Cheated France at the 1998 World Cup

Lactate value determines frequency

Team doctor Ernst Schopp has been working for the ÖFB since 1983 and has been the national team's "medicine man" since 1990.

In preparation for the European Championships, the Viennese - without being in the public eye - are taking center stage. During training, the team players always have to wear heart rate monitors, the subsequent evaluation then determines the further individual program.

One goal, different paths
On the second day of the ÖFB training camp in Sardinia, there were three different team groups. Martin Hiden and Franz Schiemer had to regenerate in the morning.

"Your blood values ​​have shown that too much stress would be bad, otherwise you 'take them off'. You react beforehand so that this overload does not happen," explained Schopp, why the duo had to do their own running training.

Sebastian Prödl, Ronald Gercaliu, Christoph Leitgeb and Marc Janko were also given special care in a small group. "We react to increases in frequency and blood chemistry levels. When players get tired, it's too late. Our job is to reach a perfect level, and you have to pay attention to the individual thresholds," said Schopp about the ÖFB quartet .

The clock writes
The rest were also sweated a lot by fitness coach Roger Spry. In the end, all national players had to give their heart rate monitors to the team doctor. "We evaluate this data and then we know the intensity up to which the players are resilient. What is the performance of the player without oxygen?", Said Schopp.

"If you will, we 'record' everything with a heart rate monitor. Before the 1998 World Cup in France, they gave up a few players and said they didn't know why there was nothing on them. Today everything has gotten much better. There are no more tricks to avoid these tests. I can say with confidence that the cooperation with the players is very good, "said the doctor.

Ready for EM at the right time
"We will take further steps to be ready for EM at the right time. Heart rate, kilometers and speed are measured every second, and then you always know the exact training status. If you will, it's like 'Big brother is watching you ', it used to be very different, "says Schopp, describing the medical supervision.

Has upholstery been cheating?
The gentleman doctor with a practice in Neufeld in Burgenland did not want to mention anyone who stood out as a heart rate monitor "swindler" before the '98 World Cup, but there was a clear indication: "Today he works in the journalistic field."

Record team scorer Toni Polster, who is now a TV expert and has his own newspaper column, was not the only thing to think of with bad tongues.

By Christian Tragschitz,, from Sardinia