Joachim Löw: Wir haben nur einmal seit seiner Rückkehr in die USA miteinander gesprochen, und dabei ging es nicht um Berufliches oder Fußball, sondern nur um Privates. Jürgen weiß auch, dass ich die Entscheidungen jetzt alleine fällen muss, aber
wir werden freundschaftlich weiter in Kontakt bleiben, selbstverständlich.(We've spoken to each other only once since Jürgen's return to USA, and it was
not about profession or football, but about private things. Jürgen knows that I have to make decisions by myself now, but as friends we'll still stay in contact, without questions)
Daniela Loew's POV
I hated this man from the start. From the moment he and my husband became friends –
six long years ago.
For me he was nothing but a name from newspapers, a picture from TV screen and a soft voice from the phone, asking politely if he could talk with Joachim. But I hated him even then. Because Joachim began to talk about this man.
My husband never talks to me about his work. He never says anything about problems with another club owner, never speaks about his players. Football tactics is not a topic for a chat with beloved woman, that’s what he always says, smiling. The only time he ever mentions his work is when something is really important to him.
And he started talking about him. About their meetings, their charity project, how important it is, how interesting it is to work together… Joachim mentioned him almost every day. I listened to it, and I started hating this man, because he was so important to my husband.
It was nothing like a jealousy then. I didn’t suspect that Joachim had feelings for him. I simply didn’t like that my husband is constantly talking about someone. It annoyed me that the phone call from this man was more important than a visit to our friends. I didn’t think about the worst.
But I had to open my eyes at some point. It happened when this man became a coach of National Team and asked Joachim to be his assistant. It was a great opportunity, and a well paid job, but I didn’t want my husband to take it. Because it meant I’ll have to hear about this man even more often, and I was sick of it already. But still it was a great chance for Joachim. And I didn’t say anything.
And then I saw them together for the first time. This first press conference where they were sitting together, and this man was talking, but I didn’t even look at him. Because I watched my husband, my Joachim, look at this man.
The moment I saw it I understood everything. And I hated this man, because in all the years we know each other Joachim never looked at me like this.
Maybe I should have said something then. But I didn’t want our marriage to fall apart. So I listened to Joachim talking about this man and I watched them together and tried to understand if there is something between them.
And all this time Joachim was a loving husband. He was bringing me flowers and never forgot to buy gifts. I never caught him daydreaming, and he never called the other name in bed. But still I knew that he doesn’t love me anymore. And I hated this man,
because Joachim loved him.
He is good looking, that I have to admit. Polite and charming every time we talked. I had a hard time being civil with him. His smile never worked at me. He stole the man I love. But I still didn’t say anything.
Sometimes I silently laughed at my husband. Didn’t he see that it won’t work out? This man is from another world, their lives are too different, what good can come out of it? Maybe Joachim didn’t see it. Sometimes I was afraid that he understood how
hopeless his infatuation is, but still let himself fall for this man.
The man who has a wife he loves. The woman everyone is ready to call beautiful. I asked Joachim what he thinks about her. “Nothing special”, he said, and shrugged. The bitterness in his voice told me another story. He wanted to be in her place. And I hated this man, because he could make Joachim jealous. I never could.
The great Tournament came, and I prayed for their team to fly out of it as soon as possible. Because in this case this man will have to leave, and I’ll have my husband back. I didn’t even care about what this championship means for Joachim. I only wanted him to be my husband again.
But the team played great, and the tournament was great. And in the end this man has left. But maybe it was too late.
Joachim is the main coach now. The greatest job for every coach – to train their
National team. Not to mention the money. He has a team of young players, and a
chance to win a big prize in two years, and soon there will be his first match as a head
coach. But he never talks about it.
He doesn’t talk much about anything these days. He smiles when he has to, and answers correctly to every question, and yesterday he brought me flowers. But he doesn’t look at me anymore. And last night he slept on the couch in the living room.
I don’t know if they ever went to bed together. I think they didn’t. Maybe Joachim
never even talked about his feelings. Maybe this man didn’t see.
I hate this man now because he left Joachim alone. My husband didn’t deserve this
; Music:Bee Gees - Heartbreaker
Summary: Joachim Loew's POV
Author's notes: I didn't plan to write series, it just happened :) This story is a mirror to "Heartbreaker", but I think it can be read alone as well. Dialogues in italic are phone calls
- Your presence here is rather surprising, isn’t it, Herr Löw?
