Former Borussia Dortmund player Mustafa Amini has revealed the tough training methods of his former coach David Wagner, including 4am starts and running up and down hills for 90 minutes.
Australia international Amini was on the books of Dortmund from 2011 to 2015, although he never made a first team appearance, instead playing for the second team under the management of Wagner, now head coach at Schalke.
Amini, who now plays for Danish club Aarhus GF, said he initially struggled to adapt to Wagner's high-intensity training methods, but they ultimately made him a better footballer.
Speaking exclusively to Goal and SPOX, Amini said: “He was very strict and made sure he got what he wanted. I still remember how we lost a friendly game against a fourth or fifth division team. The next morning we had to be at the training ground at 4 am.
“We were running uphill with medicine balls for an hour and a half. This shows the ruthlessness of German football.
“In one of my first matches for the second team against Munster I came in, made a mistake, we lost the game at the end and Wagner was screaming at me on the pitch.
“The next day he said that it might be hard for me because I am Australian and not used to the German culture. But I stayed and asserted myself in the third year.”
While Amini never played for the Dortmund first team after joining from A-League club Central Coast Mariners in 2011, he did come into contact with former manager Jurgen Klopp, now in charge of Premier League champions Liverpool.
The central midfielder is full of praise for Klopp's man-management abilities, which he said were more personal than any other coaching methods he has come across.
Amini said: “The first time I met him was in the changing room. I remember how he shook Dede’s hand as if they were best friends. I have never seen a coach doing this. Usually they are serious and distant. He always used to give hugs to the players.
“One day he asked me to come into his office. We sat there for more than an hour and talked about football and life in general. For a coach of his standard that was unusual, but it shows what type of person he actually is.”
Comparing Klopp and Wagner, Amini said there was plenty to admire in both men, and they both brought out the best in their players.
He said: “With both coaches the players give their absolute maximum. They are nice, but they are not easy. If they do not get what they want, you will know about it for sure. They are always honest with you, while some coaches lack that honesty.”