FK Austria are offering Stefan Effenberg a route back into football after the veteran German midfielder said he was on the brink of quitting.
Effenberg’s contract with Bayern Munich ended in June and negotiations to find a new club proved in vain despite various contacts and detailed talks with both Atletico Madrid in Spain and England’s Manchester City.
Now FK Austria, one of the country’s greatest clubs but without a trophy since winning the cup in 1994, have stepped in.
Owner Frank Stronach, who is also president of the Austrian league, made his fortune in Canada andthe United States where he has also invested heavily in horse-racing. Now he wants to gamble on Effenberg’s charisma to inspire a revival and authorised general manager Peter Svetits to fly to Dusseldorf to discuss terms with Effenberg and his wife Martina – who is also the player’s personal manager.
Svetits reported that initial discussions went well but that was not such good news for FK coach, Walter Schachner, a former World Cup striker.
Schachner said: “I am not sure what to think. Effenberg is 34 and would not fit into the tactical scheme we use. I will have to wait and see what happens. There isa big difference between talking to a player and that player signing a contract.”
FK’s neighbours Rapid also wentdown a similar route a year ago. They imported veteran German Lothar Matthaus as coach but parted company in the spring with Rapid bottom of the league table.
By Keir Radnedge