Norbert Meier : Coach Profile

Norbert Meier Photo
Image: Tomofumi Kitano (Flickr)

Following a decorated playing career, playing under mentor Otto Rehhagel at Weder Bremen, the transition from playing to coaching seem inevitable for Norbert Meier.

Meier enjoyed great success as a player in the 1980’s as a fixture of great Werder Bremen sides under the guidance of Otto Rehhagel. Come the beginning of the 90’s, Meier was to retire from playing professional football to also try his hand at coaching. Having hung up his boots, Meier set about perusing a career in management which would at times be filled with drama and excitement through all manner of levels in German football.

First Bundesliga Experience?Move to DuisburgLater-Bielefeld/Darmstadt

 

Transition to Coaching

Meier first made the transition having finished his playing career at Borussia Möchengladbach in 1993, he took up a position coaching in the ‘Gladbach youth setup. Cutting his teeth in coaching with the Borussia Möchengladbach youth (A-Jugend,u-19) side from the 92/93 season onwards, Meier continued to show his leadership skills off the pitch that he had previously shown on it. Speaking of the transition from playing to coaching, Meier would later say. “It was certainly clear at some point that I would like to stay in football, as I had too many beautiful moments in my playing days. So over time I tried to complete my coaching badges”

He was to spend four years coaching the u-19 side, and though his first role in coaching, he immediately adapted to the transition from playing to coaching well. In his first season he hit the ground running by leading his ‘Gladbach side to third in the table. To prove this was not a one season fluke, in the 1993/94 season he improved ‘Gladbach’s position one better to second place in the league, seven points back but only missing out to a Bayer Uerdingen side who would make it to the semi-finals of the national championship. Though 1994/95 season would see ‘Gladbach slip to third in the table, the gap to again champions Uerdingen was cut to only two points.

Meier also increased the sides goal tally year on year as ‘Gladbach would finish the season as comfortably top scorers in the league with 90 goals as the side adopted an energetic attacking style in the mould of what Meier himself showed in his playing career. His time with the u-19 side culminated in winning their Niederrhein league in the 1995/96 season by 14 points from Uerdingen, conceding a mere 11 goals in the campaign, half the total of the next best defense in the league which qualified them for the national finals. However here they were to lose to western rivals Borussia Dortmund, with a 1-1 draw in the second leg not enough to overturn a 2-1 first leg home defeat, to bow out of the competition at the quarter final stage.

This relative success earned Meier a promotion to take charge of Borussia Möchengladbach II, the u-23 reserve side of the Bundesliga outfit. His first season in charge brought immediate success, winning the 1996/97 5th tier Verbandsliga Niederrhein in impressive fashion by finishing five points clear at the top, while also scoring the most goals and having the second best defense in the league. By this time Meier was beginning to recognise the physical demands on coaching that he thought he’d left behind in his playing days. “As a player it is mainly physical activity, but as a coach you are also flat following a day on the training ground, I am moving around all the time out there”. Aside from his physical attributes, it was now his coaching ability that was beginning to show real promise.

This was ‘Gladbach-II’s first promotion and league title success since winning the 1979/80 6th tier Landesliga Niederrhein (group 2), some 17 years earlier. Their league victory success was backed up by adding victory in the regional Niederrhein Cup with a 5-4 victory on penalties over Rot-Weiß Oberhausen. This cup victory had the added bonus of qualifying the side for the following season’s German cup.

Not content with merely establishing their presence at the 4th tier Oberliga level, Meier set about making ‘Gladbach II as competitive as possible by playing pragmatic but effective football. This tactic would pay dividends as Meier’s side finished in an exceptional fourth place in the table, their first season at the Oberliga level. Meier also made his coaching debut in the DFB Pokal giving Bundesliga side Stuttgart a real scare before succumbing to a respectable 1-0 defeat.

Though the sides scoring rate remained respectable throughout the season, their impressive form was built on the back of a solid well organized defense, one that only conceded 23 goals throughout the league season which was only bettered by champions Leverkusen II and was seven better than any other side in the league. This newfound measured approach to a playing style for his sides marked a sharp contrast to the style in which Meier had himself played in his heyday with Werder Bremen where he was known as a dynamic and spectacular dribbler and all round eye catching offensive presence.

