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 11 is here, and the Bundesliga coaches have been giving their pre-match thoughts.
Mainz v Köln
Bo Svensson: “We’ve already won twice this week and now we’re up against a good opponent under the floodlights at home. I don’t think we’ll see a dull game, that’s for sure.
“They’ve worked very solidly since Steffen took over. The way they want to play is also very recognisable – they’ve had success with it and it’s difficult for any team to play against them. I’m expecting a lot of intensity and emotion on that pitch on Friday, as well as lots of Köln players who constantly look to start attacks. They really commit to the job, and that speaks to the way they’ve progressed recently.
“Köln are set up in a more attacking style than us and place a lot of significance on how they play with the ball – usually not to play side-to-side but to move the ball vertically and get forward.
“I’ve really enjoyed the last few games, even since the Freiburg game and the second half against Hertha. The main thing I’ve liked is the commitment and attitude – this commitment to perform wasn’t always there before. Recently though, it’s been clear to see that the team are all on the pitch together to achieve the same goal.”
Steffen Baumgart: “Mainz are equal opponents, as you can see from the table. We expect a close game. Both teams will play with a high intensity and a healthy hardness. Both teams will play to win. At least that is our declared goal. We want to take the three points.
“A game lasts 90 minutes and there are two halves. It doesn’t matter which half you’re stronger in. How do you say? ‘In the end the duck is fat’. It is important to be there at the end of the game, not only during a game but also during the season. I’m pretty sure that statistically we were better in the second half last season. I feel like most teams are better in the second half.
“A game is always decided towards the end. The problem is that we’re often 1-0 down. We fall behind from avoidable situations, we are working on that.”
Borussia Dortmund v VfB Stuttgart
Edin Terzic: “There are a few areas where we desperately want to improve. We have had the second-most shots in the Bundesliga but have scored only 13 goals. We’re aware that we need to improve significantly in terms of efficiency.
“We need to work on the areas of timing, determination, and quantity. If we don’t have a high efficiency, we need to work on creating more and clearer goalscoring chances. But we will come through this phase. We’ll start scoring again and then one or two things will also get a little easier.
“Stuttgart are not having the season they probably would’ve wanted. They’ve produced good performances but have had some bad luck too. They got their first win in the Bundesliga last week and boosted their confidence further in the cup match in midweek. They need points, but we’re aware that we absolutely need the home win and that we will go into the game as favourites.”
Michael Wimmer: “It’s a mammoth task. Nevertheless, we want to show bravery and take the euphoria of the last two games with us. We’re going into the game with a bold and attacking approach, and at the same time we want to defend as a collective with good compactness.
“The match at Dortmund is a special one for all of us – for the team and the coaching staff. We’re playing against a top team in front of over 80,00 fans. We’re looking forward to it.”
Bayer Leverkusen v VfL Wolfsburg
Xabi Alonso: “I feel very positive about the long week of training. Every session was important. You could see that everybody – whether it was players, coaches, or staff – is pulling in the same direction and pursuing the same aims.
“I always look to have direct communication with the players and that works best when I’m actively involved. I want to be active in training to help the players as much as possible and showing them the right spaces and passing options.
“Wolfsburg are a good team, and they have a good coach in Niko Kovac. They are very aggressive and compact. We will need a complete performance and we’ll have to be fully focused for 95 minutes and have good body language.”
Niko Kovac: “The recent results have produced a very good mood and confidence. Getting through in the derby against Braunschweig was also important. My former coach Christoph Daum once said: ‘There’s no substitute for wins.’ That’s why we play football: we want to be winners.
“I can’t explain why Bayer find themselves at the lower end of the table. When you look at how strong the team were last season and how much quality they possess, it’s certainly surprising. Still, they’re a very capable team with a lot of individual quality.
“He [Xabi Alonso] was a player who experienced a lot at the highest level, worked with top coaches and certainly has an idea of how he wants to play football.”
Freiburg v Werder Bremen
Christian Streich: “The basics have to be there. If we push our limits and the spectators are there, we have a chance to beat Bremen.
“The spectators gave us a lot of help on Wednesday. We don’t always play well, but the team has been doing exceptional things for many months and we need fans who forgive mistakes. The victory also had something to do with the crowd.
