“Let’s be realistic!“

FC Schalke 04 – one of Germany’s best professional soccer teams, located in Gelsenkirchen in the famous Ruhr Industrial Area – and its coach, Felix Magath.

Shortly before their match against Hamburg, that city’s newspaper Abendblatt printed an article with the title “Meisterschaft? Nein! Wir müssen realistisch bleiben” – Championship? No! We need to be realistic.”

At that point FC Schalke was in third place, theoretically a possible contender for the German soccer championship. But when one of his players, Benedikt Höwedes, used the word Meisterschaft – championship – in an interview, his coach Magath reacted immediately.

“It is absolutely correct to set high goals”, Magath said to this team, “but they have to be realistic. Otherwise they will tear us apart, and then we will not even reach normal expectations. Getting to the championship this year is not a realistic goal. We are not yet a top-performing team. We have a long road ahead of us.”

Among other qualities it this “Sinn für Realismus” – sense of realism – which explains why Magath is so highly respected.