However Meier would have to miss a large part of the reserve side’s campaign as he was called up for more important duty by the club. With the Borussia Möchengladbach senior side struggling in the Bundesliga, Hannes Bongartz was removed as head coach leaving a vacancy that Norbert Meier was asked to fill with ‘Gladbach in a precarious position, being kept out of the relegation zone only by goal difference.

First Bundesliga Experience


His first experience in charge of a Bundesliga club was a relative struggle for the not yet 40 year old coach. In his 11 games in charge he recorded just two wins before being moved aside for Friedel Rausch to take over with ‘Gladbach three points from safety to conclude the record shortest reign of a ‘Gladbach coach in the Bundesliga. However they would eventually avoid relegation on goal difference from Karlsruhe come seasons end, somewhat helped by Meier’s final win in charge, a 5-2 win away to Karlsruhe.

Meier returned to take charge of the of the reserve side for the 1998/99 season in what would be a relatively turbulent season compared to the stability that the side experienced in the previous season. Despite coming out of the blocks quickly, rising as high as second in the early going, ‘Gladbach experienced a serious slump in form which left them briefly teetering on the edge of the relegation zone before a turnaround sparked by back to back mid season high scoring 4-0 and 5-0 wins over SuS 09 Dinslaken and Fortuna Düsseldorf ‘II’ respectively to help eventually finish a comfortable seventh.

The 1999/00 season would mark the high point of where Meier would take his ‘Gladbach II side. They narrowly missed out on another cup success with a great run to the final of the Niederrhein Pokal, before losing a closely fought 1-0 loss after extra time to Wuppertaler SV. They would also have an impressive league campaign, ultimately finishing third behind the champions, the aforementioned Wuppertaler, and just two points away from Preußen Köln in second.

The standout result of that league campaign was a remarkable 11-0 win at home to Germania Teveren with Andriy Voronin scoring five. Voronin, who would come to be the top scorer in the Bundesliga in 2002/03, was a player who Meier had favored since taking charge of the reserve side such that he gave Voronin his first team Bundesliga games when Meier was briefly in charge of the senior side. However Voronin was to leave for Mainz at the end of the 1999/00 season as the side’s top scorer.

Without Voronin’s goals ‘Gladbach struggled for form, though the pattern of the season bared similarities to previous seasons. Starting with an opening day win, a slump in form occurred which they began to recover from by mid season to eventually finish in comfortable mid-table eighth place. With the side having slipped into a familiar pattern of league finishes, Meier was to depart at the end of the season to pastures new. His final victory as ‘Gladbach II coach came on the penultimate game of the season in a 6-0 victory at home to TSC Euskirchen. His final game as coach was to be a 2-1 loss away to Bayer Leverkusen II, ironic as it was Leverkusen where Meier would find himself for the following season to join their youth coaching setup.

Having been with Borussia Möchengladbach since joining the club as a player at the beginning of 1990, Meier had spent over eleven years at the club as both a player and coach of the u-19, reserve and senior sides. As such it was quite a change of scenery for Meier when he accepted an offer to take over as coach of the Bayer Leverkusen B-Jugend (u-17) side for the 2001/02 B-Jugend Regionalliga West season. In this first season Meier was able to rely on his previous experience in youth coaching to bring good performances from his new side, beginning with a 3-0 opening day victory against FC Koln (u-17).

Meier was able to produce consistent good results from his side throughout the season to finally finish a satisfactory fourth in the league. As was becoming Meier’s trademark, the solid defensive setup employed by Meier would leave his side with a total of 27 goals conceded, a number bettered only by league champions Schalke 04 (u-17). This was helped in no small part to the presence in the side of future German National goalkeeper René Adler, who was learning his trade in the Leverkusen youth ranks along with Fabian Hergesell who would later play under Meier at Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Building on this promising start, the 2002/03 season promised to be even better as Meier’s side topped the table in the early weeks of the season before briefly returning to the top after game-week nine. The side entered the Christmas break in a very competitive second place in the table; however this was when Meier was to leave the club having been tempted by an offer to return to senior management as an opportunity at MSV Duisburg became available.  Without Meier, the Leverkusen u-17 side ultimately finished second in the league to qualify for the national finals, where after beating Hannover they were defeated by eventual champions Hertha Berlin in the semi-finals, with a side still very much in the mould of Meier.

Move to Duisburg


Taking the role of coach at Duisburg was to be Meier’s big break in the world of professional management. Meier had missed the opportunity to coach against Duisburg during his brief stint in the Bundesliga in 1998 as he was released just two weeks before the due fixture. That season Duisburg, in contrast to Meier’s Möchengladbach side were riding high as they finished eighth in the league, finished runners up in the cup and had qualified for European football.

