his successors in the Bundesliga in the future. In three months he will finish his sports management studies, then he will start his first coaching license. He will soon be talking to Ralf Rangnick about staying at Red Bull Leipzig in order to start his first steps on the sidelines in the junior division. And subsequently? “Maybe one day I'll take on a professional team,” says Timo Rost.

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