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 8 is here, and the Bundesliga coaches have been giving their pre-match thoughts.
Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen
Julian Nagelsmann: “The majority have returned fit and healthy. Coman, Hernández, Sarr and Wanner are unavailable. We’ll need to see when it makes sense for King to return. It could be that we start easing him back in next week. Lucas will be out for longer.
“I’ve rewatched all our games and done a lot of analysis. We sat down and discussed it with the team today, as it’s the first day that everyone is back. I’m confident that we will deliver a strong performance tomorrow.
Leverkusen have a difficult sporting situation, but they have a good squad and approach to football, very good individual players, and an outstanding coach. It’s a top game, even if the table says otherwise. We want to invest, the potential that lies in the players makes me look positively to the future. We still have a lot up our sleeve. Courage is the anagram of luck. We want to make bold decisions. We’re not in the league position that we want to be. We have to be aware that we have to be number one when it comes to payday.
“I take every criticism to heart when it is brought to me. It is clear that the last two weeks have not left me cold. Every one of us must feel personal responsibility, and I feel that too. I know that I invest a lot in the job. I’m not solely responsible for everything, just like the players. It’s a team sport, and it will be tomorrow night too.”
Gerardo Seoane: “We have to grow in our tasks. Both individually, as a team and also me as a coach. The players and the staff have recently moved noticeably closer together. The solidarity can be felt from everyone to brace themselves against this situation.
“Sardar Azmoun is a great role model for everyone – in commitment and also in behaviour – we all have to put an arm around him and support him in this situation. With Sardar it was important to show empathy to give him a clear head for football. We’ll definitely take him to Munich. He really wants that too.
“Both teams are in a similar situation – each at their own level. Both are dissatisfied with the results, but both also show many positive approaches. Bayern Munich had an incredible number of chances to score in every game. We don’t need to talk about the quality.”
RB Leipzig v VfL Bochum
Marco Rose: “Bochum will try to score on the counterattack, which means that we have to be secure when we’re going forward. They have some good players in their squad; we have to be prepared and resilient.
“For example, Kevin Stöger is a fantastic footballer who can read the game well and bring it to life. In addition to that, he can hit the ball well and recognises spaces.
“It’s a home game and that means we want to win; to do that, we need a good performance, because we have ambitions and want to reach a good level.”
Thomas Letsch: “I look back on the first few days very positively. From the start the team was very, very open to new ideas and very willing on the pitch. Every session was great fun. That is the basic requirement for things to go well on the match day. I don’t only have eleven options, but significantly more. That’s nice for us as a coaching team.
“In terms of squad, RB Leipzig is the second-best team in the Bundesliga after FC Bayern Munich. We know what to expect. Leipzig is a team with very, very high quality. Ultimately, however, we have to focus on ourselves and make up for the supposed individual deficit with unity as a team.
“I spoke to Marco Rose on the phone for a while on Tuesday. But we hardly talked about the game because nobody would say anything about it anyway. I’m happy to see him on Saturday and I hope my mood after the game will be better than his.”
Freiburg v Mainz
Christian Streich: “They have shown a lot of variation in their play, but normally you expect a back three from them. They have got energy, power, and will make us do a lot of running. We don’t fear any opponent. We are pleased that we have opponents – otherwise we wouldn’t be able to play.
“It’s not usual to go two weeks without having played a match. So that was pleasant, but now it is nice that we have a home game coming up on Saturday. I believe the fans are happy because the boys have done very well.”
Bo Svensson: “They have a clear notion of how they want to play and have enjoyed many successful seasons. They have several players who have been playing for Christian Streich for many years. This continuity leads to consistency. They rarely have a bad day and when they do, they are still able to play at a level that makes it tough for any opponent.
“If we manage to play our game, then we’ve proven that we can make life hard for them. The players have shown a reaction [to a 5-2 friendly loss to Karlsruhe]. Of course, we were disappointed at first after the friendly against KSC, but it’s also about seeing how you react to a defeat like that, and the team did well at that. We have been able to draw several lessons from it and were able to take constructive feedback from it.”
Köln v Borussia Dortmund
Steffen Baumgart: “They have a high individual quality. They made good transfers, with players who have yet to internalize the current system. Dortmund also has problems with minor injuries this season. Despite this, they play consistently and solidly. Dortmund is very controlled and clear. What happened against Bremen happens once in ten years. Had they won the game, they would have been top of the table with 18 points.
“They are a top team. They are very good on defence and only allow a few chances to score. Especially on the wings they have a high quality. We know what to expect.
“Tony and Salih are both coming back to Cologne. I should be highly motivated in every game; it has nothing to do with Tony and Salih. That has to do with the fact that in Borussia Dortmund we have one of the best teams in Germany as guests. It would be nice to bring our own performance. That would be motivation enough.
“I am very happy to see both of them again. They are very good footballers who are very close to me personally and with whom I have worked very well. I’m happy about their path and hope that they will be greeted sensibly and that nobody will forget what they have done for FC.”
Edin Terzic: “We knew the fixture list would be very tight this year due to the World Cup. In the first weeks of pre-season, we wanted to lay the foundations and get ourselves in a good position for precisely this period.
“We’ll always try to reduce the strain and start the regeneration immediately. Rotation will consistently be a topic over the next weeks.
“Steffen Baumgart has stabilised the team. He repeatedly manages to make players better and create a greater self-belief. That’s their biggest strength. They’re very courageous and take big risks. They’re dangerous from set-pieces and have a great deal of possession. It’s going to be a tough task.