However since then, they had endured a disastrous Bundesliga campaign in 1999/2000 where they finished 16 points away from safety to see them relegated to the 2.Bundesliga. The situation saw Duisburg use seven full time and interim coaches in a three year time frame between early 2000 and early 2003 in an attempt to stop the slide and win back promotion to the Bundesliga. This presented a challenging set of circumstances and requirements to take on when were presented as the new coach in January 2003.

Meier’s first half season at Duisburg was a period of becoming familiar with the club and assessing what was needed for the club to return back to the top flight. Meier took over with the club settled in mid-table in a situation that the club would find themselves in come seasons end, ultimately finishing 8th following a run of inconsistent results.

In his first off season Meier immediately set about a making a raft of changes to build what he believed would be a side that could challenge for promotion. However in his first full season, his Duisburg only saw minor improvement at Duisburg gained a mere two extra points which was enough for a move to seventh in the league, the main positive being an improvement to a positive goal difference of +6 by.

There was a breakthrough in following season where a major improvement saw Duisburg win promotion back to the Bundesliga, impressively finishing in second place. Their return to the Bundesliga would be short lived as would Meier’s future at the club. Duisburg struggled to make the leap in standard to the Bundesliga, though it would be on incident in particular that would spell the end for Meier with his time in charge.

During a crucial bottom of the table clash with FC Koln, Meier became involved in an altercation with Koln player Albert Streit. Both stood head to head on the touchline when, after Meier made contact with a minor head butt, both players suddenly fell to the ground. For his actions Meier left Duisburg on December 8th and was subsequently banned on December 15th for three months by the German FA.

Some in the league felt the punishment was too harsh and came to defend Meier including FC Bayern coach Felix Magath who spoke highly of Meier’s character. “I do not know whether any sanction will be truly proportionate. We need a new scale. Norbert Meier is a nice guy, he does not deserve this. In the aftermath Duisburg would finish the season bottom of the table while Meier would look to pastures new, this time with a new perspective on his career and on winning. “That was with no ifs and buts, the darkest hour of my football experience. But I’ve learned a lot from it, I still want to win, but not at any price”.

Despite the controversy around the incident, Meier has since been able to look back at it with a sense of his typical dry humour saying that if he was invited to ride on a float at the local carnival, he would “dress up as a soldier with a bloody bandage around his head”. This positive response has held him in good stead as his career progressed. Upon signing later for Düsseldorf, Wolf Werner remarked that Meier “arrived with good vitality, carrying the taint of Duisburg well” This is the mark of a man committed to not making one incident mark his career but rather his successes in the game.

Meier was unable to secure a position at a new club in time for the start of the 2006/07 season. However he would not have to wait too long after as by week seven of the season, Dynamo Dresden’s coach Peter Pacult was tempted away to coach his hometown club Rapid Vienna. Pacult had joined the club midway through the previous season in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to keep Dresden in the 2.Bundesliga. Pacult made an impressive start to the season with his seven games in charge however the chance to return to Vienna to coach was too tempting to turn down which opened the door for Meier to take the reins at the club.

Although Meier’s tenure at Dresden would ultimately be disappointing, it had started on a positive note which promised much for his future at the club. In his first game in charge as coach, Dresden won 2-1 at home to Magdeburg with a Vorbeck brace to put the Saxony side top of the Regionalliga Nord table. However,  their impressive start to the season would not continue as results began to become more inconsistent, in particular a run either side of the winter break of one win from six games which dented their promotion challenge.

Dresden entered December sitting a single point away from top spot in the table. However following their relatively baron period, only highlighted by a win against Meier’s former ‘Gladbach II side, Dresden would sit in seventh place by the end of February, now just a single point ahead of 12th place in a closely contested season. Despite showing positive signs in the early running, seventh place would be a serious disappointment to Dynamo Dresden who had high hopes of an immediate return to the 2.Bundesliga.

This missed opportunity was given added pressure as the DFB announced for the following season the creation of a new national 3.Liga for the 2008/09 season, thus a poor season would result in Dresden becoming a fourth tier side. The promotion system for the season saw the top two sides rise to the 2.Bundesliga with places 3-10 entering the new 3.Liga.

