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Bayern’s Dubai host

Interview: Local expert Frank Pagelsdorf

Bayern are training on ‘his’ pitch in Dubai. ‘His’ team play their home games at the Al Maktoom stadium. However, Frank Pagelsdorf has thrown open the doors for the visitors from Bayern. The 51-year-old, a former Bundesliga coach with Hansa Rostock and Hamburger SV, now supervises local top flight outfit Al-Nasr, and has been observing FCB train with great professional interest.

Pagelsdorf has just rejoined Al-Nasr after an earlier spell in charge from 2004-5. The club has previously had three other German bosses, Eduard Geyer, Hagen Reek and Reiner Hollmann. Pagelsdorf spoke to about his somewhat unusual job in Dubai.

Interview: Frank Pagelsdorf How do you come to be coaching here in Dubai?
Frank Pagelsdorf: “It all started five years ago with Eduard Geyer’s assistant, Hagen Reeck. He told me Al-Nasr wanted a German coach. He and Geyer were previously at the club and also took Energie Cottbus to a training camp in Dubai seven or eight years ago. I took a look around, and decided to stay. It's been a lot easier deciding to come here a second time, because I knew what to expect. I know the club, and knew conditions would be excellent.“ Why do Al-Nasr prefer German coaches?
Pagelsdorf: “It depends who wins the league. If a Brazilian coach wins the league, the next wave of coaches will be Brazilian. That’s how it is here.“ What’s the motivation to coach in Dubai?
Pagelsdorf: “Football is on the up in Dubai and the UAE. When I was here five years ago, there was no professional league, but there’s been one for a season now. They’re keen to build up the professional game and the national team.“ Is football the number one sport here?
Pagelsdorf: “No. Camel and horse racing, and various other sports, are more popular. But football’s coming along, and the people here are passionate about it.“