SEEING EACH OTHER AGAIN IS A PLEASURE
Ahead of today's friendly match against Liverpool, 05 physio Christopher Rohrbeck looks back on his time in England
The anticipation is huge: When Mainz 05 meets Liverpool and Mainz coaching legend Jürgen Klopp tonight as part of the summer training camp in Grödig, the crowd will be huge - the 3,500 tickets are already completely sold out. And it will also be a special duel for Christopher Rohrbeck. The Mainz physiotherapist, who is primarily responsible for the club's top talents, and the English top club have a common past.
Rohrbeck is an institution at Mainz, has worked for the Zerofivers since 2003 and experienced the club's highs and lows first-hand like few others - with one interruption. In 2017, Klopp lured his old companion to Liverpool FC in the Premier League, where both were Champions League winners in 2019 and celebrated the Reds' first championship in thirty years in 2020. After a three-year interlude on the island, the now 43-year-old was drawn back to his old home last summer. Tonight, their paths cross again.
A very good time
"I'm just happy to see people again, that's always very nice," remarks Rohrbeck, who has never lost contact with players, Reds officials and head coach Klopp - even today there is still irregular contact and great mutual appreciation between the two. He therefore looks back on their days together in Liverpool with pleasure. "It was a very good time, the team and the coaching team were top. It was something different from playing against relegation." Compared to Bruchweg, the working environment, pitches or fitness rooms at the English top club are naturally even more professionally equipped, while another aspect was responsible for Rohrbeck returning to work for the Zerofivers last season.
From a psychological point of view, it was something else in the first half of the year.
"I also realised that the English philosophy of the medical department does not coincide with mine or the philosophy common in Western Europe," explains Rohrbeck, who wanted to find more time for his own family again and experienced a contrasting programme to his Liverpool time in Mainz after his return. "Especially in terms of the psychological component, it was something else in the first half of the year," says the 43-year-old about the challenging first half of last season.
European Championship participation with Switzerland
"Every defeat hurts, at Liverpool I experienced that maybe once or twice in the season and here eleven, twelve times in the first half of the year," said Rohrbeck, who was then pleased with Mainz's "excellent performance" in the second half of the season and the fact that they stayed in the league, but whose work focused on other factors. "For me, it's a game won if we don't have an injured player. We are responsible for sending the players onto the pitch in top physical form in every training session."
For me, it's a game won if we don't have an injured player
From this point of view, the requirement profile for physiotherapists has not changed in the last decades, although new treatment and monitoring tools as well as more precise and comprehensive information from the athletics department would help to make better decisions. Rohrbeck has also been working for the Swiss national team for a year now, and so recently took part in the European Championships. An experience that would have opened up "other perspectives and new interesting communication channels" for him. "It is also interesting to see the other side."