Team spokesman: Austrian footballers look forward to working with Czech coach

Karel Bruckner, photo: CTK

Karel Bruckner has long been highly-regarded for his coaching skills, but after stepping down as Czech national team manager most expected he would retire. He himself has said as much, saying he was looking forward to the so-called “unbearable lightness of being”. But if so, not for long. On Friday, Austria’s Football Federation revealed that Mr Bruckner has signed on to lead Austria through qualification for the World Cup. On Monday, the charismatic Czech appeared at his first press conference in Vienna.

Karel Bruckner,  photo: CTK
As a coach Karel Bruckner has always been highly respected and for very good reason: a high level of professionalism and success. Prior to his seven-year run with the national squad, Bruckner coached the Czech Under-21s to the European Championship finals. He didn’t do so badly with the national team either: his line-up for Euro 2004, featuring players like Karel Poborský and Pavel Nedvěd, played some of the best football of the championship. But at this year’s Euro, things didn’t go as well and it was thought that Mr Bruckner would retire from the world of football completely. What a difference a month or so makes. It was a rejuvenated Bruckner - full of élan - who appeared before journalists in Vienna on Monday. A little earlier I spoke to the Austrian national team spokesman, Peter Klinglmüller, and asked him to describe the reactions and mood:

“We are very proud that a legend like Karel Bruckner is our new national coach. I already had the chance to speak with a few players, including skipper Andreas Ivanschitz, and two or three others and all of them said the same: that all of them are looking forward to working with such an expert and great coach in the future. I spoke to a lot of the Austrian journalists after the press conference and already many were deeply impressed by his overview of Austrian football and has good plans and everyone is looking forward to the work he’ll do with the team in the next months and years.”

Karel Bruckner,  photo: CTK
It is expected that Mr Bruckner will do his best for Austria to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa. But there’s no question that the team faces a tough group, including France and Romania. On the plus side, Bruckner’s German is reportedly good, easing communication, and the coach is confident. Meanwhile, many Czechs will now be wondering whether Austria will have a chance to play against the Czech Republic, now coached by Bruckner’s former assistant Petr Rada, - at least in a friendly. Austrian team spokesman Peter Klinglmüller says there’s no reason why not:

“Austria against the Czech Republic is a match-up we’ve seen often and is well-received. There are very good relations between the Austrian and Czech football federations, so we’ll see. In 2008/2009 there are two or three dates for Austria for possibly friendlies, so yes, we will see.”