It was January 2004, Austria Wien was the reigning double winner and Jogi Löw was Austria Wien’s coach when Franz Gruber completed his first winter training camp as goalkeeper coach for Austria Wien in Marbella. ‘A lot has changed since then, back then everything was new to me. You know the processes very well after so many years - of course it varies from one coach to the other, but mostly I can work with my goalkeepers very independently,’ says Gruber.
At that time, he added Szabolcs Sáfár, who moved from Spartak Moscow to 'Favoriten’, to his goalkeeper team with Joey Didulica and Bartoloměj Kuru. ‘Now I like that I can sit down with Szabolcs and talk about a wide variety of things. It is valuable that we can exchange ideas with the entire Young Violets coaching team here in Belek,’ says the goalkeeper coach.
The joint training camp also promotes consistency. On Sunday, 18-year-old Fatih Bayram trained with the A-team, starting on Monday Mirko Kos collects playing time with the Young Violets, and then 16-year-old Sandali Conde gets the chance to prove himself against Monschein and the rest.
‘It is important that we let the boys become part of the whole. There is nothing better than introducing a possible future number one to the everyday life of the A-team early on,’ emphasizes Franz Gruber.
Everyday life at Austria Wien also includes several goalkeepers who claim to be the number one. The chances are distributed equally, the two violet goalkeepers get the same amount of playing time during the test games, while the number three Mirko Kos plays for the Young Violets.
‘It's an open race. Pentz and Lucic started their preparations with a certain level of opportunity. They also know about their respective contractual situation and that the goalkeeper position at Austria Wien is one that always has to be well staffed,’ explains the long-time 'Violet’. A challenge that both goalkeepers fully accept.
‘With the start of training at the beginning of January, our goalkeepers once again felt a new, additional motivation. Pentz and Lucic try to put themselves in the foreground with good trainings and test performances’
Patrick Pentz organized the Sunday morning training. Why? ‘Because I want to see how our goalkeepers are involved in trainings. The task of leading a training session goes beyond your own role, because you have to improvise and make sure that it is tailored to the other goalkeepers. The boys are doing this really well.’
Despite this brief "takeover" of the training, Franz Gruber is by far the 'Violet’ who fires the most shots during the training camp. The 52-year-old has planned the week exactly and knows, ‘Grossed up I make pretty much 1,000 shots.’