For Bayer Leverkusen he was a “pioneer and innovator”, for Reiner Calmund and Christoph Daum a mentor. He himself learned from a legend of German football and shaped the Bundesliga beyond the Rhineland: On the night of December 24th, Willibert Kremer died at the age of 82 after a long illness.
Kremer experienced the “happiest moment” of his coaching career on May 13, 1979, when he laid the foundations for Leverkusen’s success story: With a 3: 3 against Uerdingen (after 0: 3 deficit), his team made it to the top division. Before that, Kremer, who comes from Hochneukirch near Mönchengladbach, had already set another course: He had brought in Reiner Calmund as youth supervisor, who in the 1990s as a manager with coach Daum formed a team in Leverkusen that made it to the final of the Champions League in 2002. Calmund now praised Kremer as a “wonderful person”. Kremer’s scouting team discovered players like Emerson, Zé Roberto, Oliver Neuville, Michael Ballack or Niko and Robert Kovac.
Kremer left his mark not only in Leverkusen. He led MSV Duisburg, for whom he played 91 Bundesliga games, as a coach in the cup final in 1975 and back in the first division in 1991, he coached Fortuna Düsseldorf, 1860 Munich or Eintracht Braunschweig. Its discoverer was Hennes Weisweiler. The later master coach brought the winger to Viktoria Köln, from there he went to the Bundesliga for Hertha BSC. Weisweiler also passed on his experience as a trainer to Kremer. Decades later, German football will mourn Kremer on Christmas 2021. “He was always an idol for Viktoria,” said Viktoria President Günter Pütz. “His place in the club’s history of black and red will remain inviolable,” wrote Bayer Leverkusen.