As the legendary former national team trainer 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 4 is here, and the Bundesliga coaches have been giving their pre-match thoughts.
Freiburg v Bochum
Christian Streich: “The Bochum players will do everything they can to correct Sunday’s result. When you are beaten in that manner, you say to yourself ‘this won’t happen again.’ They won’t be wounded by it.
“Bochum lost a lot of players at the end of the season and that is not easy. They still have the same mentality, however.”
Yannik Keitel will come in to the side to replace the injured Maxi Eggestein with Streich confident he can fill in seamlessly. “Yannik has trained well and is in fine fettle. He works hard and I want him to have the opportunity to have a good game. He deserves it. I am very much looking forward to seeing him on the pitch.”
On the last win over Stuttgart there were areas to improve on: “We lost the ball cheaply and it nearly cost us on a couple of occasions. There were also some things out of possession that we didn’t do very well. It’s been a short training week, but we have spoken about the things we need to do ahead of Bochum.”
Thomas Reis: “I’m glad that we have our next match on Friday. We know that we were performing quite poorly against Bayern. In the future we want to show a different face. I am convinced that we have to stay confident and to focus on ourselves. For sure, we didn’t need another 7-0 hammering again this season, but maybe it was even an important factor for us. We can draw our lesson from that match, just like in the past season against Bayern.
“We know that we didn’t defend properly yet. On Friday we are eager to show that we’ve learned from our mistakes. Of course, we analysed Freiburg’s style of play. We are aware of Vincenzo Grifo being a key player who needs a special defending.”
RB Leipzig v VfL Wolfsburg
Domenico Tedesco: “Their (Wolfsburg’s) games could have gone the other way given the potential that they have in their squad, but they’ve been missing that bit of luck. Their approach is good. They’ve got a lot of fast players who are good in one-on-ones and their squad is good.
“Going into the game, I don’t really see any dangerous areas where we can’t play the ball into. Fundamentally I’m not a fan of offering up the ball. Players have to be free and recognise space themselves, regardless of our match plan.
“We’re the first ones to be critical of ourselves, that’s also regardless of the result. We played really well against Stuttgart but didn’t score the goals. We were just as critical there as we were with our performances against Köln and Union Berlin.
“We had a good amount of possession in the capital, and we were able to tame a lively side. There weren’t a lot of bad aspects, rather the opposite. But we want to win every game; we want points and we’re really ambitious. That’s nothing new.”
Nico Kovac: “Generally speaking, it’s clear that teams who were expected to be a little further up the table haven’t quite come out of the blocks yet. Teams who are very tough and focus more on the physical aspects of the game are currently near the top, while more technical sides – with the exception of Bayern – are having problems. I think it’s a trend – you have to be able to be aggressive against the ball and your opponents in order to survive in the Bundesliga.
“I’ve said this before – it’s not about the system, it’s about passion. You can talk as much as you like about how you want to approach a game, be it with one or two strikers. The important thing, simply, is how you implement things in terms of passion, aggression, and togetherness.
“Leipzig are a really strong team, individually well-equipped with lofty ambitions. They finished fourth last season so there’s a lot of potential in terms of quality. We’ll have to put a lot into the game in order to get anything from it.”
Mainz v Bayer Leverkusen
Bo Svensson: “We are playing at home and want to give it everything – we always want to compete with the best,” he said. “We know how tough it will be. We will need the support of our fans. I hope that many people will be there, as we need everything to go our way.
“Leverkusen’s games so far this season have been very different. They should have won both in Dortmund [1-0 loss] and against Augsburg [2-1]. They have top-quality players, and we will need to deliver a top performance in order to keep up.
The Werkself haven’t been taking their chances Svensson added- something the Karim Onisiwo certainly has been doing. “Karim was an important part of the team for us last season already. Since I’ve been here, he’s been a key figure due to his style of play. Sometimes, I need to remind him of that when he’s upset with himself. I’m happy for him that he’s been able to score, but that doesn’t change how I see him. He’s very, very important for us, which he’s realised as well by now.
“He’s a very physical striker, who brings in a lot of pace and energy. He also provided nine assists last season. The way he plays helps us both on and off the ball. Our defence receives a lot of praise, but the work starts up top. What our strikers do has a massive impact on our game. We expect a lot from them.”
Gerardo Seoane: “Every win and every defeat feels different. This time (Hoffenheim) the disappointment was particularly big because we had actually trained really well in the week. The training sessions were really lively and that makes a defeat even more painful. I think we started well in the game, were on it, pressed the opponents and through that created a couple of chances.
“So, it definitely wasn’t down to lack of desire or commitment. But Hoffenheim defended very well in a block and closed down space. In turn, we lost possession too often at the back line and the opposition looked to get their chances in transition – with success.
“At the moment, the emotional state on the pitch is a crucial factor. How we react to going behind is clearly an important point where we have to improve. We have to get used to a bigger level of frustration so that we don’t distract ourselves from our own energy levels in such situations.
“The paradox there is that this emotional rollercoaster is one of the good things about football at the same time. We haven’t achieved that emotional balance. However, I’m convinced the team will produce a different performance at the weekend and show more energy and power.”
