A LABOUR

OF LOVE

Champions League calibre on and off the pitch

"My dream job certainly isn't for everyone. Our pros are in high demand: Bundesliga, DFB Cup, Champions League, national teams. That's a lot to juggle, and we're right there with them." Thomas Zetzmann was already very familiar with what it means to be a physiotherapist when he joined BVB in 2007. He himself had once played for BVB's U17 team. Today, he is one of our most experienced staff members working with the senior team.
 
"Flexibility and professionalism is the name of the game. There are four of us physios on the team, and we're always at the ready at every training session and on every trip to provide the players with the best possible care." The club's doctors, fitness coaches, rehab specialists and physios have a team meeting at 8 a.m. on every day of training. Every player is discussed individually and their status relayed to the coaches prior to the start of training, allowing the coaches to optimally plan the training sessions for each player.
 
"Here you have to be a team player and check your ego at the door." Minor issues are often resolved by the staff before they turn into larger problems that the coaches then have to address. "You say what needs to be said. We keep an eye on everything. Teamwork and success are what count. We know that we're not alone if we ever have to have a straight talk with the lads."
 
But the focus remains crystal clear: "If the players are injured, our job is to rehab them as quickly as possible so that they can rejoin the team. We don't do magic. There are detailed injury protocols and timetables that we follow to the letter. We regularly attend professional development courses and share what we have learned with our colleagues. The specialists at the league's top clubs also play at a Champions League level in their areas of specialisation. You have to radiate self-confidence, because trust between the players and the physios is crucial."
 
Being able to role with the punches is also key: "When we travel for Champions League matches, night turns into day. When the final whistle blows, we hustle back to the hotel for a quick meal before providing acute follow-up care, quite often into the early morning hours. After that you're toast." What about your own fitness? "Not to worry – when you're with the players every day, you want to be able to keep up. We're given that opportunity."