In the Netherlands, NEC Nijmegen coach Peter Hyballa is spreading the gospel of heavy-metal football. Hyballa was a youth-team coach at Borussia Dortmund whilst Jurgen Klopp was manager there. Hyballa was responsible for bringing Mario Gotze among others through the ranks whilst at Dortmund.
Hyballa has recently been talking about his challenges he has faced as well as the work with Jurgen Klopp to Sky Sports.
“At NEC Nijmegen we have a lot of financial problems but I try every day to be positive. That is also the idea of Jurgen Klopp. He is always happy and it’s different. If you are not arrogant and the players, fans and journalists know this, I think that helps you pick up more points.”
“We Germans train more, we train harder and we train stronger.” And now he’s taken his own brand of heavy-metal football to the Eredivisie and Dutch yo-yo club NEC Nijmegen.
“For four matches we did not have a goalkeeper,” he says. When looking at the stats, they actually show NEC rank bottom of the league for possession. However they are in the top half of the table, winning back-to-back games since their winter break in Marbella.
“If the league was over now I’d be drinking champagne,” laughs Hyballa. Understandable given the restrictions and the fact that NEC are on track for their best league finish in almost a decade. It’s a testament to the work of a coach who has found another way to win. This is moneyball right here, something that FSG should also take note is the leagues such an ethos will only work in.
“I have the philosophy of the transition game from when I was working with Jurgen Klopp,” he says. “It’s about winning the ball back within four or five seconds. I cannot play the style like Jurgen because he has a very good team at Liverpool so there is that difference.”
“We are not the best team in the Netherlands so we must go a little bit for midfield pressing and occasionally go backwards. If I had a better team we would press first line because if you put pressure on the ball it is not so easy for the opponent to get close to your goal.”
“That idea of total pressing – what is sometimes now called gegenpressing – was a little bit born in Dortmund, I think. It was great. With Jurgen, it is what you do against the ball that is the secret. That comes with fitness and with team spirit.”