However a poor start to the season which saw Dresden win just once in their opening five games left the Saxony side playing catch-up. A brief revival in the early running saw Dresden move as high as seventh. However, this was still below the level of progress that Dynamo had hoped for such that on week ten of the season, Meier was released by the club following a 2-1 defeat to Kickers Emden which left Dresden in 11th, outside the crucial 3.Liga places.

Though his time at Dresden can be considered the low point in Meier’s career, it would serve as the catalyst as the beginning of the most successful period of his coaching career. At the midway point in the season, Fortuna Düsseldorf sacked their coach, the former East German international Uwe Weidemann who while keeping the side in the top three places in the league had lost the confidence of the club director following a run of two wins from eight.

Success at Dusseldorf

Meier immediately settled into a more successful run of form with Düsseldorf, just missing out on promotion to the 2.Bundesliga on the final day of the season, ultimately finishing in third place. Despite not achieving promotion, Düsseldorf entered the inaugural 2008/09 3.Liga season among the favorites for promotion. This was expectation that they duly delivered on as they narrowly managed to secure a second place finish which would return the club to the 2.Bundesliga. The deciding game came against the Werder Bremen II side, which made the occasion very special for Meier.

“The promotion against Bremen II with everything attached to them was an absolute highlight of my career. I have experienced with Werder and ‘Gladbach much but this was something special, a unique experience that I will always remember”.

This was not to be his only great success with the club.

This promotion was achieved mainly through an end of season run which saw Meier’s side lose just one of their final eleven games to narrowly clinch second spot. This first win of this run came away to Bayern München II with a last minute winner which kept Düsseldorf within three points of the automatic promotion places. The successful promotion and the good run of form shown allowed Meier to have a rare relaxed off season before the start of their return to the 2.Bundesliga. “My wife and I spent two weeks in Spain. For the first time in years, I have managed to read a 585 page book from cover to cover”. However club business was still a priority. “There was constant contact. I was not always on the phone but spoke on agreed upon times”. Aside from reading, Meier also enjoys listening to music with favorite groups ranging from Supertramp to local Hamburg duo The Disco Boys.

Their first season back in the 2.Bundesliga almost brought back to back promotions as Düsseldorf just missed out on a place in the top flight by finishing in fourth place, a remarkable achievement in their first season back in the second tier. All the more remarkable was their home form as they finished the season as the only club in the three professional league to go undefeated at home throughout the entire season. This exemplified a new, more pragmatic approach that Meier was taking to the game. “We are certainly not playing nonstop attacking football because we don’t necessarily have to win every game. The team is to fight for every ball and give it their best”. This was exemplified by a defensive record that was only bettered by league champions FC Kaiserslautern.

Despite seeming to have acquitted them to playing at a higher league quite well, the following 2010/11 season would provide a harsh dose of reality for Meier and his squad. Despite harboring aspirations of again challenging for promotion, these hopes were quickly dashed as the league season began. Düsseldorf proceeded to lose their first six games of the season to leave them bottom of the table with no points, some thirteen away from the promotion places though Meier’s attention had shifted to avoiding a relegation battle.

Meier was able to rally his troops to finish in what eventually turned out to be a highly satisfying seventh place finish, which although fell well short of preseason expectations was enough to secure the boards backing of their coach. This came on the back of Meier displaying his ability to come through adversity which included not winning a game until a hard fought 3-2 away win at Osnabruck in October, this in itself came on the back of six losses. Düsseldorf would go from here to only lose six games between November and the end of the season, the high point being a league best 6-0 home win to FSV Frankfurt at the end of January.

This stark turnaround in form would provide the catalyst for success at Düsseldorf as in the 2011/2012 season they won promotion via the playoffs to make a return to the Bundesliga for the first time since the 1996/97 season, having dropped as low as the forth tier Oberliga in the intervening years. This was also to be Meier’s third spell coaching in the Bundesliga following his brief tenure at Möchengladbach and his first since his eventful short spell in the league with Duisburg in 2005.

The season would prove to be a cliffhanger as Düsseldorf would finish the season ahead of St. Pauli in third place despite being level on points, but with goal difference coming into the equation to leave Düsseldorf in the promotion playoff spot. The final day of the season was fraught with tension as Düsseldorf met Meier’s old side Duisburg knowing a win would guarantee promotion, a loss would hand the advantage to St.Pauli while a draw would leave goal difference to decide the final placings.

