By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

Funkel speaks of "rekindled fire" to contribute to Lautern

After leading his new squad's first training session this afternoon, legendary German football trainer Friedhelm Funkel was formally introduced as 1. FC Kaiserslautern's new head-coach at an early evening presser.

The formal rollout took place later than expected as the 70-year-old was mobbed by hundreds (some sources say at least 1000) local Lautern fans hoping to catch a glimpse of their former player and potential new savior. 

After all of the handshake and autograph requests had been fulfilled, Funkel spoke on a variety of topics. The former Lautern player noted he wished to make a contribution to one of Germany's great historic clubs. 

Funkel called the FCK fans the "club's greatest asset" and declared himself happy to participate in public training sessions. For the newly-appointed gaffer also made it clear that remaining in the league - and not the DFB-Pokal semi-final - remained the priority. 
The decision to once again return to the touchline after an absence of nearly three years was, in the words of newly confirmed 1. FC Kaiserslautern trainer Friedhelm Funkel, not an especially difficult one. The 70-year-old noted that - even though his age brings with it it's limitations - he knew had felt the desire to once again coach return to him.

"After attending some more matches in the top two divisions and doing some punditry work, I felt the fire had been rekindled," Funkel remarked at an early evening Wednesday presser atop the Betzenberg, "I wanted to coach a team again. When the request came from FCK, I didn't have to think twice."

"FCK is a special club with special fans," Funkel continued,  "I sensed that 40 years ago [as a player] and you could see it in the last few games. The people here in the region love the club. It's a duty for the team to give something back to the fans. I want to make my contribution to this."

Funkel called the FCK fans the "club's greatest asset" and announced that all further training sessions would be open to the public. In order for the team to avoid relegation back to the third division, Funkel called it "essential that the team perform better at home".

"We have to bring more fire to the pitch," Funkel noted, "I will listen to the players and have lots of conversations. We have fast players, players who complement each other well, and players who can be dangerous on set pieces. I have to find the right mix."

Funkel conveyed that there was much that he had to think on. A top priority concerns the fact that Lautern have conceded the most goals in the 2. Bundesliga. The upcoming DFB-Pokal semi-final, on the other hand, was something that Funkel - true to form - insisted was on the back burner.

"I'm not interested [in the Pokal] at the moment," Funkel said, "I didn't even think about it yesterday when speaking [to FCK managing director Thomas Hengen about the position]. I'm focused on staying in the second division. I'll talk about that match later and don't want the boys thinking about it."

When it came to the fans, the legend was unequivocal about his duty. Having last played for Lautern in 1983, Funkel smiled whilst noting "it's nice when people haven't forgotten about you after 40 years." Funkel once netted a brace against Real Madrid in 1982 European Cup tie at the Fritz Walter Stadion.

"The majority of training sessions will be open to the public," Funkel said, "I think we have to give the fans the opportunity to see the lads. I think it took me 20 minutes to get here just now. That's what I always say to the las: it's a pleasure when you can make people happy with an autograph.

"Where else can you do that?" he continued, "It's so great. I'll even stand there for an hour to make the fans happy. I can't stand it when players walk past fans who want an autograph. We have this responsibility."

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