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Hoek’s distinctive methods

Defining the ideal Bayern goalkeeper

You can’t see it, but Frans Hoek keeps his goalkeepers on a tight rein, albeit an invisible one. He spends practice matches next to the goal, behind it, or even in it. Sometimes he actually enters the goal area, advancing as far as the penalty spot. There are never more than ten or fifteen yards between him and his protégées. Hoek keeps a line of communication open all the time, watching closely and issuing rapid instructions. And his goalkeepers are more then delighted with the invisible, tight rein.

“He watches all the time and sees everything. He talks a lot, relatively speaking, giving advice and assistance,” reports Thomas Kraft, describing the club’s new goalkeeping coach as “a very agreeable, fun guy”. After the first few weeks of working together, Jörg Butt also praised Hoek. “I’m really pleased at the chance to work with him personally at last,” he said.

With the end of his career in sight, it means the Bayern number one has come full circle. “I’ve know all about Frans Hoek’s approach since my earliest days as a pro,” revealed Butt, “back then, I kept a very close eye on the way he made Edwin van der Sar one of the greats at Ajax.” In the early to mid-90s, Hoek worked in Amsterdam with the man who was to become the Netherlands’ most-capped keeper, and who rates as the prototype of the modern goalkeeper.

Hoek is now implementing his successful training methods at Bayern. The 53-year-old said his philosophy is based on one question: “What does the tactical plan used by Bayern require of its goalkeeper?” To this end, he has meticulously analysed the club’s matches. How many shots will he have to save? How many crosses will he have to deal with? How many back passes will he need to field?