100 Things You Should Know About Daimler | #13

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A colleague from the truck workshop is the bus driver of Stuttgart’s soccer team

Soccer not only brings together players with fans but also Daimler with the VfB Stuttgart soccer club. Some of these links are obvious: One example is the fact that the home of VfB used to be called the Gottlieb Daimler Stadium and is now known as the Mercedes-Benz Arena. Another example is that the VfB’s games are played in close proximity to the Daimler Headquarters and the Mercedes-Benz Plant in Stuttgart-Untertürkheim. Many people also know that Mercedes-Benz Bank is the main sponsor of VfB and that the Mercedes star adorns the jerseys of the players. However, there are also links that are less obvious, such as those of Jürgen Dispan.

VfB Stuttgart and Mercedes — Jürgen Dispan was always fascinated by both, right from his childhood. So it’s not really surprising that he was drawn to the three-pointed star professionally too. It was in 1983: Jürgen Dispan started his professional life with an apprenticeship as a motor vehicle technician at the Mercedes sales and service outlet in Stuttgart. He then worked at the site for several years, making the step up to foreman after seven years. His specialist subject: major assembly repair. Anyone who came into the company-owned sales and service outlet with engine or transmission damage was taken care of by Jürgen Dispan and his team.

From time to time he also worked in the outlet together with colleagues from Truck Development in Untertürkheim. And that is how it came about that, one day, he was asked if he could imagine moving to Truck Development. After more than 25 years Dispan left the outlet and became head of the workshop within the Transmission Development department.

Soccer is clearly a connecting element here as well. On Monday mornings, the main topics in Jürgen Dispan’s workshop are the Bundesliga (German Soccer League) and especially the performances of the local club, VfB Stuttgart. And practically all of his colleagues know about Dispan’s sideline as driver of the team bus for the VfB soccer team. He never actively applied to become the driver. As with his current job at the workshop, it was his network and good customer contacts from the sales and service outlet that opened the door for him over twenty years ago.

Everyone coming to Jürgen Dispan’s office will have no doubt which soccer club he supports – it’s VfB Stuttgart, playing in the German Bundesliga.
Everyone coming to Jürgen Dispan’s office will have no doubt which soccer club he supports – it’s VfB Stuttgart, playing in the German Bundesliga.

Jürgen Dispan could talk for hours about VfB, and he has seen hundreds of players come and go, not to mention a manager or two. He got on particularly well with ex-manager Armin Veh, for instance, under whom VfB won the German championship in 2007.

Dispan’s most important role on match day is making sure that the team arrives at the stadium safely and on time. He says that the latter has become more and more difficult in recent years, on the one hand due to the traffic, on the other because of emotional fans. It’s essential to stay calm in such situations: “This is where my strong nerves come in handy,” says Dispan.

Dispan has become an established part of the VfB team over the years. He even usually sits next to the substitutes’ bench in the stadium during away games. For many players he is not just the driver who takes the team to the stadium safely; he has become a confidant and a good listener. What does he want from next season? Dispan laughs: “I don’t want us having anything to do with relegation; I want to see us in the middle of the league.” Whether this wish will come true is written in the stars. But one thing is certain: in the coming season Jürgen Dispan will continue to ensure that his favorite team arrives at the stadium in time.

Jürgen Dispan’s job at Daimler is all about trucks, but his second occupation is all about this particular Mercedes-Benz Travego.
Jürgen Dispan’s job at Daimler is all about trucks, but his second occupation is all about this particular Mercedes-Benz Travego.

By the way: From time to time, Jürgen Dispan shares some of his experiences as driver of the VfB team bus on Instagram. His account there has a very fitting name: @travego1893.

In this column we present interesting, odd or generally unknown facts from the world of Daimler. We publish a new episode of “100 Things You Should Know About Daimler” every 14 days.

Maximiliane Stelzer

spent her childhood close to the home of the SC Freiburg soccer club. She now lives in Stuttgart and says: May the best team win.

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