Otto Mink

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Otto Mink
birthday October 21, 1892
place of birth HechingenGerman Empire
date of death April 19, 1949
Place of death OranienburgGermany
Years station
until 1910 FG Hechingen
Years station Games (goals) 1
1910-1919 VfR Mannheim
1919-1924 Tennis Borussia Berlin
Stations as a trainer
Years station
1924-1926 Tennis Borussia Berlin
1926-1936 Germany
1 Only league games are given.

Otto Nerz (born October 21, 1892 in Hechingen , Hohenzollernsche Lande ; † April 19, 1949 in special camp No. 7 Sachsenhausen , Oranienburg ) was a German football player and first Reich coach of the German Football Association .


Nerz grew up as the son of a farmer and general cargo dealer with eleven siblings in Hechingen in southwest Germany in poor conditions. Despite the difficult circumstances, he was able to attend high school. Before the First World War , he completed a degree in pedagogy , and during the war he was employed as a field doctor . From 1919 Nerz worked in Berlin as a primary school teacher and in 1920 began studying sports at the University of Physical Education , which he graduated with a diploma in 1925. He also studied medicine and received his doctorate in 1935.

His football career began at FG Hechingen, after the family moved to Mannheim , Nerz played for VfR Mannheim from 1910 to 1919 . In addition to his work as a teacher, he wore the colors of Tennis Borussia Berlin from 1919 to 1924 . As an active soccer player, Mink, who usually played as an outside runner, had no particular success. After the end of his active time, he worked from 1924 to 1926 as a coach at Tennis Borussia.

The German national soccer team was considered to be third class until the mid-1920s. The German Football Association (DFB) wanted to build a successful national team for the 1928 Olympic football tournament, and on July 1, 1926, Otto Nerz, a full-time "Reich trainer", was hired for the first time at the instigation of DFB President Felix Linnemann . Nerz had already made a name for himself as a football expert and tactician. In his first game as coach of the national team, he got off to a good start on October 31, 1926 in a 3-2 away win against the Netherlands. The hopes for a good result at the Olympic Games in 1928 were not fulfilled, however, Germany was eliminated in the second round after a 1: 4 against the eventual Olympic champion Uruguay , the world's best team of that era.

Nerz quickly recognized the weaknesses of the national team and introduced some innovations. So he took over the successful so-called World Cup system from the English team, which he had observed several times , invited the national players to courses and prescribed them a tough physical training. Despite the difficulty that top German football was spread over countless regional leagues with around 500 "first division" teams - with the introduction of the 16 Gauligen in 1933 with around 160 teams, the situation improved only insignificantly - Nerz expanded the national team and managed new talents to, such as B. Ernst Kuzorra , Fritz Szepan or Paul Janes . His work already paid off in 1929 when the national team remained undefeated with four wins and one draw.

When the National Socialists came to power, Nerz reoriented itself politically. He had been a member of the SPD from 1919 to 1933 , joined the SA in 1933 after the change of power and the NSDAP in 1937 . Although he said he was “internally politically disinterested” ( Fußball-Weltzeitschrift 1993 No. 20), after having worked as a Reich trainer as a columnist for a Berlin newspaper, he revealed his anti-Semitic stance, which fits in with the system, in anti-Semitic articles such as “Europe Free Sports vom Judentum ”from 1943.

In terms of sport, Nerz was also able to come to terms with the National Socialists, as they wanted to use the national soccer team as a propaganda tool. He was now subordinate to the National Socialist Football Department , which saw its task in using football to demonstrate the superiority of the German race. Nerz was able to partially fulfill this hope at the World Cup in 1934 , with 3rd place (3: 2 over Austria) the national team achieved their greatest success to date. In preparation for the soccer tournament of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, the specialist office set a record number of 17 international matches in 1935. 13 of them were won, only the matches with Spain (1: 2), Sweden (1: 3) and England (0: 3) were lost. The German national team went into the Olympic tournament as one of the favorites. After a slight 9-0 win over Luxembourg, Norway were the next opponent in the knockout system. With a view to the more difficult tasks that followed, Nerz received instructions from the head of the department, Felix Linnemann, to take care of the team’s top performers. Thereupon Nerz let a team with numerous reserve players accumulate. Under the eyes of Adolf Hitler, who was not interested in football, Germany lost 2-0. This defeat, with which Germany was eliminated from the tournament, became a political issue, Nerz was given a forced leave of absence from the specialist office and his assistant Sepp Herberger took over the duties of Reich coach at the next international match against Poland on September 13, 1936. On September 27, 1936 in the game against Czechoslovakia in Prague, Nerz was back on the bench and Herberger was responsible for the game against Luxembourg that took place on the same day, in which four players made their international debut and fewer regulars were in action than against Czechoslovakia.

On November 2, 1936, Herberger was finally appointed Reichstrainer and Nerz was appointed "Referent for the national team". Not only did Nerz work with Herberger, but also remained his manager until immediately before the 1938 World Cup . Mink held the post until May 1938, when he was most recently referred to and valued as the “head of the German national team” in the specialist press. Shortly before, he had taken on a professorship at the German University of Physical Culture and became its director. He published several sports science publications. After the end of the Second World War, Nerz was arrested by the Red Army in July 1945 and taken to special camp No. 3 in Berlin-Hohenschönhausen . From there he was transported to special camp No. 7 in Sachsenhausen on October 16, 1946 , where he died of meningitis on April 19, 1949 .

Balance as Reich trainer

  • 75 caps
  • 44 wins
  • 11 draws
  • 20 losses
  • 204: 124 goals


  • Gerhard Fischer, Ulrich Lindner, strikers for Hitler. On the interplay between football and National Socialism . Verlag die Werkstatt, Göttingen 2002, pp. 83 ff, ISBN 3-89533-241-0 .
  • Munzinger Archive / International Sports Archive 14/03

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Herberger's international match statistics corrected. In: German Football Association , April 17, 2019, accessed on April 18, 2019 .
  2. Anton Kehl ( Ed. ): "I was an obsessive man ..." "... one who was out after the last time." Sepp Herberger in pictures and documents , Paul List Verlag , Munich 1997, ISBN 3-471-79346-1 , P. 14 and 15
  3. Kicker Edition : 100 Years of the German National Games , Olympia-Verlag , Nuremberg 2008, p. 96
  4. Football Week of May 31, 1938, page 12: "Farewell to a controversial man: Prof. Dr Nerz resigned"
  5. ibid., Page 13: "It would be extremely ungrateful to try to trivialize the merits of this headstrong man". In the same article, Herberger, “one of the most successful students of Dr. Mink ”, named as the successor.
  6. according to Munzinger February 26, 1949