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The Swede smell of success: Bundesliga club target Scandinavian talent

Flemming Rossen is a Scandinavian scout for Bundesliga club Hannover 96. He has had the opportunity to work with some of the biggest clubs in Europe, spending time with Hertha Berlin, Koln, Bayern Leverkusen and Grasshoppers. He started his career as a youth coach working for Koln and also for Swedish rivals AIK and Djurgarden.

You were a youth coach at two of the biggest Swedish clubs, AIK and Djurgarden, what was it like working with two rivals of that size in the same league?

Both clubs were founded in 1891 so the games between the clubs are called 'The twin derby'. I was at AIK 1999-2000 and at Djurgarden 2002-2004. Of course you can feel that the clubs are big rivals but it is more for the pro teams. Not only football but also in ice hockey. Both teams play in the best league. At youth level you always wanted to win against the big rival. I was actually headhunted by Djurgården after I beat them 5:0 with AIK...

What are the talent traits in players that you consider to be important?

Most important talent traits:

  • The will and mentality to work hard, not only to trust in the technical skills.
  • Speed, nowadays you hardly see slow players on top level.
  • Humility, best examples are the players at Barcelona.
  • Will to win and to be the best.
Who are the biggest clubs that you have worked alongside?

I have been scouting for clubs like Bayer Leverkusen, FC Koln and now Hannover 96.

You have not only worked in Scandinavia but also worked for some of the biggest clubs in Germany, how did scouting there differ?

Clubs in Scandinavia hardly have one single full time scout. Clubs in Germany have at least a full time chief scout and between one and five other scouts on a full time basis. Djurgarden got a full time scout just some weeks ago. Scandinavian clubs are more or less only scouting in Scandinavia. Of course the clubs buy players from Africa and other places. Most of these players have been offered by player agents.

How would you say scouting players has changed? What different traits are now important? Which ones would not be as important?

I think that clubs are more and more looking at the personality and mentality of a player.At Hannover 96 we are very concerned about recruiting the right kind of players. This is one of the reasons for our success in the last one and half years. 

Who are the best managers you have worked under?

The best sports director I have worked with is Jorg Schmadtke. He is now sports director at Hannover 96 and he was the one who recruited me to the club. We worked together at Alemannia Aachen. At that time Aachen played in the 2nd Bundesliga but the club managed to go to the cup final and qualify into the group stage of the European Cup. During Jorg's time Aachen managed to go up to the Bundesliga. Hannover 96 came fourth last season.

How does the style of Scandinavia football differ from other leagues in the world?

Scandinavian football differs quite a lot! First of all, the best Scandinavian players are playing outside of Scandinavia due to economical reasons. That means that the clubs are lacking individual class and therefore the team is the star. This also explains why clubs like FC Copenhagen, Odense, Malmo, Rosenborg now and then can qualify into the group stages of the Champions League. Of course the remaining players do not have as good skills as the top players in Italy, England and Germany. 

By Ryan Holmes

Photo: Hannover 96 players celebrate a goal by their Norwegian-born striker Mohammed Abdellaoue, who has already scored 10 goals in 10 appearances this season


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