Christian Heidel: I don’t have to give the coach any pointers

Christian Heidel was the sporting director at 1. FSV Mainz 05 for almost 25 years. “It means it’s not a normal game for me,” said the 54-year-old who has been the Knappen's sporting director since the end of May 2016.

However, he won’t be giving Domenico Tedesco any pointers ahead of Friday night’s game. “I don’t think I can tell him anything about Mainz that he doesn’t already know. He’s as prepared as well as ever,” said Heidel. “Also, he has someone in Peter Perchtold who knows the opposition even more than me.” Tedesco’s assistant was an assistant coach at the Zerofivers prior to joining Schalke.

Heidel confesses that he has his fingers crossed for Mainz (almost) every weekend. “Of course not against us. I want to win this game but, aside from that, I wish them well for the rest of the season.” The city and its football club mean a lot to him.

It goes without saying that I want us to win in Mainz.

Christian Heidel

“When I walk through Mainz, I know almost everyone I see,” said a reflective Heidel. “I was born in Mainz, my parents and my older children live there. So I clearly have a close connection with the town.” Although he does feel at ease in the Ruhr area, “Mainz is my home and that will never change.”

Two years on from his move, Heidel still owns a flat in Mainz. However, it’s been a while since he’s visited. Schalke’s sporting director joked: “When I open the door to my flat, I’ll probably be met by cobwebs!”