One thing right away: Reinhold Fanz will not be sitting in the Eintracht stadium this Sunday, watching the Lower Saxony derby between Eintracht Braunschweig and Hannover 96 from the stands. "I watch it on TV," says the 62-year-old. However, his interest in the second division is great, after all, the Mannheim native coached both clubs. In Hannover, Fanz was head coach from July 1996 to December 1998 and led the club to the 2nd division as champions of the Regionalliga Nord. League. His team, which included Gerald Asamoah, Sebastian Kehl, Fabian Ernst, Dieter Hecking, Otto Addo and goalkeeper Jorg Sievers, scored 89 points, seven more than runners-up Eintracht.
At Eintracht, Reinhold Fanz was in charge of the regional league team from 1999 to 2001, but missed out on promotion twice and had to leave early in May 2001. Eintracht was the fifth of ten coaching stops for Fanz. After his stint as Cuba's national coach, the ex-professional ended his coaching career in October 2010. He keeps fit by playing golf and working out up to four times a week, as far as knee and back problems permit.
Fanz is still well informed about the path Eintracht is taking. He has a long friendship with Braunschweig veteran Jurgen "Jumbo" Weisheit, after the latter was coach of the regional league team in Fanz's time. And Fanz still keeps in touch with co-trainer Darius Scholtysik, who joined Eintracht from Sportfreunde Siegen in the summer of 2000.
"The development in Braunschweig is very pleasing. Good work is being done there. I'm following it with excitement," he says. He has good memories of both his time in Hanover and his time in Braunschweig.
"At Eintracht, we had a good team. It was fun to work there, unfortunately many players were injured," he describes the situation in his second season and lists the names: "Dirk Weetendorf, Frank Edmond, Klaus Grzeskowiak, Bernd Eigner and Patrick Falk – half the team was missing."
In the Lower Saxony derby against their great rivals from the state capital, Reinhold Fanz sees the hosts as slight favorites, even if he rates their recent defeat in Dresden as "very annoying". "You can lose in Dresden. But Braunschweig almost had the game in the bag at 2:0," he stresses. "At home, they will roll up their sleeves and really step on the gas and then win," says Fanz.
For all the rivalry between the clubs and fans, the ex-coach believes in fair play. "You have to leave the church in the village. There are limits. Soccer fans should be happy to see both teams promoted after all. Then there is the derby again in the Bundesliga." And then Reinhold Fanz would perhaps also go to the stadium once again.