The German Football Ambassador 2019 is Jürgen Klopp. The 51-year-old coach of FC Liverpool was awarded the prize by the jury of the “German Football Ambassador Association”, chaired by kicker publisher Rainer Holzschuh, and is thus the successor to Gert Engels, who was honoured in Japan in 2018.
“Many thanks for the award. I like being German, I like being European and I like living in England,” Klopp, who was unable to attend the award ceremony on Wednesday evening at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin-Mitte in person, transmitted via video message from Liverpool. Klopp emphasized that he felt that, as a result of the award, he “now also feels further obliged” to continue to live his position and act as a good ambassador of his home country and of German football.
“He gives something to every club he is with. The club has more glamour. People love him because he loves the club he is with,” said Hans-Joachim Watzke in his laudation of the prizewinner. The managing director of Borussia Dortmund, who calls Klopp “one of my best friends”, celebrated two German championships and one cup win with the ex-professional and coach from Mainz 05 at BVB between 2008 and 2015.
“Football is a door you open. You can change lives.” – Petra Landers
Behind Klopp Petra Landers and Michael Weiss took the places. Landers, former German national player and multiple German champion with SSG Bergisch-Gladbach, has been involved for several years, among other things, in a project that supports young female football players in Zambia’s capital Lusaka. “When we leave them alone, it’s really hard for the women. We have a duty to pass on what we have achieved in Germany,” says the 57-year-old, “Football is a door you open. You can change lives.” Weiss, who was nominated again after 2013, is currently Mongolia’s national coach. Before that, he was active in Japan, Rwanda and the Philippines, among others.
Goalkeeper follows goalkeeper: Ter Stegen follows Karius
The successor to Loris Karius, who was awarded the Public Award in the “Players” category in 2018, is once again a goalkeeper: Marc-André ter Stegen, German national keeper and FC Barcelona No. 1. For Gernot Rohr (65), 2016 German football ambassador and current national coach of Nigeria, who gave the laudatory speech for ter Stegen, the 27-year-old embodies “the modern goalkeeper, he is the model also for my three goalkeepers of the national team of Nigeria. It was also impressive to see how ter Stegen “became a great goalkeeper with a lot of will, but also modesty,” said Rohr.
Ter Stegen himself was also unable to attend in person at the Foreign Office because he had to train. After all, FC Barcelona will be facing the last highlight of the season on 25 May: the final of the Copa del Rey in Seville against FC Valencia. His advisor Rene vom Bruch accepted the prize on behalf of the club. In a video message, the honoured person expressed his thanks for his choice. “It is a tribute to all football fans who follow the players abroad,” said ter Stegen.
Honorary award to Bernd Schuster
Bernd Schuster’s career as a football ambassador has taken him mainly to Spain – and there to all the major clubs: FC Barcelona (1980-88), Real Madrid (1988-90) and Atletico Madrid (1990-93). “Today he is also a Spanish football ambassador,” said Ricardo Martinez, Spanish ambassador in Berlin, about Schuster, who received the prize of honour. Schuster has been loved by the Spanish from the very beginning, “because he has always given everything,” said Martinez. In Spain, Schuster has long been “our Bernardo. Bernd is 40 percent Spanish.”
Schuster accepted the award “mega proud” and Martinez “almost made him cry” with his laudation. Schuster also found an event to make him cry: FC Barcelona’s 4-0 defeat in the semi-final second leg at Liverpool FC. “That was a huge disappointment for us,” said Schuster, who is now treating Jürgen Klopp to the Champions League title.