Stuttgart – It had been clear for two and a half months that the personalized life insurance of the TVB Stuttgart would continue to stand for the handball Bundesliga club between the posts. Because by April 1, Johannes “Jogi” Bitter (37) could have terminated his contract, which runs until 2021. But he didn’t. With the public announcement, trainer and managing director Jürgen Schweikardt still waited until Thursday. “We only wanted a little more clarity as to how things will continue due to the Corona crisis and also wait for the second goalkeeper position to be filled,” Schweikardt explained the delayed tactic.
Read here: Jogi Bitter talks about his start-up
The season is now set to start in early October – and in Primoz Prost (36) Bitters partner has been chosen. “We found an outstanding sporting solution and financially a viable option,” said Schweikardt.
25 to 50 percent waiver of salary
The team was involved in the personnel decisions. That means: This prominent goalkeeper duo can only be financed through a corresponding waiver of salaries by everyone in the club. How high it was, remains open and is not regulated uniformly. “There are individual solutions in every club,” said Bitter in his role as a representative of the players’ union, Goal. According to our information, the range in terms of salary reduction in the handball Bundesliga is between 25 and 50 percent.
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The fact that Prost was ready to cut back is not only due to the corona pandemic. The move to Stuttgart is associated with amenities for the former Slovenian national keeper. After the already fixed move to the Swiss top club St. Otmar St. Gallen had broken down a year ago due to internal turbulence, the 36-year-old signed a four-year contract with the third division club Wilhelmshavener HV. Prost nevertheless kept his house in Rechberghausen near Göppingen. Since his wife and three children did not become at home in the far north and absolutely wanted to go back south, he canceled his contract. “The engagement in Stuttgart is a stroke of luck for me. I’m really looking forward to the new task, ”says Prost, who played for Frisch Auf Göppingen from 2013 to 2019 and won the EHF Cup with the green-whites in 2016 and 2017.
Read here: Sascha Vorontsov – the mentor of Jogi Bitter
Due to the signing of Prost, Nick Lehmann will switch to the second division club SG BBM Bietigheim for two years. The 21-year-old goalkeeper retains a second game right for the TVB Stuttgart. “Nick is a young keeper from our own stable, he now gets the necessary game practice and is promoted in the second division,” said Schweikardt.
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With the experienced new goalkeeper duo, the TVB is well positioned – provided both stay fit. The 2.05-meter giant Bitter is pinched in the back from time to time, the 1.86-meter-tall cheers bring with previous damage to the knee, which is why he also ended his career in the Slovenian national team. “We know about the history, but injuries can also happen to younger players,” said Schweikardt, adding with regard to the age structure of the squad: “Apart from the goalkeepers, we have a relatively young and still relatively inexperienced team.”
Read here: Frisch Auf Göppingen – title, dreams, tradition
Preparation starts on July 6th. Schweikardt did not want to commit to a specific season goal yet. “With four relegations, the first goal must be to ensure that the class remains as early as possible, then you can set new goals,” says the 40-year-old. On the other hand, what Jogi Bitter personally strives for in addition to success with the TVB is clear: he hopes to participate with the German national team in the 2021 Olympic Games. “That would be a great goal,” he says – and adds: “We are facing an exciting one Year, I want to stay in focus. ”Primoz Prost will actively support him at the TVB.