Updated February 06, 2019, 19:27
For years, Rudi Assauer has shaped FC Schalke 04 as no other. He was the maker and soul of the traditional club. The UEFA Cup victory in 1997 and his tears after the "four-minute championship" in 2001 are unforeseen moments. Now ex-manager died after a long illness.
His name is forever inseparable from FC Schalke 04. For the last few decades, no one has shaped the traditional club from the area as sustainable as Rudi Assauer. "Without these fans, without this tradition without this religious admiration, this club would be long dead. It is Schalke's philosophy," Assauer once said. And described so urgently what the football club meant to him.
Already in his lifetime, he was a mighty leader who regarded Schalke as his life's work, a royal blue legend. Now Rudolf "Rudi" Assauer, who suffers from Alzheimer's for years, died on Wednesday at the age of 74 years. This was confirmed to the German press agency from the family circles. First, "Bunte" had reported on the death of Assau. He leaves two daughters, Katy and Bettina.
Assauer builds up Schalke to top-class
"Whether I manage Schalke or Schalke creates me" is one of the most well-known phrases Assauer. Looking back, you can say that he made Schalke. In two terms (1981 to 1986 and 1993 to 2006) he worked a total of 18 years for Revierclub as leader. The great success, however, did not come to the then president, "Sun King" Günter Eichberg, got him in distress in April 1993. Schalke was economical on the ground, it threatened the revocation of licenses. With great care, Assauer and his board members regained the confidence of the banks and sponsors in the following years and form the basis for later sporting success.
In the 1995/96 season, the team succeeded with coach Jörg Berger as Bundesliga third in the UEFA Cup. And Assauer scored the decisive bargain after the first victorious European Cup round against Roda Kerkrade: In one night and Nebelaktion he persuaded the then unknown coach Huub Stevens to switch from Kerkrade to Schalke. Stevens then asked Assauer to meet him on a secret mission. "Then Rudi drove a car with Gelsenkirchen license plates and Schalke stickers," Stevens repeated with a laugh.
With the knotty Dutch and his motto ("Zero must stand"), "Eurofighter" conquered Olaf Thon and Marc Wilmots the European stadiums. The high altitude flight ended with the legendary UEFA Cup victory in Inter Milan on May 21, 1997 – to date the greatest success in club history and a milestone. Almost the biggest dream came true when Schalke in 2001 was to win the eighth German championship before Bayern Munich even snapped the Royal Blues title with the 1-1 defeat in time in Hamburg.
The tears after the last match in Park Stadium, which fans and players after the victory against Unterhaching already stormed the place and celebrated the supposed title, went around the world. "Masters of Hearts" was born, but Assauer said bitterly at the press conference: "I no longer believe in the football god."
Assauer did not want to accept illness
One week after the low, the team won the DFB Cup, the following year, Royal Blues could repeat the triumph in Berlin. During the victory, Assauer once gave the pot, and the good piece was restored. As a legacy of Assauer, he also left his "baby", the Schalke Arena. The most modern stadium with a retractable lawn and a lockable roof was inaugurated in August 2001.
With the change from Stevens to Hertha in the summer of 2002, the successful time came to an end. Later there was a break with chairman Clemens Tönnies and the other board members.
For a long time there was the first sign of Assauer's disease which he initially ignored and then pushed up. "You won't admit it if there's one thing in the world that I'm always afraid of, really bad at good German, so Alzheimer's," he later admitted. "Don't blow the bulb."
He forgot appointments and couldn't remember certain things. When he wanted to expose him as "breakfast leader" and "Grüssaugust", as he felt, to the presidency, he refused. On May 17, 2006, he resigned from the board and resigned as leader. End of an era! In 2012 he published his illness, including in the biography "How Replaced – Fading Memories of My Life" and a television documentary.
His relationship with actor Simone Thomalla (2000-2009) also attracted great attention. "She has no idea about football, but otherwise the old woman is bad," it always said cigar or cigarillos smoker – who made him nicknamed "Stumpen-Rudi" – in his typically hard but lovable and honest way In 2006, he and the later "crime scene" commissioner assigned the gold camera to a beer advertisement ("Don't Look, Just Touch").
Assauer was married twice. Although the marriage to Ingrid Assauer was only divorced in 2007, the couple lived there for many years. And 2011 closed marriage with 21-year-old Britta Idrizi ended after two years in a failure and quarrels in court.
When his mother Elisabeth sought protection in the last year of the war in 1944 from the Allied bombing reports in the Ruhr area, Assauer was born in Altenwald in the Saarland. Nevertheless, he is considered a child in the Ruhrgebiet. Two weeks later, the family returned to Herten, where he grew up with his brother, ten years older, Lothar, who also suffered Alzheimer's and died in February 2013, and his twin sister Karin. Karin was also the one who drove Rudi through his school days because he prefers to kick football with his friends on the streets.
For me there was nothing else – we still played garbage balls in ruins – it was so for me at the time: out of school, a ton in the corner, something eaten, mostly stew and then filled to dark. "How Assauer described the first years in Herten. He didn't have to do homework." My sister was in the same class, I always wrote off. "
While his sister departed from high school, Assauer left the school at the age of 14 and completed an apprentice as a steel locksmith.
Historical victory with Dortmund
For six months he worked at the Ewald coal mine in Herten. Later he is still trained as a banker. But football dominated his life. After years at SpVgg Herten, he moved to Borussia Dortmund in 1964. With BVB he immediately won the DFB Cup and in 1966 together with Lothar Emmerich, Aki Schmidt and Reinhard "Stan" Libuda the European Cup winner's basketball against highly promoted Liverpool FC. It was the first European Cup victory of a German club team.
119 Bundesliga games refused the uncompromising defender of Borussia, from 1970 to 1976, 188 were added to Werder Bremen before ending his active career in 32 years. And former Werder boss Franz Böhmert made him the youngest Bundesliga manager.
In 1981, Assauer moved surprisingly to Schalke. It followed five eventful years before he had to finish the differences with the then-President Hans-Joachim Fenne's service. He then worked in the real estate industry and also as head of the second division, VfB Oldenburg.
In the documentary about Assauer, which premiered on May 4, 2018 in the Veltins Arena titled "Macher. Mensch. Legend." his long-term secretary Sabine Söldner remembered the difficult beginning of their cooperation. "What kind of an arrogant brush is it? No goodbye, no good morning, no thanks, it was the daily routine," Mercenary said of his boss who entered her yarn and smoked cigar in the office. From the first reluctance later developed a close friendship. Along with Assau's daughter Bettina Michel, the mercenaries took care of their "boss" who had put in a wheelchair in recent months, helped with care and support. Until the end. (Br / dpa)