Mark Hornschuh: Former BVB Talent Champion with FC Zurich – FOOTBALL INTERNATIONAL

Former BVB jewel Marc Hornschuh found happiness in Switzerland after tough times and just became champion with FC Zurich. In an interview with SPORT BILD, the defender spoke about crises and the cruel blows of fate, Klopp’s formative experiences at Dortmund and his plans.

Exciting champion with FC Zurich, contract just extended – did your career really start after so many setbacks at the age of 31?

Mark Hornshaw (31): Since last summer I have had the opportunity to prove myself in the Premier League and show that I can keep up. My plan is to play at the highest level for the next few years. I have double the motivation, especially after a year and a half I was completely out of the club. I really feel like showing it to everyone.

In 2017, as a key player for St. Pauli FC, she sustained a disc injury. Why did this injury keep you out of action for so long?

The injury was prolonged due to personal setbacks. My parents died during this time. This took a lot from me and the way back was tough.

Your father has been extensively supportive of your career, which started promisingly as a talent in BVB. How much is his advice lost?

I always made all the big sporting decisions with my dad. Before his death, he was in a nursing home for six years, by which time I couldn’t talk to him anymore. During this point, I missed the exchange with him and still do today. I had to deal with a lot on my own after my parents passed away. The blows of fate shaped me.


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In which way?

I see everything with a bigger perspective. Now I am so grateful that I can be a professional footballer again in this bubble. I’m so hungry because I’ve lost a lot of my career, and I’ve lost important years.

You came to BVB when you were 11, were the best performer in all the youth teams, and joined the first team when you were 17. Why did you miss the breakthrough in Dortmund?

My opponents in center back, Mats Hummels, Neven Subotic and Sven Bender were very strong and rarely got injured. At first it was really cool for me as a 17-year-old to be on the pro team, especially in 2011 when BVB won the championship again for the first time in nine years. But I never joined the team. She got impatient too early.

In the winter of 2012 you went on loan to the then second division team FC Ingolstadt, but you did not get along with this at all …

In hindsight, moving to Ingolstadt was a mistake, I would have preferred to stay in Dortmund for another six months. Basically, I’ve noticed that talented defenders have a harder time getting to the pros.

why is that?

As a coach, you risk a lot by substituting them in important matches instead of offensive talent. As a central defender, for example, losing the ball is often much worse and more dangerous than a striker. Although I have never played a competitive match with Serie A professionals, I always have fond memories of that time and learned a lot from my career, especially from my coach at the time, Jürgen Klopp.

for example?

We’ve been taught that we shouldn’t lose a second after a mistake by being mad at it. Immediately after losing the ball is the best moment to conquer it. If you lose the ball in training and you don’t switch live but you sat, Klopo gets really rowdy. I still remember that day and take his instructions very seriously.

Are you still in contact with the current Liverpool manager?

No, unfortunately not. When I see Klopo on TV today, I am so proud that he was my mentor and I still feel like I am part of the large and close-knit BVB family he created at the time. Uniting this club is something no one has done better than him.

Coach Andre Breitenreiter (left) celebrates the championship with Zurich.  Right: Head of the Sports Department Marinko Gorendyk

Coach Andre Breitenreiter (left) celebrates the championship with Zurich. Right: Head of the Sports Department Marinko Gorendyk


Which fellow BVB teammate did you learn the most from?

The Neven Subotic helped me get over my tension at the start of the match. He said, “Always play a simple pass first…” I learned from Robert Lewandowski what it means to be disciplined as a professional. Before training, he was constantly in the weightlifting room and worked incredibly hard. It was great to be able to prove yourself against this super-scorer in training. Today, Lewandowski sends an important signal to the world of football: you are not written off at the age of 34, but with the right attitude you can even present him at a world level. This motivates me every day.

What excites you after your career?

Mental training with meditation has been the toughest phase of my life and is still very important to me today. This is an exciting professional field, I would like to pass on my experience. There is a lot to be gained by spending time visualizing and processing experiences. I think this is a neglected point in competitive sports.

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