“I’m sure that we’ll produce another good performance on Saturday. And then we’ll have a big chance to win the match.”
Eintracht Frankfurt v Union Berlin
Oliver Glasner: “Union Berlin are a team who have been cleverly put together, have a great coach in Urs Fischer, who gives their play a clear thumbprint. They’re very compact and are one of the best counter-attacking teams.
“The most important thing is that we go into this period with a smile on our faces. It’s still Eintracht’s first ever season in the Champions League, which is why we have so many games. The boys are in very good shape, they’re professional and they’re well looked after.
“We’re also approaching this phase with a lot of enthusiasm. I’ve been told that every home game will be sold out into November, so we’re really looking forward to that. The boys want to play, they want to compete. We’ll get through this period well.”
Urs Fischer: “They [Frankfurt] are in good shape. It’s a good mix of experience, speed, and individual quality. Götze moves between the spaces, acts as an instigator. And Kolo Muani comes primarily through his enormous speed.
“They’re always dangerous in these situations. We shouldn’t opt for an open game against them. We have to play at our limit again.”
VfL Wolfsburg v VfB Stuttgart
“We know VfB’s strengths, but I hope we can also exploit the weaknesses, which every team have. The focus and concentration were very high on the pitch today. Judging by what I saw in training today, I’m confident we’ll turn in a really good performance tomorrow.
“We know we have an important game tomorrow, just as every game in the Bundesliga has great significance. It’s 17th against 16th here. We’re not taking the situation lightly, but very seriously. We have to make sure we get the three points – that would be immensely important for us.
“We trained without Lukas Nmecha today, and he won’t be involved tomorrow either. His knee trouble won’t go away at the moment. Patrick Wimmer has made good progress, though. He’ll certainly be able to play. It’s well known that Jonas Wind is still absent. He’ll at least be able to resume some parts of team training next week.”
Pellegrino Matarazzo: “Wolfsburg have tightened up defensively in their last few games. You can see the work ethic and the compact defending. For us it’s about keeping a clean sheet. The lads have made a good and energetic impression again in training this week. We’re determined to show a different face to last time out.
“He [new signing Dan-Axel Zagadou] brings a calmness to what he does, he can read situations in the game, has a very good left foot, and can use his body in the challenge. What I also like is the personality and presence he brings on the training pitch. He wants to win games, even in training, and that rubs off on the lads.”
Werder Bremen v Borussia Mönchengladbach
Ole Werner: “Our intention was to keep as many of the things from last year as possible. Based on our performances and our current points tally, that has proved to be the right approach.
“We have been really positive in terms of our playing style in the first seven games, and we have deservedly garnered respect for that. This is something that we need to continue doing.
““Just like before, compactness is an issue. These are the things that have cropped up over the first seven games and we want to work on them so we can continue to consistently pick up points with our style of play.
“Of course, want our fate to be in our own hands as we go into the winter break. I think we’ve done pretty well as a promoted side. Now it’s about continuing the development and if possible, building on the things that we did well in the first seven games, both in terms of performances and in terms of points.”
Daniel Farke: “Werder aren’t your typical promoted side, and they are a real bedrock of the Bundesliga. They have done really well so far; they have a good team spirit and are still full of confidence after last season. As a promoted team, they want to pick up points in their home games and a Saturday night clash under the floodlights certainly isn’t the worst occasion for that.
“I think Ole Werner has done a great job there. His side are clear about what they need to do and how they want to play. I like their northern mentality and we are full of respect for our opponents.
“It will be a really difficult but a really interesting test. It is paramount that we remain fully focussed, even in the difficult moments. It will be a tight game and our preparations weren’t ideal because of the international break. We need to show our resilience in games like these. The Weser Stadion can create some real energy and Werder are a very traditional club, you can feel that in every sense.
“But we became footballers in order to compete in fervent atmospheres. We are spurred on by the fact that we want to show our quality and we are very much looking forward to the game.”
Hertha Berlin v Hoffenheim (Sunday)
Sandro Schwarz: “The international break was emotional for us, particularly regarding Djanga. So, we are really happy to hear some good news and hope for the same with Marco! We very strongly recommended that the players should go for a check-up. I went myself at the beginning of the week, and many of the guys from the coaching team did as well.
“Andre Breitenreiter’s DNA is clearly visible at Hoffenheim. Nevertheless, we’re going into the game with self-confidence and want to win the three points. It’s all about performing the right way on matchday. You can’t keep worrying about losing points. That will be the case again on Sunday.”
Andre Breitenreiter: “Hertha are a team that have reinvented themselves. They play very intensively and wait for the opponent to lose the ball so they can transition at speed. They are currently the best counter-attacking team in the league. We need to be ready for that.
“We want to restart successfully after the break. The players returned from their trips at different times. We want to use the time to ensure our boys are fresh for Sunday. We mustn’t be passive and want to play our positional game so that we continue to be versatile. Then we will create enough goalscoring opportunities too.
“The lads have all returned fit. Some players played as recently as Tuesday and have only trained with us selectively so far. But we still have time before Sunday. Almost all our players performed well. For example, Andrej Kramarić qualified for the Final Four of the Nations League.”
Schalke v Augsburg (Sunday)
Frank Kramer: “Our opponents are playing a different brand of football than they were in pre-season. Augsburg have adjusted their style of football after the opening five games and have shifted their focus. Now, they are playing quick and forward football, and they’re handy setting up against it as well.”
Enrico Maaßen: “The game against Schalke will be loud and uncomfortable. Both teams play very direct football. We can’t retreat an inch and we have to remain greedy for more.”