As the legendary former national team trainer Sepp Herberger once said: “Nach dem Spiel ist vor dem Spiel” (after the game is before the game). One game finishes, and another arrives hot on its heels. Matchday 3 of the new season is here, and the Bundesliga coaches have been giving their pre-match thoughts.
Edin Terzic: “It’s a unique story that Heidenheim has pulled off. They started with euphoria and had a great game last week against Hoffenheim. They were able to have a lot of courage there. Stamina and physical size are among their strengths.
“We want to significantly improve our performance and also have to improve the defence. The guys were very self-critical after the game in Bochum. We are sure that we will show a different face tomorrow.
“If fans and team fight for the same things for 90 minutes, we showed last season what is possible. We know that the performance in the first games was not good and we want to send the fans home satisfied tomorrow.”
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Frank Schmidt: “According to their own statement, BVB is not satisfied with their own performance so far. But they got four points. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a point in three halves, which I was very happy with. Dortmund have now played against two teams with two different approaches. Cologne with good midfield pressing in a chain of four and Bochum with a chain of three or five. Both managed to prevent Dortmund from really being able to play their game.
“However, they still managed to get four points through individual quality. We want to do better than in Wolfsburg and, ideally, keep setting the needle. We are seen by the media as clear outsiders, but that’s the beauty of football: the game has to be played first!
“We’ve had enough chances to score goals. That’s what makes me positive. When it comes to efficiency and scoring goals, a little bit of luck is involved from time to time. It has always been like this. See Hoffenheim’s 2-2 draw against us. We’re training this week as normal with the same content as every other week.”
Xabi Alonso: “We had a clear goal: We wanted to win our first three games before the international break. So far, we have two wins, now we want to get the three points in the third game as well. We can’t make mistakes in the decisive moments tomorrow. We won’t underestimate Darmstadt and we will be full concentrated, otherwise they could be dangerous.
“We have’t reached the end of our development yet. We want to continue to improve our style of play and build a top mentality. We have to be unbreakable and stay physically and mentally strong.”
Torsten Lieberknecht: “I see a development here. After losing in the cup, we were in a position to score points in Frankfurt. Despite the result, there was another small step forward against Union Berlin. We showed against Union that we created chances to score not just a goal but more. Despite the results, we showed in both games that we are developing.
“Nevertheless, I see my team to still be in the development phase. Every player has yet to find their way in this league. We’re still looking for balance within the team, but we’re going in the right direction. It’s important for the boys to know that with the support of the Darmstadt fans we will be able to push our development forward.
“We are facing an opponent who is showing massive development. Bayer Leverkusen has a coach who was not just an outstanding footballer. It was also an absolute top move by Leverkusen to present him as head coach. Xabi Alonso has managed to be so down-to-earth as a foreign coach in the Bundesliga.
“It’s unbelievable the development he has made together with his team. That fascinates me, he fits sensationally into the Bundesliga. Leverkusen showed against Leipzig and Gladbach that things are currently running like clockwork for them. They have a strength in the team that will contribute to them competing for the title.”
Pellegrino Matarazzo: “Wolfsburg play very intensively, run a lot and stay very compact in the process. They have clear processes in attack. Niko Kovac is doing a great job because they’re performing very well. We’ll need to play to our maximum in order to win the game.
“We have quality. If we perform as a unit, are active and bring changes of tempo into our game, then we’re unpleasant for any opponent. We’ll focus on our strengths but we know that Wolfsburg are a very good opponent.
“It’s still the start of the season; the game against Wolfsburg is an important part of that. The first two games of the season had light and darkness. We want to bring consistency to our play; we’re not there yet. We’ve taken a step forward in various areas, but there’s still room for improvement.”
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Niko Kovac: “We have a tough game ahead of us now. Last season, we had two close games against TSG. The team has great potential and I am convinced that they are better than the 12th place from last year.
“Jonas Wind will participate in today’s training as usual. We consider injuries that occur in the games at the weekend, so we have spared him a bit lately.”
Ole Werner: “At the end of the day, we are all professionals and are focused on the game and our job. What’s happening outside should not have an impact and I won’t be concerned with it either, not when we are playing in front of a sold-out Weserstadion.
“It isn’t easy to deal with changes to the personnel so close to the deadline, but that is the reality which we have to deal with. It’s a tough and challenging thing to manage, but I’m ready to take it on.”
Bo Svensson: ““We need to play consistently I liked going there [Bremen] as a player. There are stadiums that are special in terms of their atmosphere, and the Weserstadion is definitely one of them. Playing there is always a great experience. We played well there last time round, but that doesn’t guarantee a result in the next game.
“I feel like everyone was on the same page [v Frankfurt]. It’s important. Obviously, it wasn’t the result we were hoping for, but the performance was good and shouldn’t be taken for granted. We need to convert the effort we are putting in to win the ball back into better solutions in our play and more goalscoring opportunities.”
