On June 23, 2021, Union Berlin manager Oliver Ruhnert watched the Germany-Hungary preliminary round match of the European Championship and was mildly amused by what happened in the 68th minute. Andras Schafer scored the goal, while the Hungarians won 2:1. “I didn’t like it at all,” Runnert says, though it had to do with the outcome of the game secondarily. First of all, fear crept over him. The 50-year-old Ruhnert wanted to bring Schaefer to Berlin, who at the time was active in the Slovakian first division club Dunajska Streda. And the fear of the creator of the union was that “now many clubs can pay attention to him”.
Today, Ruhnert tells the story with amusement. Because the damage was limited. Hungary still lost 2-2 in Munich and crashed out of the European Championship; The boss, in turn, moved to 1. FC Union Berlin in January 2022, allegedly for 1.5 million euros. Schaefer will be back in action with Hungary against Germany in Leipzig this Friday, this time in the Nations League, and he can now lay claim to being one of the established forces at the Bundesliga’s reigning leaders.
Schaefer, 23, needed his starting time. In the second half of the last season, he did not play a single away game for Union in the Bundesliga. it wasn’t until the 31st match in a 2-1 win at Leipzig that coach Urs Fischer considered him in the starting XI. Schaefer especially impressed him in those days, says athletic director Runert. Schaefer was a national player, he didn’t play, but, Runnert says, he was always at the forefront in training: “curious, ambitious, patient.”
The result: In the new season, Schaefer has multiplied his playing time in Union. In 7 games so far, he has been on the field for 372 minutes, 150 minutes more than in the second half of the entire season. He has been there from the start in four of the last five games, including Köpenicker’s remarkable wins against Leipzig (2-1) and FC Bayern (1-1).
Union manager Runnert wanted to watch another player and was then hypnotized by Schaefer
Ruhnert wanted to bring Schaefer to Berlin in mid-2021, but then an agreement was not reached with Dunajska Streda. “We persevered because we wanted Andras very much. Definitely,” the manager emphasizes, “it was clear to me. he is just a “game” in every way.
It was a bit of a fluke that Schaefer ended up on Union’s radar. Runnert actually wanted to watch another player in Slovakia, but then Schaefer hypnotized him. “I thought. What did the manager see? A young player who is “positive, plays well under pressure, always shows full commitment, is always focused and tactically flexible. He’s basically the type of player I like,” Runnert said. Therefore, Schaefer is the prototype of the player who surprises the Union time and time again, more or less unknown and capable of development.
Bernd Stork, 58, who coached Hungary between 2015 and 2017, also had praise for Scheffer, who he coached at Dunajska Streda, following the player’s failure in Italy. Advisors had tipped the boss that he could start in Serie A, and between January 2019 and January 2020, there was no match between Chievo Verona and CFC Genoa. But Schaefer didn’t bow out when he came to Slovakia. “Andras is a mental player,” said Stork, who is now a coach at Belgian first division club KAS Eupen. “He rolls up his sleeves, you can count on him,” says Stork. And. “He’s the one who opens his mouth in the cabin. He’s got personality.”
Schäfer grew up in Szombatel, 500 meters from Hertha legend Gabor Kiraly’s front door.
It seems odd that Schaefer ended up in Berlin despite his CV at Union and not Hertha. Schäfer was born in the Hungarian town of Szombathely, like Gabor Kiraly, the iconic goalkeeper of Hertha BSS. Kiraly would rather see the midfielder in blue-and-white than Union’s red-and-white, Schaefer recently told Berliner. daily mirror. It can be assumed that Kiraly advised Herta to keep an eye on her hometown boy, Schaefer grew up just 500 meters from Kiraly’s front door.
Meanwhile, Schaefer is slowly becoming one of the figures in Berlin’s West End, raising the envy of eastern rivals Union. He also impresses with his tactical versatility, which Runert and Stork openly praise. For the Hungarian national team, Szäfer plays alongside the currently injured Roland Salla in defensive midfield in a double six. At Union, he’s usually more attacking at number eight.
At the age of 15, Schaefer joined MTK Budapest, a legendary Hungarian club that had seen its greatest glory in the 1950s. At that time, MTK produced players such as Nandor Hidegkuti, Josef Zacharias or Mihaly Lantos, who tragically lost to Germany in the 1954 World Cup final in Bern (2-3), but had won the immortal 6-3 at Wembley the year before : Led by Ferenc Puskas, Zoltan Cibor and Sandor Kocsis.
Since the turn of the century, MTK Budapest has refocused on education after years in the shadows, aided in recent years by a support program run by the Hungarian FA that pays bonuses to clubs that place junior players in their senior teams. The program now appears to be bearing fruit.
In June, Hungary, led by Italian coach Marco Rossi, drew 1-1 with Germany and won not one but two against England; Hungary beat them first in Southampton (4-0) and then in Budapest (1-) in mid-June. 0) Gareth Southgate’s team. The outspoken side even top the table in Group A3 of the Nations League, ahead of all the favourites, the DFB side, Italy and England. Alumni of the ITK academy, named after another club legend (Karoli Sandor), have featured in recent success, including goalkeeper Peter Gulac and attacking force Dominik Shoboslay of RB Leipzig and Andras Schaefer.
17-year-old Zalan Vanca, a young left winger, was also part of the Hungarian national team. In Hungary, they tell each other real miracles about Vansha.