- I’d say your presence here is unexpected too, Herr Klinsmann.
- It’s good to meet you again, Joachim.
- It’s nice to see you, Jürgen.
And this is how I fell in love.
It wasn’t love at first sight, nothing like that. When we were introduced to each other
for the first time, I was a coach in Stuttgart. He was the “Golden Bomber”, how they called him in newspapers, “Ice Angel” was also in use, captain of national team, world star, young, rich, successful and good looking, unreachable like a vision and as far from me as it could be. Love at first sight? Don’t make me laugh, please. Sure, poets always write about falling in love with a vision, but it’s not my case. I’m too realistic for that.
I fell in love with a real man I learned to know six years ago. The lections were boring for me, because I’ve heard it all already, I could explain all these things myself after working five years as a coach, and Jürgen was always laughing about it. He was sitting
with Guido Buchwald on the opposite side of the room, and often I was watching him instead of listening to another instructor. Our group was spending much time together outside the class – in the hotel or outdoors, we were eating together and learning together, practically living together, sharing jokes and having heated discussions about football, walking and playing and having a great time. Friendships were forming there. And Jürgen was in the center of it all.
He was not a vision anymore. Before me was a man, still young, still handsome, friendly and always smiling. He laughed at my rather lame attempts to mock Hero Bizanz’s
intonations. I managed to impress him with my ability to explain the tactics. He was able to make everyone around him laugh and feel good. I admired his intelligence and his willingness to learn from everyone. He was singing Italian songs just because it annoyed Matthias Sammer to no end. I found out that he is very easy to talk to. He was always in motion. I did my best to keep up with his rhythm. He started calling me Jogi. I didn’t mind. He was the heart of our company. I fell in love with him.
It seemed so natural it didn’t even frighten me. And there were very good reasons to be scared. I fell in love with a man – and I never even had any interest in men before –
with a married man, who lives in America and is happy with his life. Not to mention that I am married too. But I didn’t care then and I don’t care now.
I love him.
- Remember this youth training program we were talking about? We are working on it
now. Are you still with us?
I’m always with you, Jürgen.
I’m a realist, and I know that empty illusions can’t lead anywhere. So resigning myself to the facts was easy. There can be nothing between us, there will be nothing between us, there is nothing to be done about it. I love him, he greets me every time with such brilliant, sincere smile that it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t love me.
I still don’t know why he decided that I’m worth his trust. Jürgen is always very skeptic towards people, even despite his friendly manner. Maybe it was because of my good relationship with Buchwald or because Mayer-Vorfelder fired me without any
reason or just because, but anyway we became friends. He started calling me more often, sometimes just to chat. I visited him in Italy when we both had time. He once made a stop in Austria on his way to Germany just to have dinner with me. I cherished every second I spent with him. I’m a realist, so it was easy for me to understand – this
is all I can ever have from him.
- Jogi, I’d like to meet with you today. I’m in Milan now, can you come?
- Wouldn’t it be better if we meet when you’re back in Germany?
- I’d rather it was today. I want you to be my assistant coach. Can you imagine this?
If only you knew…
Jürgen always does what he thinks is right, without thinking about the price he’ll have to pay. It makes me admire him even more and at the same time it scares me. What if one day it’ll become too much for him, what will happen then? Well, at least I was there to support him when things were not going as we planned.
I learned more about him. I saw another Jürgen, who was too tired to smile and too annoyed to even pretend he’s in a good mood. I saw his anger for the first time – I
wish I’ll never see it directed towards me. We found we have the same interests. We
were sitting in stadiums and talking instead of watching games.
I saw how his face changes when he speaks about his wife and children. There’s such tenderness in his eyes, in his voice, he even looks younger, and there is this special smile that belongs only to her, such beautiful smile…
It’s not jealousy. If he was having an affair with another man, I would have allowed myself to feel it, but not towards his wife, the woman who makes him happy, the love of his life, part of his soul. Never in my life did I try to fool myself, so I just accepted that Jürgen loves her and is happy with her. What reason can I have to be jealous? But oh how I wish to never hear him talk about her. Because it hurts.