Despite St.Pauli winning 5-0, Düsseldorf’s 2-2 with Duisburg was enough to see them clinch the promotion playoff spot, setting up an emotional tie against Hertha Berlin coached by Meier’s former coach at Werder Bremen, Otto Rehhagel. Although the two did not always see eye to eye in Bremen, Meier notes a similarity between Rehhagel who described himself as a ‘democratic dictator ‘while Meier see himself as more of a ‘diplomatic dictator’.

Having played under Rehhagel for many years, the style of play had left a mark on Meier. However Meier is aware of the different demands on a modern coach that he now faces.”Communication is important. The days when you can just slap are over. The guys need constructive support. The point is to identify ways that lead to improvement”. It is not just the performance on the pitch that Meier is concerned about, but also the mentality of his players. “The troops must be convinced of me and that I can return their faith. Of course good order and discipline on and off the pitch must be there Just because you earn the recognition of others, you still have to manage things like social behavior off the pitch”. However you cannot work on all fronts”.  However Meier did once quip to the media that he makes sure to sing a lullaby to each of his players to help the rest before a game.

In the battle of master versus student, the stage was set for one of the most intensely charged atmospheres as Meier’s Düsseldorf travelled to the capital to face the city’s top side Hertha Berlin in the first game of what would become one of the most controversial two legged affairs in recent seasons.  The first leg was edged by Meier’s Düsseldorf side 2-1 in a very closely contested affair, though there was a small crowd disturbance with regards to flairs being set off in a small section of the Düsseldorf Crowd.

Crowd disturbances would go on to dominate discussions about the second leg result. Düsseldorf took a two goal lead on aggregate after 59 minutes which prompted a barrage of flares to be thrown onto the pitch. This heralded Meier’s third term as a coach in the Bundesliga though he felt that some of the shine was taken off the achievement by the aftermath of the play-off games. “Getting promoted usually causes a euphoria which lasts for several days and one has to experience this euphoria to understand the implications of getting promoted. All that was lost at the end of the season, it really was a pity especially if you consider all those years that Fortuna has spent outside the Bundesliga in recent years”

However following the euphoria of promotion in the previous season, the 2012/13 season would end in disappointment. Meier was clear on his goals about what was to be achieved on the sides return to the Bundesliga. When quizzed if avoiding relegation was his only target for the season, Meier responded “There is nothing else to it. It is all about how success is defined. Success is something entirely different to us than Borussia Dortmund or Bayern München”. Ultimately this is how his season would be judged by club directors. In an attempt to help boost the quality of squad, Meier made 16 new signings which he defended by saying “Every player must be an absolute appropriate replacement.”

Düsseldorf made a promising start to the season, but would only be able to rack up nine points in the second half of the season, though Meier was acutely aware how difficult the return to the Bundesliga would be. “If you are playing for Düsseldorf then you are supported by not a few hundred, but thousands of fans. Every opponent will be full throttle against Düsseldorf which is a particular challenge. Just because we play in a great stadium, we are not given points. We have to work hard from them”

Entering the final day of the season Düsseldorf was clear of the relegation zone on goal difference. However a final day loss coupled for wins for relegation rivals Augsburg and a surprise win for Hoffenheim over Dortmund left Düsseldorf suffering direct relegation after just one season in the top flight. The relegation came in the face of problems in the dressing room as players spoke out against their coach with Nando Rafael saying “from Meier I have learned nothing” while Andrey Voronin added “Meier is not a Bundesliga coach”. Despite the disappointment of relegation on the first attempt, Meier always felt he had the support of the vast majority of his players and the Fortuna fans. “I had never heard ‘Meier Out’. What I did get was people saying ‘thank you’. Fortuna’s fans recognize what I feasible and what is not”.

Despite appearing to be preparing a plan for a preseason with the club, rumors began to circulate of a rift between Meier and the board of directors in Düsseldorf. Despite Meier’s popularity amongst fans and his apparent desire to continue on as coach, CEO Peter Frymuth announced a separation by mutual consent just one week following the relegation. This came as a surprise to many Düsseldorf supporters, who had set about organizing a ‘Fortuna says thanks’ t-shirt campaign. Meier himself is noted for his casual fashion choice on the sideline “Everyone should wear what the feel comfortable in, I prefer jeans, shirt, done! That said I know what suits me!”

