World news – Details, teamwork, reports: How Andreas Schlumberger helps the injured LFC players


Sam Williams

@ SamWilIiams

« I always say we’re a bit like detectives … »

Dr. Andreas Schlumberger uses this descriptive analogy to outline some of the “little details” his job revolves around.

« … we communicate with the players, we make assessments, we have a lot of data about the players and we always try to make the right decisions on an individual basis. « 

Schlumberger is Liverpool’s Director of Recreation and Performance and the latest addition to Jürgen Klopp’s staff in the back room.

He used to be a member of clubs like Bayern Munich , Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach and moved from Schalke 04 to the Reds at the turn of the year. In what he sees as the most challenging season of his career so far. « On the one hand, I am working on optimizing the rehabilitation process, and I also work practically with the medical team behind the rehabilitation, » Schlumbergers begins more broadly Overview of his role in a recent conversation with

« On the other hand, ‘recovery and performance’ means supporting the sports scientists, the fitness coaches and also looking at the players who return from injury: how their rehab progresses, how they are reintegrated when they are ready, be back in team training and so on.

“I would say these are the main tasks I have. The processes in these areas were already first class at Liverpool FC, so I support them and offer a new perspective based on my own experience. “

 » My interest in rehabilitation started when I was an amateur player with a serious ankle injury when I was 21. It was 1988 and I wasn’t getting optimal rehabilitation because these were different times and I wasn’t a professional player, « he recalls.

“I had a bad rehabilitation result, which meant that I had to end my football career. This was a great motivation for me to learn more about it and to try to influence my professional career, how injured players can be optimally rehabilitated. ”

This was followed by a degree in sports science and medicine at the University of Frankfurt, where he studied alongside Klopp before working for over a decade in a renowned rehabilitation clinic for top athletes near Munich.

The part-time roles at the German The association and FC Nürnberg coincided with Schlumberger’s time in Bavaria, which ended when he received a call from a former classmate who had been in a transformative leadership role some 400 miles north for three years.

« I have been with him for four years worked in Dortmund, and when we got in touch at the end of last year, we talked about the possibility of working together here [and] finding solutions how I can be integrated so that it makes sense to the staff in the back room of Liverpool FC.

« At the same time it was clear that I would be free, so it was the right time to start working here. »

Schlumbergers daily e Work at the AXA Training Center is usually divided into two main areas: rehabilitation and team training.

For example, if the group meeting is to start at 4 p.m. that day, Schlumberger’s morning begins with meetings with members of the football and sports science departments on the topic Rehabilitation before the injured players arrive to continue their respective programs.

Later, in the early afternoon, Schlumberger will attend preparatory meetings with coaches and medical staff as the level of involvement of each player in the upcoming session is determined.

“There may be some players doing some individual things in the pre-activation while team training is in progress, and so on. This is the typical day: half of the day is rehab and the other half is all about team training. « 

Close cooperation with the teams led by Lee Nobes and Andreas Kornmayer – physiotherapy and fitness – is of crucial importance.

 » In Lee’s department there are all rehab physiotherapists and also Dave Rydings, the rehab -Fitness trainer. All meetings, all practical planning, the decisions “return to the game” or “return to training” – here I have a close relationship with Lee and his department, ”explains Schlumberger.

“ That means we plan the practical training Day after day and we also put together long-term plans for each player, so that a very intensive cooperation arises.

“On the other hand, we plan a lot with Andreas and the fitness department about individual programs, especially about what the players should do before training doing in the gym and whether we need to change the load for you – especially if you come back from an injury.

« That means we’re talking about individual load management. That is what Andreas and his department do a lot, and I also try to make a contribution in this area from my point of view. “

Injured players who recover in all possible periods of time get Schlumberger’s attention, and he also values ​​building personal relationships with each other – which is especially important in times of rehabilitation programs being completed outside of Kirkby can.

« Obviously, the intensity of the work is a little more focused on the long-term injured players because you have to observe a lot more.

 » On the other hand, with short-term injuries there is a great risk of underestimating things. So it’s also important to contribute to the discussions and decisions about it, as a day too early or too late makes a huge difference to the team [and] for the risk of re-injury.

« I’ve been here for a few months now here and try, like the doctors and the physiotherapists, to always be in contact with the players. about how they feel, about their mood.

“The first few days after the injury are very important and I don’t just know that because I have experience with injured players. I myself suffered serious injuries as an amateur soccer player, so it is very important that you develop that feeling for the players as early as possible. « 

A central aspect of Schlumberger’s role is to support the Liverpool » Return to Training « protocol, which determines when a player is ready to fully participate in meetings with his teammates again.

