“It took my joy out of me”

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Strong support in the regional league: Frederic Löhe looks back on his time in Gießen with mixed feelings. Photo: Ben © Ben

Freddi Löhe has mixed feelings about his time at FC Giessen and saying goodbye to professional football

Pour. If you enter Frederic Löhe on the worldwide network, you will find a Wikipedia entry in addition to the usual career history at »transfermarkt.de«. The 33-year-old goalkeeper born in Engelskirchen also names FC Gießen in the “current team” category. And indeed, over the years of the company of the former regional league, it seems that Löhe is still there.

In any case, a real goodbye looks different. After many great positions such as Borussia Mönchengladbach, Alemannia Aachen, SV Sandhausen and Babelsberg 03, the goalkeeper has been one of the main characters in Gießen since 2019 alongside Nikola Trkulja, Michael Fink and Aykut Öztürk. Always outstanding in sports and certainly one of the leading goalkeepers of the 4th league, humanly because of his passion for presenting himself at the stadium, on the one hand an attractive figure, on the other a model to follow.

Or you could say: this is what a goalkeeper should be like. And then suddenly he disappeared, as basically the entire team that represented the white and reds in the regional league. Coach Daniyel Cimen also regretted in the season announcement that players were not said goodbye. However, in the case of Michel Magel, the path of internal and external consolidation has been chosen, while emergency board member Turgay Schmidt continues to work on the club’s structures in the background. But what is Freddi Löhe, FC Gießen’s goalkeeper, doing in sports after leaving Central Hesse? The conversation reached a family member living in Nümbrecht, near Gummersbach, on his way to a new professional perspective.

Mr. Löhe, at the end of the season and the relegations, how are you now? Are there any specific offers and ideas?

Yes, they are. At the moment, I am going to the Chamber of Industry and Commerce to submit my documents. I decided to do my apprenticeship as a businessman. The last year and a half at FC Gießen has left so many scars with all the background noise that I don’t want to play football professionally anymore. After the last game, I had a lot of time to think about it and I came to this conclusion. But I will not stop completely. In addition to training, I also play in the district league in SV Schönenbach. Then I’m with a lot of old guys from my hometown club. It would be my intention anyway if I stopped playing football as a job. And it is happening now.

Could you have imagined that this was happening?

Basically yes, but things haven’t gone smoothly for the past year and a half. Then I lost interest. All the salary delays and the atmosphere in the club made football at this level fun. It has to do with recognition as well. If your salary is overdue by a few weeks almost every month, but also not properly communicated, then it does something for you. Already in the summer of last year, I was wondering whether it would be better to leave the club.

So why did you stay?

I continued because I had an excellent goalkeeping coach at Elvira Smajlovic who continued to help me. And we had a great team of coaches, outstanding people with Daniyel Cimen, Marco Vollhardt and Michael Fink. It was great to be able to play with this professional model again. It is also very important to me that Christian Memmarbachi is presented in the right light. I had a great relationship with him and he was always a rock in surfing, always trying to help and mediate and even in the late evening he had an ear open to players. Nobody in the team let him down.

Sounds good…

So far, but unfortunately only one person rules in this club. And there was no reasonable communication and no reasonable service possible. Last year was a total disaster. Ever since Mr. Schmidt served as the director of emergencies, I felt there were eight or nine other supervisors or people in the area because one kept leaving. They all left or were abandoned because they were not respected and mistreated. Actually, alarm bells should have rung me in the winter of 2020/2021, when we were officially doing odd jobs, and that is at a time when we were fully active. I already felt uncomfortable.

How does this affect the team?

This is so depressing. And I can only tip everyone’s hat. The band had a real character. Despite these circumstances, she was never disappointed. All this time we only played very badly and without strikes against FSV Frankfurt. That is why the poster disturbed us so much with insults from a few isolated fans, because we could be accused of scoring too few goals, maybe there was no quality from time to time, but everyone kicked their asses and always tried to give everything. And under the circumstances. But there’s always some anxiety in your head, so getting off has something to do with money never coming on time and you don’t get any gratitude.

How did you actually say goodbye?

At the last game in Kassel, Daniyel gave a little locker room speech, we had a beer, that’s all. We parted ways as a team and as a coaching team completely on good terms. But there was no sign of a lifeline. It’s like a kick to the butt. And as the new team was gradually presented and built up, most of the former players were still short of their final salary. You have to imagine it. On the one hand, players are pulled while others are still waiting for their money.

Have you walked through a lot of stations and clubs, was there anything comparable in your career?

No never. I moved a lot, but even in Aachen, which I came to during my insolvency, we always got money from the insolvency practitioner. Everything was very professional. After the implementation of the rescue board that followed sponsors GmbH, nothing worked anymore. Discussions about the situation arose only upon request, but even then for the most part to no avail. Incidentally, he worked for Sponsoren GmbH. They sacrificed themselves for the team and did everything. Even during the first blockade, when money was tight for the players, Sponsoren GmbH always kept an open ear and supported us. After the chapter was over, we thought okay, the rescue committee appointed by the district court should make sure everything was working. We thought it would be better from the perspective. But it wasn’t like that. And then you have to experience how the honest people at Sponsoren GmbH are publicly discredited. It’s not enough. Kai Braun, Markus Haupt and Salvatore Cuneo have always been dedicated to the club, team and players, invested time and money and then have to come to terms with that. You would have to be careful. This causes a lot of irritation.

What exactly do you mean by “not working”, other than delayed wages?

We never got any crash board bonuses, no win bonuses, nothing. And that’s just a factor that also contributes to the decline. Delays in paying wages and then no bonuses. The contracts that were signed with the contract should indeed be kept. Contracts should be expected to be honored. And the issue of short-term work also seemed strange to us. How is this possible when you play every three days? I don’t know much about the law, but I found it strange. We tried everything we could. In the end, we even thought of a strike as a team. But we didn’t want that because we were too big athletes for that and we didn’t want to disappoint the club as a team. But of course the entire procedure is a burden. If you have the feeling of being at the mercy of the person, it is not conducive to productivity and affects the working atmosphere. We were and are especially annoyed because the contributions to the previous team are still overdue, but the new team is now complete and is playing again. It really is impossible.

What is left of your time in Giessen?

After three and a half years, my heart hangs on it, that’s just the way it is. There was great evening entertainment in a great atmosphere. There was a great atmosphere at the stadium. I will not forget that I was able to work and play with such outstanding people as Daniyel, Michael, Nikola and Smajlo. Or that in Christian Memmarbachi I met someone I can always rely on. But, if one person in charge is just emotionally assaulting you and doing things that you are uncomfortable with, it’s time to leave. This is a huge shadow on time in Gießen. But of course there is also the fact that I will miss the fans. I am still in touch with some of them.

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