Hanover - It's little wonder that Dieter Schatzschneider has retained a special place in the hearts of Hannover 96 fans.
The 55-year-old, who currently works as a scout for die Roten, scored 134 goals in 178 appearances for the club during the 1970s and 1980s. Nowadays, it's his job to unearth emerging young talent and, as bundesliga.com discovered, Schatzschneider rarely leaves a stone unturned in his search - provided he doesn't have to venture too far from home.
bundesliga.com: Mr. Schatzschneider, you work as a scout in your home town for Hannover 96. Were you first spotted by a scout at the beginning of your career?
Dieter Schatzschneider: No. At that time, Hannover were playing in the second division and the club didn't have the money to buy a striker. A journalist phoned the president and said there was a young, spindly lad at OSV (Schatzschneider's former club, OSV Hannover): He doesn't run much, but he scores plenty of goals. I was then invited for a trial. I think if they'd had an alternative, they would have got somebody else, but they just didn't have any money.
bundesliga.com: What are your duties as club scout?
Schatzschneider: You have to travel a lot and get out and about. That's my world. I haven't got my own office at 96 - I don't need one! Whether there's a course in Duisburg or an international match in Bad Pyrmont, I watch everything and want to keep myself up-to-date on everything.
bundesliga.com: It sounds like you work mainly in Germany…
Schatzschneider: If anything happens in Germany, I'm on it!
bundesliga.com: Aren't you ever tempted to look in South America or Asia?
Schatzschneider: I have a huge fear of flying and said I can't do the job, but 96 wanted me desperately and asked if I was able to at least travel to Germany's neighbouring countries. I occasionally have a look around Belgium and France, but I do that in my car. Going to places like Brazil would be difficult.
bundesliga.com: What sort of qualities do you look for when you're scouting a player?
Schatzschneider: There are certain qualities I look for. For example, a player's character didn't really used to matter, but I think that's a very important part of a player's make-up. If you're like I used to be - completely selfish - that wouldn't work nowadays. FC Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund could maybe afford to have a few players like that, but Hannover 96 couldn't, unless he scores 20 goals a season.
bundesliga.com: Unlike many other clubs, Hannover currently don't have a boarding school for their young players.
Schatzschneider: Correct. The boys stay with other families. It's meant well, but the boys want to stay among themselves. They have their own families, and their parents quite rightly want the best for their sons. At the moment, we can't offer them that, but the club are about to invest 26 million euros in a new training centre. We've done well, we have a few really good talents that make the rest of Germany very envious, but things could still be better.
bundesliga.com: Regarding matters on the pitch, Hannover qualified for the UEFA Europa League twice in a row, before narrowly missing out last season. At the moment, Hannover are 13th and struggling away from home. Can you offer an explanation?
Schatzschneider: I haven't really got a proper explanation. There were games we really should have won, but something always seems to happen as of the 60th minute. Things work well at home - we have brilliant support there - but things aren't going the way we'd imagined away from home, which is a big disappointment for me.
bundesliga.com: Can a barren spell such as this also have a psychological impact on the players?
Schatzschneider: It's easy to say that, but it's the duty of the new coach (39-year-old Tayfun Korkut) to establish why things suddenly don't seem to be working [away from home].
bundesliga.com: The FIFA World Cup is upon us. Do you think Germany have a chance of winning the competition?
Schatzschneider: If we really want to be world champions, we have to become more adept at pressing. I'm sorry, but the national team struggles a bit in that regard.
Interview by Jürgen Blöhs