Exclusive | Magdeburg’s Christian Titz discusses 2. Bundesliga, US football, Liverpool & more

Christian Titz is a 51-year-old German professional football manager and former player who is the head coach of Magdeburg. Besides coaching, Titz has published several specialised books on football training methods. 

During his active career, he most notably played for then 2. Bundesliga side Waldhof Mannheim in the mid-1990s before ending his playing career in the Regionalliga for SC Idar-Oberstein in 2000. 

He then embarked on a coaching career, managing the youth teams of several clubs between 2000 and 2006 and again in 2009, as well as amateur clubs while at the same time working for the United States Soccer Federation. 

From 2011 to 2014, Titz coached former Bundesliga club Homburg 08 in the Regionalliga-Südwest before joining Hamburg in 2015, initially taking over the U17 team and later the reserve team. 

From March 2018, he was head coach of Hamburg’s first team before being dismissed in September 2018 when the club were in the fifth position. Before the 2019/20 season, he joined Regionalliga club Rot-Weiss Essen but was dismissed after one season after failing to reach play-off promotions.

Since February 2020, he has been head coach of 1. FC Magdeburg which he coached them to the 3. Liga title and promotion to the 2. Bundesliga at the end of the 21/22 season.

Ben McFadyean (BM): Christian, congratulations on promotion to the 2. Bundesliga, back in the second tier what an achievement and what prospects ahead! How does it feel and what makes this Magdeburg team so special this past season?

Christian Titz (CT): What has impressed me about this Magdeburg team is the quality of the players and the attitude we have shown throughout the past season and the way we earned our 3. Liga title and promotion last season. This group I have to work with at the club are a great bunch of players and we can do well in the coming season. 

BM: The Magdeburg fans I have seen have been sensational committed singing throughout the past season and are energetic and there was a great rapport with the team, is it always like that at Magdeburg? Have you had any special experiences as a coach at the club?

CT: I will think back to some great grounds this season in the 3. Liga. For example, Osnabrück which is like an English ground, very intense, and unbelievable, reminds me of the Alemannia Aachen atmosphere where I started my career. Football at this level is football you can almost touch, it’s really fun to be part of. This coming season will be another level but this past season has been inspiring. 

BM: Magdeburg is a historical club with some great titles like the three East German titles in the past but what is the meaning for the club of the European Cup Winners Cup win of 1974, the first and only European title for an East German team at the time? 

CT: The European cup win although it is some time back did something special for the people of Magdeburg it lifted them somehow, raised their expectations and you see it in the way the fans are. The fans here are so proud of their club and their city, and it is very present in the club. We use it to motivate the players. Each year on the anniversary of the win the fans and the club celebrate the anniversary of the win in 1974. It’s very present at the 1FCM. 

BM: I would like to ask about two former Borussia Dortmund players Keeper Dominik Reimann and left-back Tim Sechselmann. They were a strong combination in the BVB U23s, did you identify them whilst with the Dortmund academy? What made these two players stand out for you? 

CT: Of course, BVB has a good academy but the players were hired simply because they were the right candidates for the positions that were needed. Dominik Reimann was doing a great job with BVB but we knew he wanted to switch and he has a great set of skills. In Tim’s case, we got as you will know from Cologne but yes BVB players are well trained that is true.

BM: I am curious about Tatsuya Ito the Japanese loan player from St Truidense in Belgium where Shinji Kagawa is now playing, he seems to have made a big impact with your club, what are his strengths and what is it that makes Japanese players stand out in German football?

CT: Ito is very humble and is always first in training in the morning and last out at night, totally dedicated. Ito who I knew already at Hamburg in particular also has great dribbling skills and he is superb in one, he has made a huge impact at Magdeburg and we are lucky to have him in the side. 

BM: You were promoted as champions of the 3. Liga and now play in the second tier in the new season which starts on Friday so you will have to increase the level of your game across the team but which grounds and fans are you especially looking forward to in the second tier and why? 

CT: Well for sure but we have been there before, the success of our championship season will motivate the team but above all, we are aware there is a lot of quality in the 2. Bundesliga, especially the ‘Traditionsvereine’ (historical clubs) like Kiel, Darmstadt, Düsseldorf, Hannover. As you can imagine, I am also looking forward of course to the derby against Hansa Rostock.

BM: You didn’t mention your former club, Hamburg?

CT: You got me there. I wouldn’t argue that I am that much looking forward to Hamburg after the way things went there, more to the Millerntor and St Pauli.

BM You trained in the US for the US Soccer Federation, what was that experience like and how do you see the USMNT developing nowadays? Do you still follow them? 

CT: I worked in the US in talent development and scouting in the mid-2000s. Football has come along a lot since then in the US. You can see how many good young players have come over to Germany alone. Christian Pulisic, Bello at Bielefeld, Timothy Chandler at Frankfurt and Gio Reyna at Dortmund, the curve is going upwards for US soccer. 

BM: What about English football do you have an interest in the Premier League and do you have any experience of playing in England or travelling to England to watch games? 

CT: I take more than an interest in Liverpool, I was at the Camp Nou in 2019 when they played their Champions League match against Barca and lost 3-0. I then travelled to Anfield for the return leg and Liverpool turned Barcelona over 4-0 and went through, it was an amazing experience. The hospitality of the fans at Liverpool, and ‘the Reds’ are a club that I admire. 

BM: Lastly let me ask about Marcel Schmelzer, a former Magdeburger, he recently retired from BVB, could you see a role for him at Magdeburg? 

CT: I think he is retired now but for sure although he was here a long time ago, in the early 2000s I think he went to Dortmund (2006). Schmelzer is a local boy and is still known in Magdeburg. I don’t know what he plans in future, he can ask and we can talk about it. 

BM: On behalf of Get German Football News, thank you for the interview Christian and best of luck for your match against Fortuna on Saturday and your start into the 2. Liga season ahead!

Ben McFadyean

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