However sporting director Wolf Werner did acknowledge the impact that Meier had on the club during his tenure there. “We have played with Norbert Meier a successful path from the third division to the Bundesliga. The sporting rise of Fortuna will therefore remain strongly associated with his name” Despite the sadness of leaving the club, Meier still was able to take the positives from it.

“I have dedicated myself to things for which I have never had so much time [though] I did not deliberately wait for a new club. There must always be something that interests me”

Later career – Bielefeld / Darmnstadt


Upon finishing his time in Düsseldorf, Meier took the opportunity to pass on coaching offers from as far away as Turkish Superliga side Besiktas, to take a break from coaching. Meier though could not keep himself away from the game from too long as he said “so slowly the fingers begin to itch again”, such that he took up an offer in February 2014 to take over the vacant position at relegation threatened 2.Bundesliga side Arminia Bielefeld. This was a great task that Meier was all too aware of. “Normally you have as a coach two months in the summer [to prepare], but we did not. We have three days until the first game with me”. Meier’s first game would be an emotional reunion in a meeting with Düsseldorf, though this would ultimately end in defeat. In the remaining two months of the season, Meier saw Arminia to the temporary safety of a relegation play-off place following a thrilling final day 3-2 win away to fellow relegation strugglers and Meier’s former side Dynamo Dresden.

This safety would prove to be only a brief respite as the rollercoaster would continue with a two legged relegation play-off with 3.Liga side SV Darmstadt. A 3-1 first leg away win was overturned in dramatic fashion in Bielefeld as Darmstadt leveled the tie with a reverse score line to make it 4-4 on aggregate and force extra time. Despite Bielefeld taking the lead in extra time, Darmstadt, long since looking the better side scored a stoppage time equalizer to lead on away goals. Bielefeld would muster one final attack, hitting the post in the process but it was to be not enough as Darmstadt were victorious leaving Meier to face his second successive relegation as Arminia fell to the 3.Liga for the 2014/15 season.

However in the off season Arminia showed faith in their new appointment by sticking with Meier for the following 3.Liga season. Despite somewhat of a relegation hangover in the early season which included a 5-1 loss at home to Hallescher FC, Meier has steadied the ship at Arminia with the side at the time of writing within sight of the top of the table. This resulted in a successful return to the 2.Bundesliga for Arminia where Meier steady progress continued as Arminia beat the drop to secure provide long awaited stability in the 2.Bundesliga for the club.

His achievements here were noticed but Bundesliga side and one time 2/3 liga relegation foe, Darmstadt SV. However after only three wins from fifteen games in the first half of the season, including a shock cup exit to 4th tier Astoria Walldorf of the Regionalliga Südwest, Meier left the club after only half a season in December 2016.

Looking to the future Meier looks set to continue to be involved in coaching for the foreseeable future, though while at Düsseldorf he did give a clue to his long term future in the game. “I can think of imagining much. However for me, my job on the sidelines is still great fun and I am 52 years old, the best coaching age, but maybe one day I’ll actually desire a change. Our Fortuna sporting director Wolf Werner I see as being a good role model”. Meier though is not one who lives too strongly with regrets of missed opportunities in the past. “One should always be satisfied with what you have achieved as there will always be those who achieve more”.

Throughout the career ups and downs which have taken him all over the country coaching, Meier is always firmly aware of his roots. “I lived over 22 years in the Rhineland but I am always happy to be confronted with my past. Recently I was listening to WDR because they had an old teammate from my previous club Voran Ohe. I could quickly remember that he was left footed, Of course, he was thrilled!” He is also fond of his regular visits back to the north of the country. “Home is something that never leaves you. We always spend every Christmas with my wife’s family in Geesthacht. Then we visit my parents. I also still have contact with my former teammates including Deiter Schlottmann”.

Meier also enjoys now a settled family having reunited after a brief separation with his long term wife of 31 years Sieglinde with the couple having moved back together in their home Viersen-Dülken midway between Düsseldorf and the Dutch border.  With Sieglinde, Meier has two children in a daughter, Laura and a son Florian. Meier can now also claim to be a grandfather. “I also have a grandchild that I can see growing and can notice something new every week. Such a thing is beautiful”. Having such a grounded life and approach to it is something which seems to have help Meier cope with the stresses of modern coaching.

Despite what has been a roller-coaster career in football so far, Meier remains a football romantic at heart.

“There are wonderful stories written in football. The drama of the events can never be guessed ahead”

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