Who is Fabian Hürzeler? – A coach’s profile

The team of coaches at the FCSP has been almost completely renewed for the upcoming season. Next to head manager Timo Schultz, Loïc Favé and Fabian Hürzeler started as assistant coaches at the FCSP. We’d like to introduce both a bit more (thus, there will be another article about Loïc Favé published soon). And while Loïc Favé is already well known to all of those who are familiar with football in Hamburg, the so-far career of the second assistant coach is probably an unknown story for most of us. Thus:
(Cover picture: Peter Boehmer)

Fabian Hürzeler is just 27 years old and hence in the best footballer’s age himself. And his career as a player did actually just ended with the end of last season. Because he was a playing coach at the FC Pipinsried during the last few years (and he managed to collect a bombastic amount of 45 yellow cards within three years!)
A lot earlier, namely, during his youth, Hürzeler did tight his shoelaces for FC Bayern Munich. There, he was considered a great talent, but it became clear quickly  (this link is hiding a really exciting interview) that he wasn’t skilled enough for an international career as a professional footballer. From Munich, he transferred to Hoffenheim and then back to Munich but to 1860 instead. There, he made the final decision to rather continue as a coach than as a player. However, he only managed to become a playing coach at FC Pipinsried, with which he sensationally got promoted to the regional division, stayed in the division for another season, got relegated again but again managed to get promoted during the last season again (at least almost as the season hasn’t finished completely yet).

(c) Peter Boehmer

To get to know Fabian Hürzeler a little bit better, I was allowed to ask Hubert „Fred“ Fesl a few questions, who is the press spokesmen of Hürzeler’s previous club FC Pipinsried:

Moin Fred, Fabian Hürzeler is the new assistant coach at the FC St. Pauli. You accompanied him when he was at FC Pipinsried. Is this a good fit from your point of view?
Absolutely. From my point of view, Fabi is a manager who is although still very young very skilled tactical wise. I think he can learn a lot in his new role as an assistant manager now. For him, it’s another developmental step in the right direction and I’d like to draw the forecast that he’ll be a head coach of a professional team soon.

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Fabian Hürzeler managed to get the FC Pipinsried promoted into the regional division with only 24 years of age. How did it happen that a young coach such as Fabian became manager of such an ambitious club?
Our back-then (popular) club’s president Conny Höß did specifically search for a playing coach. His philosophy always was to offer two roles to one man only… because he could save a salary then!!! 
But all joking aside. Fabi got brilliantly educated as a footballer at Bayern Munich and 1860 Munich. Thus, one could be sure that he would add quality to the play of the club. But he never worked as a coach until then which thus was a little risky though. But he actually copied a lot of good stuff from his former coaches and it did work out eventually.

Hürzeler did play at a central midfielder at your club. In his ultimate season, you got promoted with 20 wins out of 23 matches and no losses, however, he did only make three appearances in this season. Why?
In the match against 1860 Munich II at the third matchday of the season he heavily injured his knee and couldn’t play for quite some time. When he was back on the pitch, the team was actually working perfectly and he then commented: If the lads are playing that good at the moment, why should I take another one’s spot in the team?

A really striking thing is his card-statistic: During his 87 appearances for Pipinsried Fabian Hürzeler did acquire a terrific number of 45 yellow, 5yellow-red and one red card. What was happening there?
With Fabi it’s always the same: With the starting whistle, he’s totally focused and the only thing in his head is the match ahead. He wants to gain every ball and while fighting for that it sometimes happens that he’s committing some everyday fouls. Too many of that eventually result in a yellow or yellow-red card. The only thing he never managed to cope with was his constant moaning. Whenever he assumed himself or his team treated unfairly by the referee, he started to discuss with the refs, although everyone knows that never ever did a ref reply: „Well, this is how you saw it…of course I’ll change my decision now“ 
THIS is something Fabi should learn urgently. There’s a Bavarian saying which states: „bevor i mi aufreg, iss mia liaba wurscht!!!“ [before I get upset, I better give a shit about it] But after the final whistle, he’s the calm and thoughtful Fabi again.

Motivator, General, Animator, Presenter – What kind of coach type is Fabian Hürzeler?
With the exemption of the general, in my opinion, he’s everything else. But first and foremost he is capable to learn.

And which kind of football did he coach his teams to play on the pitch?
This was dependent on the opponent. He always aimed to control the supposedly dominating teams with discipline.
Whenever he saw advantages for his team, ball possession was his model of choice. From the terraces, this appeared a bit ponderously from time to time, but it was pretty successful – most of the time. And at the latest, with the mega-team in the Bavarian division, attacking was his constant order. Then, a 3-0 or 4-0 wasn’t enough. THAT was fun !!!!

What’s his character as a coach? Where are his strengths?
For me, not being a player, he appeared as a meticulous analyser. No matter when, if watching the opponent warming up before a match or whenever analysing videos of his own team. So, exactly for what the FC St. Pauli did sign him for. What I could always see from the training sessions was that all of his players were following him and did literally suck up his words. And when socials happened – yes, that happened as well – he was (to my knowledge) also a member of “team attack”. But that’s all I am adding to this point.

And what are the areas that  Fabian Hürzeler should, in your opinion, keep working on?
Well, there’s not much coming to my head. I did point at one area already (see above). However, there’s one area that he clearly worked on while he was with us: self-criticism. Whenever he does something wrong, he realises it and works on it.

So, what does the future hold for you?
Our team has been renewed on several positions but the basic structure was kept as well. We have to wait to find out how the team-spirit is developing now. My personal aim, which I also forwarded to the team, is that the brilliant starting position which was achieved with Fabi is not wasted but kept so that we can finish the season without any loss and with a record high. And I didn’t hear anyone of the lads complaining about that idea – that’s probably also something Fabi did teach them.
(Add Tim:  The season 19/20 in Bavaria is supposed to be continued from 01.09.  onwards New head coach of FCP is Andreas Thomas)

Fred, thanks a lot for your answers and good luck for the FC Pipinsried for the race of promotion!

From Fred’s answers, but also from other interviews of him, I got that Fabian Hürzeler is considered in Bavaria what Loïc Favé is considered in the Hamburg area: The biggest coach talent far and wide. And it’s not meant in a negative way when I write that Fabian Hürzeler appears to be a football-possessed man. Someone, who would love to demount every football match into the tiniest pieces so that he could analyse every single running path in greater detail. And exactly that will be his area of expertise at FCSP: To analyse the opponents but also to analyse the way of playing of the FCSP as you can read in this article.
And maybe, when all muscle fibre, ligaments and strings in the squad will be torn, there’s someone in the best footballer’s age in the team of coaches who can for sure collect yellow cards…

Welcome at the Millerntor, Fabian Hürzeler!

// Tim (Translated by Arne)

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