- Jogi. Do me a favor, please, invite the players yourself. I’ve sent you the list. I need to
stay in Stuttgart for a few days.
- What happened, Jürgen? Is anything wrong?
- Family matters. I’ll tell you later.
I would never have thought that he buried his father some days ago if the story wasn’t in all newspapers. Jürgen looked absolutely normal, like he always does, he was even smiling. And it was frightening. I didn’t know what to say, which words to offer, how to behave in his presence, because I knew that he is hurt and knew that he won’t let me comfort him. This smile was like a barrier between him and the others, and nobody was allowed to come closer, nobody even dared to try.
Well, it was a wake up call from any dream I could allow myself to create. I’m no closer
to him than anyone else. He won’t let me in, I’m not the one he will come to when he is in pain. It hurt to think that he feels the need to hide from me, but I understood. And I was even grateful for this lesson, because it made me return to reality. There can be nothing between us, there will be nothing between us, and never forget it, Joachim, don’t you ever dare to forget it.
- So, what do you think about goalkeepers?
- Lehmann is playing better at the moment. Why?
- This circus really went too far already. I’m announcing my decision tomorrow.
- Oh my…
I don’t know how he managed to survive this spring. He started taking me to every interview he had to give. We looked like bodyguards – me and Harald Stenger, sitting
silently while Jürgen talked. Most of the time he had to defend himself, and sometimes questions were not even remotely polite, Harald was a great help in such cases. And even then Jürgen was still able to smile.
It may sound strange, but he’s as unreachable now as he was ten years ago. I can’t even claim to know him well. One journalist called him “The Alien”, and I understand why. Six years of friendship, two years of working together and he’s still an enigma to
me. I know that he sees me as his friend and sometimes it seems this is all I know about the man I love.
- Are you taking Daniela to Sardinia with you?
- No. I’d prefer to concentrate on work.
- Good. I’m leaving Debbie home too.
I never had any fantasies about him. I’m a practical man, and I’m clever enough to
know that when you think about someone else while you’re in bed with your wife it
can lead to problems. And if I’m completely honest, I’ll admit that I couldn’t bring myself to fantasize about Jürgen. It just seemed wrong, about as wrong as harassing
him in real life. It doesn’t mean that I don’t want him. I do.
Sometimes I have to fight for control, when he embraces me for example and I have to remind myself to let him go instead of holding him in my arms as close to me as possible, as long as he allows me to. But sometimes I think that he won’t notice anything anyway unless I kiss him in front of the whole stadium, with all the cameras broadcasting it live for the World to see.
But I would never do such thing.
I’m glad that Jürgen has no idea about my feelings for him, just because I will never want to be the one to hurt him. And he will be hurt – knowing that his friend is suffering
because he was foolish enough to fall in love with him, and knowing that he can’t do
anything to help… No, it’s enough that I’m quietly going mad because I need him, and I can’t have him, and there can be nothing between us, and there will be nothing between us, and it hurts so much…
It just hurts.
And there is Daniela too. Poor Daniela, who doesn’t know, doesn’t even suspect that her husband is untrue to her for six years already, if only in his thoughts. Poor Daniela. She doesn’t know that I love another, and I hope she won’t know. I’m doing my best to pretend that everything is the same between us, but it’s harder to do with
every passing day. Maybe it’s not worth it anymore.
- I’ve decided, Jogi. I don’t want to continue anymore. Let me congratulate you, Herr
No. Please, God, no…
This was a price I had to pay for losing my connection with reality. I started taking too many things for granted. His presence. His smile. His phone calls right after his plane has landed in Los Angeles or Frankfurt, just to tell that he has arrived safely. His laughter. His enthusiasm. His voice. These two years he was so near, he was always with me, and now it’s gone, everything is gone, and I’m alone again. I don’t know what will be now. Rare phone calls, when – if – he has time and desire to talk to me, even more rare meetings, and I miss him already, and I know that it won’t get better.
- You sound tired. Is something wrong?
- Everything’s fine, don’t worry. Just the same problems every coach has. Are you in
- No, and it’s not even in plans. Just wanted to wish you luck before the match. Call me
after the game if you have time.