Ole Werner: “Freiburg are always good at winning their individual battles. You can see they’ve got a coach who has worked with the team for a long time and also a lot of players who have been there for a while. They also work at high intensity in defence and run very well, they always close down the spaces.
“They don’t take unnecessary risks in their build-up play and manipulate space well to squeeze out the opponent and make it hard to press. Set pieces will play a role, since Freiburg always come up with something new and hence often score from them. So, we’ve got a difficult task ahead of us, against a current top Bundesliga side.”
Hoffenheim v Bayern Munich
Andre Breitenreiter: “We want to build on our last few games, and even though our opponents at the weekend will possess a completely different quality on the pitch compared to Schalke, we want to move the process forward and perform courageously. The match will show how far along we are. The opponent will certainly draw our attention to things we still need to work on. We want to play inspiring football and be successful in front of a sold-out stadium.
“Bayern had a spell this season in which the results were not right. But they’re the team with the most possession and the highest proportion of challenges won. They’re an absolutely top team; we all know about their individual quality. We’re prepared for the opponent, but we also want to focus on ourselves. We can make things very difficult for any team, so we’ll play with self-confidence. We don’t want to play into Bayern’s hands.
Julian Nagelsmann: “It’s a special game, it’s a club close to my heart, I spent nine very nice years there. There are always challenging games there. Hoffenheim is very stable and has clear movements with the ball under André Breitenreiter. It’s a team that plays with a lot of courage and gambles a lot.
“The pressing is not so easy there; you have to be extremely sharp. All of this contributes to the fact that it will be a nice away trip.”
Augsburg v RB Leipzig
Enrico Maaßen: “The atmosphere against Bayern was brilliant, which for us is a very important factor if we want to be successful. Leipzig are a team with a strong squad and a lot of pace. They have recovered well and put together a good string of results recently.
“We’re going to need a brilliant performance if we are going to get something from this game. There are still five more games to come this year and it’s now all about getting every point we can from every matchday.
“Leipzig’s biggest strength is how they play out of possession and their gegenpressing, from which they are able to create lots of chances. That is going to be big challenge for us!”
Marco Rose: “Augsburg are a very uncomfortable team to play against. They’re aggressive, which is a good way to win duels and bring intensity to the pitch. At the same time, they can play good football and we have to counter that with a good degree of physicality. We know that we won’t have much time on the ball, and we’ll have to find the right solutions quickly. We’re going to Augsburg to win the game.
“Augsburg have developed a style of football that is based on physicality, power, and direct balls. Florian Niederlechner and Ermedin Demirovic are really good on the ball and Carlos Gruezo is really good in possession and in duels. We need to be prepared for Iago’s crossing and Ruben Vargas’s individual skill. Another really good player is returning in Arne Maier.”
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Eintracht Frankfurt
Daniel Farke: “We’re playing against one of the Bundesliga’s in-form teams. We’re not the favourites going into the match. But one thing is certain: as long as I see that we have players like Tobias Sippel, Patrick Herrmann, Tony Jantschke, Lars Stindl or Christoph Kramer, then there’s no need to worry. I don’t have any doubts about our squad, and they will stick together with the fans even through tough situations.
“If we were to lose three more players to injuries, then we’d simply have to tell our bus driver that he’s playing – we would still have a team that’s willing to fight and throw their bodies behind the ball.
“They are a really strong team and are one of the Bundesliga’s in-form sides. They are ahead of us in the table, so we’re up against a top team. I’m a fan of their football. They have a well-balanced squad with a lot of good players. Eintracht are strong on the ball, and you can clearly see how they want to play. It will be a tough challenge, but we’re looking forward to it.
Oliver Glasner: “We travel to Mönchengladbach with a positive feeling. The team are in good shape – we had an impressive win against Leverkusen recently and have fond memories of Borussia-Park from last season. If we win 3-2 again, we’ll go home happy.
“Gladbach are very strong on the ball and in attack. In Julian Weigl, they’ve acquired an experienced player in midfield and in Daniel Farke, they also have a very good coach. Despite the 2-1 defeat in Darmstadt [in the DFB Cup], Gladbach are a team with great technical ability and power, but they’ve also conceded one or two goals. I’m expecting a pretty even game in which both teams will attack.”