Down-to-earth, modest, reliable – attributes that companions use to describe the 45-year-old football coach, who has been directing the sporting fortunes of Hannover 96 from the sidelines for almost three months. “I feel very comfortable, my family often visits and also feels very comfortable here,” said Leitl in the NDR Sportclub.
For the native of Munich and family man, who has spent almost his entire career in Bavaria, Lower Saxony is both an adventure and a conviction: “After talking to sports director Marcus Mann and Martin Kind, I really wanted to go to Hanover. It quickly became clear that we wanted to build something together and that we could also achieve something together,” said the coach.
Leitl will develop the team
Down-to-earth, modest, reliable – these are also attributes that were not directly associated with Hannover 96 in the past. The performances were too changeable, there was too much unrest around the club. Even if that If the dispute between the child and the parent club is still not resolved, the conflict currently has no impact on the team.
And not on Leitl anyway, he concentrates on the sporting: “There are no young and old players, there are good players and less good players,” he says of the squad of the “Reds”. And the Bavarian adds: “As coaches, we have to find a good mix. We have a lot of players with great potential in our team, but they need to be led.”
Sporty flight and upcoming challenges
And his players seem to be following him. The “Reds” recently celebrated four wins in a row, after the success in Rostock 96 knocks at the top of the table. But Leitl puts the brakes on the euphoria a bit compared to the NDR: “One mustn’t forget that Hannover has been in a relegation battle for the last three years. We are in a development. I believe that we are on the right path and still have to remain humble.”
The coach is not wrong, the past few years have been a constant ups and downs for the fans of Lower Saxony. Cautious optimism is allowed due to the increase in performance so far this season. Precisely because the Lower Saxony derby against Eintracht Braunschweig is a prestigious game on Saturday. “This is the most important game for all Hanoverians,” said Leitl, giving hope to the supporters: “We want to show a good game. And we want to win.”
Where does 96 o’clock land at the end of the season?
With a win against the “Lions” Leitl would conquer the hearts of the supporters even faster than before. With his calm demeanor, within a few weeks he has turned a stumbling second division team into a team that is playing successfully again. In the cup, the “Reds” have a Bundesliga team Borussia Dortmund will also get a hammer ticket that will fill the arena.
Where is the journey going for off-leash footballers? “Everything is perfect at the moment,” grins Leitl, who doesn’t want to look too far ahead: “I’ve experienced ups and downs myself as a player, especially when I was young,” said the 45-year-old. “I want the guys to always believe in their chance, work hard, stay on track and not get distracted.” If their players continue to heed this, Hannover can play a good role in the league this season.