I won’t. I don’t want to disturb you. I don’t want to hear your wife’s voice on the phone, or your son’s. I’ll be waiting for your call – and it was only the third in almost
two months. I’ll be waiting till you remember again that I exist. But I’ll never call first. Because I’m afraid that I can’t trust myself anymore, and I’m afraid that I won’t be able to keep my secret. I don’t know what I will answer if I hear you say “hello”…
I've just got to let you know…
'Cause I wonder where you are
And I wonder what you do
Are you somewhere feeling lonely,
Or is someone loving you?
Tell me how to win your heart
For I haven't got a clue
But let me start by saying
I love you
More author’s notes: well, there is a question I would like to ask. The first idea was to write 3 or 4 POVs and finish on it, but now I can see the big story starting right where “Hello” ends and I even know what next three chapters will be about. So, the question – will anyone be reading it? And I can’t promise that my English will get any better. I’ll be writing the story anyway ;), but if someone is going to be reading this I’ll try to write faster.
; Music:Lionel Richie - Hello
Summary: Say everything you want to say or don't say anything at all
Author's notes, previous chapters and music here
He came earlier, like he always did when they were meeting somewhere in town. It was his guilty pleasure – to watch Jürgen enter the half-lit hall of the restaurant, watch him
look around, searching the crowd, and see the smile appear on his face when he finally notices the man waiting for him. That bright, blinding smile that always made his heart stop for a second. This moment was worth spending forty minutes alone at the table with nothing to do but think, and no matter how many times he swore to himself to come at least twenty minutes late next time, here he was again, waiting and watching and calling himself a fool and catching his breath, blinded by this smile he loved.
Today the restaurant was crowded. Jürgen shook his hand, still smiling, took his seat.
“Good evening, Herr Bundestrainer.”
“Good evening, oh my respected predecessor.” They both laughed. “California works wonders on you, you look much better than in July. How is the ocean?”
“Wet. How is your existence in the land of Bild Zeitung?”
“I haven’t lost a match yet, so they have nothing to write so far”. The waiter was
moving soundlessly, putting the plates on the table, opening the wine. “Now tell me, is it USA or African country?”
Jürgen made a face.
“Who told you I’m planning to coach again?”
“You did. I’ve heard it myself, ‘I may come back in 2010’, that’s what you said and it was only three days ago.”
“I’ve never said such a thing! I said I may eventually return to football, and it may happen before the next World Cup, that’s all.”
He didn’t even try to hold back a smile. “Different words, same meaning. So, is it USA
“As of now, it’s neither USA nor any other country. I’m still persisting on my right to have a half year vacation.” Jürgen lifted his glass. „To your victory in 2008.“
“Isn’t it a bit early to drink for this?” But he lifted his glass too. The wine was good.
“You will win, Jogi”, Jürgen’s voice was quiet and sure. “There is no question about it. You will win.”
“Don’t you regret your decision?”
“No! No, no and no!” It hurt a little to hear this, and maybe Jürgen saw it in his face
because he continued hastily. “Sure, I miss you standing near me, and I miss Andi’s jokes and I even miss hip-hop a little”, they both laughed again remembering the
music in the bus, “But I’m glad that it’s over and my main problem now is how to
bring children to school in time.”
“How is Jonathan at school?”
“Better than I was at his age anyway,” Jürgen’s smile was almost childlike. “I’ve had too much wind in my head when I was ten.”
It was good – to sit here together, to talk and share jokes and laugh. He missed it, how he missed it – this closeness, this easy conversation, these smiles. He was even ready to talk about Jürgen’s family, even about his wife, if it meant hearing his voice, seeing him so near, so near…
“Do you like your new work?”
“I do”, he answered and it wasn’t exactly a lie. It was great to work with this team. They all were friends, almost a family after these five weeks of living together through the euphoria and devastation and euphoria again. And it was amazing – to think what
can happen in the future, what they all may achieve just in two years.
But sometimes – just sometimes – he wished he still was a club coach, still had this crazy marathon of regular season with English weeks and cup matches and international tournaments to take his mind off the things that were and always will be out of his reach. Now he had too much free time. Just too much time to think about blue eyes and casual touches and smiles and his dreams and this man who was now sitting before him and tomorrow will be so far away again…