UEFA EURO 2024: The mastermind in Rangnick’s shadow

UEFA EURO 2024: The mastermind in Rangnick’s shadow

According to Kornetka, the setback in the first half was due to psychological reasons. “It can happen that when there is a lot at stake, you start to think about what if. That’s human,” said the 46-year-old, who has been Rangnick’s assistant coach since he took office two years ago. The right conclusions were drawn during the break. “We noticed that Christoph Baumgartner wasn’t really getting into the game, so we moved him into the middle,” explained Kornetka.

ÖFB analyst Stefan Oesen sat in the stands against Poland, as he does in every international match, and together with the coaching team prepared striking video sequences that were shown to the team in the dressing room. “We are in constant communication during the game and are set up in such a way that we can prepare everything during the break,” said Kornetka.

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The half-time analysis showed that the match plan was right. “We didn’t do too much wrong in the first half, we just gave the ball away too easily. That gave the opponent more chances than they wanted. We did better in the second half because we put more pressure on the ball,” said Kornetka.

“It’s like a marriage”

The former sports journalist met Rangnick 17 years ago; they both run “Rangnick Kornetka Consulting GmbH” together, based in Düsseldorf. The duo first worked together at Hoffenheim, and they were also involved with Lok Moscow. Kornetka hasn’t noticed any real changes in Rangnick during this time. “When you’re friends with someone and work with them, you don’t notice changes at all. It’s like a marriage. When you’ve been together for a long time, you don’t notice changes so much.”

debate

What can Austria be expected to achieve at the European Championships?

When asked about Rangnick’s ability to work as a team, Kornetka was enthusiastic. “Ralf is our boss, who can make decisions himself, but takes us along in all decisions. What makes him strong is that he takes the people around him seriously. We have an enormous amount of expertise and know-how. It would be fatal not to use this knowledge well.”

Successful team in the background

The coaching staff also includes assistants Peter Perchtold and Onur Cinel, as well as goalkeeping coach Michael Gspurning. Kornetka is considered Rangnick’s closest confidant of this quartet, but did not want to confirm this. “There is no hierarchy, everyone is equal. The only difference is that I have known Ralf for a long time.” Although there is a clear division of tasks, everyone can contribute to any topic, Kornetka stressed. “We all try to see everything and then form concrete opinions. If someone has an idea, they pass it on to the others.”

GEPA/Walter Luger Peter Perchtold, Onur Cinel and Lars Kornetka (from left to right) as Rangnick’s important pillars in the background

Before his time at the ÖFB, Kornetka worked with Huub Stevens and Roger Schmid, among others, and at Bayern also with Josep Guariola. “I can’t say whether he demands the same as Rangnick,” Kornetka said about the cooperation with the Catalan. Despite his great experience, Rangnick’s assistant is not currently aiming for a position as head coach. “I feel very comfortable in the role I am in right now.”

Alaba als „Non-playing Captain“ wertvoll

That’s why Kornetka was happy that Rangnick turned down Bayern and stayed with the ÖFB. “Ralf has decided to join the ÖFB, which we all, and I in particular, think is a very good decision.”

Kornetka recently had a new colleague on the bench – the injured David Alaba is acting as the “non-playing captain” at the European Championships. “He has a huge amount of experience and tournament experience, which he has more than me, for example. He also has experience with the players, so he can cover a lot of different facets. But he already did that as captain, so his role isn’t all that different,” Kornetka said of the Real Madrid star.

GEPA/Johannes Friedl Real star David Alaba is injured but supports the ÖFB team from the bench

Even without Alaba, the current ÖFB squad is “great,” said the assistant coach, pointing out the physical strength of the players. “We play in a physically demanding manner, and the squad is put together accordingly. We are set up in such a way that we can always put the freshest legs on the pitch.”

Standard situations with room for improvement

However, there is still plenty of room for improvement, for example with dead balls, Kornetka admitted. “The corners are not yet perfect. We haven’t been at our best there, we know that, and we’re working on it.” However, the 1-0 goal against Poland by Gernot Trauner is internally assessed as a set piece goal because it happened shortly after a long throw-in into the penalty area. “Otherwise Trauner wouldn’t have been up front,” Kornetka stressed.

The win against Poland will put them in the round of 16, and a point against the Netherlands on Tuesday would be enough. Nevertheless, the ÖFB team will play to win, announced Kornetka. “We’re not thinking too much about how mathematically possible it is to advance. We just have to play a good game.”

A catenaccio is not to be expected against the “Elftal”. “I think the way we play football is the most beautiful kind of football – always moving the ball, pushing it forward or trying to steal it from the opponent. You can also see that the spectators enjoy it, and we will probably continue to do it in the future, no matter what the constellation is,” said Kornetka.

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