Hertha Berlin v Borussia Dortmund
Sandro Schwarz: “We had a day more of training. Monday and Tuesday we worked through the game in Mönchengladbach. On Wednesday we prepared really specifically towards what we expect on Saturday: a top team, that has good individual players, enjoys having possession and plays at a high pace. Our approach has to be being very compact and very aggressive in defence, and obviously to use the moments we get to attack in transition.
“Linus Gechter was out for around ten days and should be available for our final training session having trained individually this week. We have to wait and see though. Filip Uremović is suspended and also has a knee problem. He will likely take part in team training again next week. I would also have no problem with playing two left-footed players at centre-back.”
Edin Terzic: “Hertha had a very unsettled season last year. They have not made a very good start now either, but they did not have easy opening fixtures with the derby against Union Berlin on the opening day, followed by a home game against Frankfurt and an away trip to Gladbach.
“They look very stable and disciplined. They have a lot of new signings and a new coach; it takes time for everything to come together. They produced a very good performance last week and I’m sure they will try to improve upon that performance. We also need to drastically improve our performance so that we leave the pitch there as winners.”
Hoffenheim v Augsburg
Andre Breitenreiter: “Augsburg will come to us with a new coach and have shown that they can win away from home. We have worked very hard in training and have prepared well. The opponent likes to switch the play quickly and go hard into the challenges. It’s important that we build on our away win and show our qualities. That’s our goal and we want to make it happen.
“Honestly speaking, wins play a secondary role when it comes to selecting the team. That would be predictable. I always reward performances in training if players make a case for themselves. Nobody can sit back after a good performance in the previous weekend’s match.
“Furthermore, the line-up naturally also depends on the opposition. That said, it can of course be that the starting XI stays the same if we believe that those exact players will be effective.”
Enrico Maaßen: “Hoffenheim are a really good side who have lots of quality up front. We can however exploit the one or two gaps in the backline. We must remain courageous and continue to play positive football. But at the same time, we need to look to win games.”
Schalke v Union Berlin
Frank Kramer: “We have gone through a few different game situations, in which we secure possession after having the ball. We are always trying to work on different ways of developing our routines and finding a clear play-style. Union Berlin are a team that give very little away. When you have the ball, you have to give it everything. They have great physicality and work together well as a team.
“We are looking forward to the game, the atmosphere is going to be really good. We need this togetherness between the supporters and what we want to deliver on the pitch. Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps again.”
Urs Fischer: “We’ve never won against them, so we can’t be the favourites. We want to improve things that we haven’t done so well yet. And keep things that have worked well.
“They are among the biggest clubs in Germany, they have tradition, a great stadium with 60,000 spectators that can develop a force and whip the boys on. They are very aggressive, bring willingness and mentality with them. We need a very good day to take something with us.”
Bayern Munich v Borussia Mönchengladbach
Julian Nagelsmann: “It’s a top-of-the-table clash that we want to win at home. We’re in good form, are full of confidence and have had another very good final training session. Basically we don’t fear anyone. Its important that we don’t stumble and show consistency.
“You sense a really good spirit and energy in the team. When we bring this energy onto the pitch, it’s hard against us. It’s important that we focus a bit more on ourselves. The others will work hard to stop us.”
Daniel Farke: “We are heading to Munich with a lot of respect, but without fear, and we are convinced that we can be competitive if we have a good game in all areas. Parking the bus simply won’t work, Bayern will put on too much pressure. There has to be a balance. We need good phases of possession, which we have managed well in previous games. We have to show this quality once more in Munich, or it’s not going to be easy.
“We can’t count on previous success. That does not mean, however that we will be flying the white flag in Bavaria. I firmly believe that our previous victories have sharpened our senses and given us an extra dose of motivation to go out and win.
“No team has really been able to stand up to Bayern so far this season. We know that that we have to deliver if we want to get something out of this game. We are highly motivated; we look forward to this task and want to achieve what nobody has yet managed this season against Bayern.”
Köln v VfB Stuttgart (Sunday)
Pellegrino Matarazzo: “Köln were our opponents in our extraordinary, heart-stopping season finale, but the circumstances are different now,. We’re not looking back but looking forward to Sunday. Freiburg sat very deep last week. After falling behind early on, it was a matter of creating opportunities against a compact and deep-lying opponent.
“In our preparation for Köln, we’ve been working on ways to exploit potential spaces. We have to start the game well on Sunday, take control and get balls into the opposition’s danger area. It’ll be a heated, intense game on Sunday and we want to pick up points.”
Werder Bremen v Eintracht Frankfurt (Sunday)
Oliver Glasner: “We’ve scored a lot of goals and had plenty of laughs in our goalscoring drills. That says a lot about the great atmosphere. It’s just what you need, particularly when it comes to scoring goals. You can’t afford to be tense – focused, but relaxed too.
“You can’t take anything for granted in the Bundesliga. Bremen are a settled team who play really good football. Regardless of the opponents, we need to perform on the pitch. The match is often decided by small details. I’m expecting a high-intensity match. We’re going to Bremen with confidence and the clear aim of getting three points.”