 » First, I have to say that before I moved to Liverpool FC we were already at a very, very good level in terms of these processes and decisions, « he explains.

 » But the challenges of bringing players back are so big, someone like me Having on the team is an attempt to improve and have another man who looks at these things from a different perspective.

“In terms of the way we make decisions, this is it a long-term process as it starts rehab in the first few days after the first injury, this is at an excellent level at Liverpool FC, with daily assessments and then with assessments after weeks or months of the physical condition nd, about the injury and so on.

« Then we go on with a very clear load management and watch how the player is progressing [and] then at the end of the rehab we obviously do a lot of » return to play « – Testing. But not only at the end do we spend a day or two deciding together whether the player is available for team training or not. It’s the whole process.

« It’s also my job to get a feel for the player, for the load management data, for the rating data, by looking at the importance of this whole process, by looking at that on a daily basis and have daily meetings like I told you before, so this is a very, very long-term process that will then be completed in a day or two where you have to make the final decision.

« I always say, that we’re going to review all things to make sure we’re making the right decision, and then the big team – with the doctors, with the physiotherapists, with the fitness trainers, with the sports scientists, and also with me – will come together to come up with the best possible plans doing what to do in the first few days of reintegration. ”Of course, this process had to be tough in a season of unprecedented injuries Claimed.

It is difficult for Schlumberger to identify the factors behind this increase as he has only been in the Premier League for a few months. However, he adds: « Of course I worked in the German Bundesliga before and the problems or challenges are more or less the same.

 » Since the beginning of the coronavirus phase in March last year, I have been in contact with many international colleagues – such as Andreas Kornmayer – because we all had great challenges.

“But the time frames were different. In Germany we only had a six-week break before restarting in May, so things were different. I think in the Premier League and in England the challenge was even more difficult because of the longer off-season. To be honest, it is very difficult to judge what this means.

“Obviously it is clear that this season is the biggest challenge [of my career] but it is similar to the challenge we are facing with the team Have rehab: On the one hand, you always want to prepare the players as well as possible to have a good charge capacity in order to have charge reserves, but on the other hand it has to be safe. You can’t do too much as the risk of injury increases and it’s not easy.

“I think the schedule doesn’t always make it that easy, but I think what’s really missing is the preseason. That’s the challenge. Every team wants to have the preseason to build physical skills, prepare tactically, and so on. This is an important part of the season for any team. Not having that is different.

“Without preseason it is more difficult to get the player into the typical rhythm of training and games. The lack of a typical rhythm at the beginning of the season is one thing that later affects an injured player.

“On the other hand, when I look at it from my perspective of individual load management during the week, ie in training sessions [and] for planning games etc., this is no different from other years, I would say: because we have to look at the little details every day. “

When Schlumberger arrived at the club, Klopp explained the decision to recruit his former Dortmund colleague as » absolutely sensible « .

 » It has nothing really to do with me personally. Yes, we know each other, but that has nothing to do with it. For me it was a chance for the club to win an outstanding person with an incredible knowledge of very important things in football. And that’s why he’s here, « continued the boss.

Schlumberger reveals meanwhile, that he always saw the idea of ​​seeing Klopp as positive.

« When he first moved to Liverpool, I was with Bayern Munich, so it wasn’t time to think too hard about it [working together again]. because I had another job. But I always thought about when the time was right to work together again, « he says.

 » As a team manager, everyone knows that they like to have specialists close by, who they think they are enough quality for the goals of the club in which he works to fully trust these specialists because he knows they are professionals in their roles. That’s what I really appreciate about working with him.

“In terms of practical work, it was similar in Dortmund to here. We don’t have too much contact during the day because everyone has their own role and as long as the work is going in the right direction, you don’t have to discuss it every day. That’s what I like, always having great support with the things you do.

« This is so important if you want to work efficiently, effectively, and make progress. » I like that very much about working with him and that was also a reason to think about when we could work together again in the future. « 

Schlumberger has settled into the life of Liverpudlian quickly too, and looks forward to seeing both Anfield and the city in general once the ban is lifted.

 » I’m really enjoying it. I have to don’t tell you what a big club they are! « he closes.

 » Unfortunately it is difficult to get to Liverpool in times of the coronavirus and there is a lockdown because there are no supporters at the games and you can’t feel in the city what life would be like around the games. « 

 » I assume that there will be a lot of fans in the city in the day or two before the game, and me live in the city center. These are all things I expected to happen in Liverpool, but in fact, the lockdown has made it impossible to have that feeling.

« I haven’t seen Melwood, just the AXA Training Center which is amazing. I am very happy and really appreciate being able to work here. « 


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