Revealed: The army of German students who masterminded England's defeat
Published 13:53 02/07/10 By Simon Bird
The football spying unity behind Germany's World Cup success was revealed yesterday - and it turns out England were beaten by a bunch of university students.
A special research unit was set up at the German Univeristy of Sport in Cologne to monitor every player, in all domestic leagues and international matches.
Each of Germany's 31 World Cup rivals were assigned two students who complied the most comprehensive dossier ever assembled with hours of video footage, statistics, strengths and weaknesses.
England has two video technicians as part of their squad in Rustenburg, compared to Germany's army of researchers.
Once England were drawn in the last 16, the students, for instance, knew that John Terry could be easily drawn out of defence leaving gaps behind, and that his lack of pace could be exploited. They also discovered England left themselves light at the back when attacking - so counter attacks were a major part of the German game plan.
The students were officially thanked for their contribution yesterday by boss Joachim Loew, team boss Oliver Bierhoff. Skipper Philippe Lahm said: It's a matter of 15-20 video digest and information. We will use it again against Argentina. We did the same thing against England and it was visible that we changed our tactics a bit and were optimally prepared. That's why we won. We knew exactly what to expect."
A German official explained yesterday ahead of their clash with Argentina: "The DfB (German FA) has a small part of the uni where coaches get their qualifications on a year long course in the Hannes Weissmuller Academy. Christian Ziege and Markus Babbel have just done theirs.
"In the part of the university that doesn't belong to us there are students studying degrees to become sports administrators or club executives and we use them to study teams.
"Because of our connections with broadcasters we get footage of all the games, in leagues and internationals, so we know everything about individual players and their international teams. They get paid, but they are students. It's not expensive. They have analysed the Argentinians for us just as they analysed England.
"They analyse each player for his strengths and weaknesses. Does he swing the corner in or out? How does he take free-kicks or penalties. How does he play in one-on-one situations? Does he prefer to go left or right? They look at anything that will be important to us in playing teams like England and Argentina. They've watched all their games in qualifying as well as out here.
"They then send this encyclopedia of info to Urs Siegenthaler, who is the chief scout, our match analyst. He digests it and makes a video of 8 to 15 minutes for Joegi Loew and the team to look at. There are also special clips made for each player, like for Per Mertesacker and Friedrich to know everything about the opposing strikers."
"Two students studied each of the 31 teams here. It started five years ago when Jurgen Klinsmann was coach. It was his idea."
Swiss Siegenthaler, 62, and ex-Basel player is quitting to join Hamburg, but not before making a big contribution to Germany's success.
Germany will also hand keeper Manuel Neuer a crib sheet with info on Argentina penalty takes to revise their favourite kicks.
Loew also explained yesterday that he has insisted on all German teams adopting the same game plan - from U17 to seniors, making progress through the ranks quicker. Six of the World Cup squad came fresh from winning last summer's U21 Euro championship including star men Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller.
He added: "That was a great source of self confidence for these players. We threw them in at the deep end and it has done them good. Most of these players have been with Host three to four years."
Lahm also believes the other secret to German dominance is the school of hard knocks when they join clubs, leaving them mentally tougher than other nations.
Lahm added: "Why do we keep making the quarter finals and beyond? It's a mentality thing.
"At a very early age even young players learn to deal with troublesome complicated situations and pressure. Even 13 -14 years old. New players arrive at clubs and big players are dropped. So at an early age they're blooded into the intensity of make or break and that makes them survive real pressure in tournaments like this."