Christian Ziege played for Bayern Munich from 1990 to 1997 where he helped Bayern win the Bundesliga twice and the UEFA Cup (the predecessor to the Europa League) once. After playing more than half of his career for Bayern, Ziege also played in Serie A and the Premier League before finishing his career back in the Bundesliga with Borussia Mönchengladbach. He also played for the German national team, winning Euro 96 and finishing second in the 2002 World Cup.
After retiring, Ziege has had many coaching positions at all different levels and in different areas of the world. His most recent stop has been FC Pinzgau in Saalfelden, Austria — which is a fan owned club. As a fan owner, BFW’s Logan Chugg was able to coordinate an interview.
BFW: Tell us a little bit about what you have been doing in Austria?
Christian Ziege: I always had this dream to live in Austria. 2018 my wife and I decided to try and go for it. 2019 in April there has been the opportunity to coach FCPS and that has been my job till the 30. of June 2022. A fantastic and wonderful experience to coach a team at this level.
BFW: What will you be doing now that you are stepping back from coaching?
Ziege: Now I’m Sports Director. It means I’m in charge of the whole philosophy in our club. So not just the first team. We talking about the youth teams and the ladies team. This is very important to us, which is why I founded the “Fußballschule Pinzgau” together with Mike Pilko. The girls play with the boys up to the age of 14 – after that they should actually be trained according to their age, but end up directly with the fighting team. We have taken on this development process, even though we know that it will not happen overnight.
BFW: How has it been coaching your own son?
Ziege: No problem at all. As long as you treat him like everybody else, you don’t have problems. He had to perform like all other team members.
BFW: How do you feel about the Fan-Owned model that FC Pinzgau operates under – in comparison to some teams throughout Europe being bought by nation states and pumping billions into the club?
Ziege: With the Fan Owned Club at FC Pinzgau Saalfelden, we have a very special situation and the driving force behind our project. All over the world, fans can buy shares in the club and are investors - that has taken on the right momentum. FC Pinzgau Saalfelden has grown in many areas, has become more professional and is on a stable footing. Step by step. Would be great, if our fanbase will grow in the future. But the region is also very important to us and is really close to our hearts, so we want to build something in a targeted manner in the long term and ensure sustainability. These are not just loose words, but a promise!
BFW: Looking back now, what sticks out to you from your time at Bayern?
Ziege: My first and big step into professional football. My dream came true to play for Bayern. I came there as a not known player and I had to fight and work hard to get my place in the first eleven. I’m really proud to be in the history books of such a big club in Germany.
BFW: Any inside stories can you share from that time?
Ziege: No inside stories…
BFW: Do you still follow Bayern? If so, what do you think about the current state of the team?
Ziege: Yes, I do and I think they have made some good transfers, so they have a really good team to win trophies.
BFW: What are your thoughts on Bayern winning the Bundesliga an unprecedented ten times in a row? Is it good or bad for the Bundesliga?
Ziege: It means they have done a fantastic job over the last 10 years. It might be a bit boring on one hand but they are the team to beat in Germany and always in the position to win international trophies. Obviously, the other clubs have to do a better job for the whole season not just for some games …
BFW: Do you think that they will make it eleven?
Ziege: Bayern is always the first team which has the opportunity and possibility to win the title.
BFW: Your international career was also quite impressive! You were with Germany for their 1996 Euro championship and the 2002 team that came up just short in the World Cup. What do you think that made those Germany teams special?
Ziege: Never give up and perform and stick together as a team
BFW: Who stood out as leaders on those German teams?
Ziege: I was happy and honored to play alongside word class players like … Oliver Kahn, Lothar Matthäus, Matthias Sammer, Andreas Breme, Michael Ballack, and so on …
BFW: How do you feel about die Mannschaft less than six months away from the World Cup?
Ziege: We have some problems at different positions. Left back, right back, striker. We have players which are not playing on a club level and should be important players for “die Mannschaft.” I believe it might be difficult, but if they stick together as a team, everything is possible.
For more information about FC Pinzgau and the Fan Owned Club project, visit www.fanownedclub.com