Ex-coach Joe Zinnbauer takes over job in Moscow

Former Bundesliga coach Joe Zinnbauer has joined Lok Moscow in the Russian Premier League – in the middle of the war.

At the end of the approximately four-minute video clip, Joe Zinnbauer changes perspective. “Dear Lokomotiv fans,” says the 52-year-old, speaking directly into the camera, “you want new successes and trophies, and we want that too.” Zinnbauer closes with a combative “Vperjot Lokomotiv” (Forward Locomotive!) – and gets to work.

Joe Zinnbauer, former Bundesliga coach of Hamburger SV, started his job at the top Russian club Lokomotiv Moscow – in the middle of the war. While other Western athletes and trainers such as Markus Gisdol or Daniel Farke have left the giant empire and are avoiding the Russian Premier League in view of Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, Zinnbauer is going the opposite way.

Nothing is known about his motives or possible concerns about his new engagement, and Zinnbauer initially did not respond to a “SID” request on Monday. Instead, he speaks extensively in the club media, raves about the training conditions at the Russian capital club and calls Lok a “very interesting” project.

Gisdol and Schwarz turn their backs on Russia

German coaches are by no means new in Moscow. At local rivals Dynamo, a certain Sandro Schwarz (now Hertha BSC) was on the sidelines until the end of the season, and at Lok, experts from this country already have a small tradition. Before Zinnbauer and Marvin Compper, who remains with Zinnbauer as assistant coach, Gisdol had coached the team in the winter – until Russia attacked the Ukraine.

“For me, football coaching is the best job in the world,” said the long-time Bundesliga coach after his resignation after only four months at the end of February via the “Bild” newspaper. But he could not “stand in Moscow on the training ground, train the players, demand professionalism and a few kilometers away orders are given that bring great suffering to an entire people”.

Like Gisdol, Daniel Farke made his decision in the spring. When the tanks rolled in eastern Ukraine, the current coach of Borussia Mönchengladbach canceled his contract with the Russian club FK Krasnodar at the beginning of March.

No European competition for Lokomotiv Moscow

Zinnbauer, who worked for the former Bundesliga Dino HSV from September 2014 to March 2015 and then coached FC St. Gallen (2015 to 2017) and the Orlando Pirates in South Africa (2019 to 2021), is now going the opposite way. At Lok, he works with sports director Thomas Zorn and the head of the scouting department, Christian Möckel.

Möckel told him about the project in Moscow, says Zinnbauer: “I came here, looked at everything and I liked everything. That’s why I’m here.”

Zinnbauer should put the three-time champion (most recently in 2018) and nine-time cup winner back on the road to success after falling to sixth place. “The players are hungry for wins and so are we coaches,” affirmed Zinnbauer. The championship starts in just under two weeks with a home game against Nizhny Novgorod.

On the European stage, however, you will not see Lok with his new coach for the time being. Russian teams are currently banned from UEFA competitions because of the war.

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