Enrico Maaßen: “Both teams follow a similar approach with very intense pressing and lots of one-on-one situations. So we have to be wide awake. We saw that last year and we decided to score against opponents on equal terms. We’re playing at home, we want our first win of the season and we’ll do everything we can to achieve it.
“I think we showed character in the last two games. But now it’s all about points. We have something good planned for Saturday and we will have to bring the virtues to the pitch and play intelligently.”
Thomas Letsch: “We currently have a very high level of training. It’s extremely fun to see the boys on the pitch. We trained with 23 men today, all 23 are absolutely fit and on fire. The two fit goalkeepers are also keen on their game.
“Augsburg was in a similar position in the table table to us last year. But they have invested a lot, strengthened the squad and basically have completely different expectations than we do. It’s going to be a huge challenge that we have to face.
“In Augsburg, things usually get down to business. Augsburg is also a team that plays very actively, very aggressively and with high pressing. They take a similar approach to us. It will be a very intense game with many one-on-one duels. The last two games against Augsburg were also very intense. We must be prepared. In terms of intensity, it will be a different game than the last two games. There will be a lot of second balls, a lot of duels. We have to be the team that is better in this area.”
Sebastian Hoeneß: “They’re a solid, mature side who are very dangerous on the wings and from set plays. It’ll be up to us to keep them away from our box and cause them problems with our own game. Freiburg can be unpredictable with their different pressing methods and set pieces. We want to try and limit that on Saturday.
“I know the game is important for our fans. We want to get three points. If we manage that, we’ll have made a really good start to the season.”
Christian Streich: “I expect a very close game. There are always local duels and they are heated – but you always have to remember that we are neighbours. They’re not idiots and we’re not idiots.
“VfB plays tactically very variably, shifts, sometimes plays with four, sometimes with three at the back. We have to be good if we want to win in Stuttgart.”
Gerardo Seoane: “We were too open defensively against Leverkusen. We must be more compact and can’t offer too much room between the lines. Additionally, we have to be brave enough to defend forwards so the gaps are smaller. If we can manage to make the pitch smaller, we’ll have the chance to win more physical battles than we did against Leverkusen. We have to improve in this area. It’s the same with preventing counterattacks. If we press and are outplayed, we have to get behind the ball quicker as not to offer the opponent depth.
“FC Bayern have players of huge quality in every position. There’s a lot of talk about Harry Kane of course because of his transfer saga. He is an extremely reliable striker. He doesn’t need many chances to score – that doesn’t make him any easier to defend against. This type of player fits perfectly into Bayern’s system and is something they were previously missing.”
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Thomas Tuchel: “We don’t believe in series when they go against us. It can happen that an atmosphere doesn’t suit us. We’re going to Gladbach as favourites and want to win there. We want to build on our game against Bremen and the second half against Augsburg. We have to do our thing and continue to create lots of chances. We have to play through our principles. You always need a bit of luck, we have it in our own hands.
“Matthijs de Ligt and Thomas Müller are getting closer and closer. Your fitness increases, you could start. There will always be hardship cases. When you sign for Bayern you always have to be ready. Not everyone sitting on the bench deserves to be there.
“But you have to put your ego aside sometimes. You should push your teammates. The two are absolutely ready for the starting eleven. The squad is very small at the moment. We’re going to need everyone. We will decide after the final training who will play.”
Dino Toppmöller: “We go into every game to win it. Cologne is an extremely unpleasant opponent who makes the most intense runs in the league. 120 kilometers or more per game – we need maximum freshness and strong running players. We face a rested team. But the late equalizer in Mainz or the win against Sofia could be a booster for us.
“In the run-up to the game I will definitely have a word or two with Ellyes Skhiri. He knows the club and coach Steffen Baumgart, who pushes his team to the limit and lives football. I like that. It will be a big challenge, but we are approaching it with great confidence.
“We already have an enormous number of young and talented players on the field. But it’s important that we have a framework around them – from Trappo, Seppl, Robin and Mario, for example. A framework with certain experience, the young ones can grow well from it. Nevertheless, I take my hat off to the mental performance against Sofia, everyone knew the importance of the game. But now the full focus is on Cologne.”
Steffen Baumgart: “Frankfurt has very good individual quality, gets into the game well through deep runs, and has good changes in the team. We know what kind of quality we can expect.
“Davie Selke won’t play, Kristian Pedersen is about to move. Dominique Heintz won’t be there yet. He will only become a factor in the squad after the international break. We assume that Davie will be 100 percent back after the international break. Steffen Tigges will most likely start at the weekend. Tiggi has fully recovered from his injury. The shoulder is holding up and we are happy to have him back where we want him. He will be a very important factor for us in Frankfurt.”