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 1of the new season is here, and the Bundesliga coaches have been giving their pre-match thoughts.
Werder Bremen v Bayern Munich
Ole Werner: “We’re definitely very excited. It’s the toughest possible game for us. Both teams have not settled into the season yet, so playing Bayern early on doesn’t give us an advantage nor a disadvantage.
“It’s a new season and things have changed at Bayern as well. Our approach is simple: we’re the underdogs, so have to work hard out of possession, stay compact and be relentless, defend well and take our chances when we get them.”
Thomas Tuchel: “Friday night in Bremen – I would’ve been sat watching that on TV as a kid. It’ll be a super atmosphere, an absolute classic. I love the Weserstadion. We’re expecting an emotional match, an opponent who play very direct, who make the pitch big when in possession, who have a target man in Niclas Füllkrug and quick players around him. They’ll try to move towards our goal quickly and put us under pressure.
“I think that I described my appraisal and feelings honestly [about the Supercup loss]. I take it personally when we lose. I can’t hold back. There always needs to be some progression, also with the coach. It was a painful defeat. It hurt and still hurts. As is often the case in sport, we want to show a reaction. We still haven’t found the right key to open the door, but we will find it.
“Performances in professional sport are always somewhat complex. Obviously, it’s easier when you’re building on positive success. You always have the chance in sport to turn momentum around with every game. We know that.”
Bayer Leverkusen v RB Leipzig
Xabi Alonso: “We’ve all seen the Supercup. Leipzig are cup winners. Now they’re also Supercup winners. It’s clear: we’re playing against a top team in good form. “We’ve had six weeks of preparation time with new players, we have new energy. Now we are ready for the game against Leipzig and for the coming season!
“At Leipzig there have been changes in personnel. But the idea, the quality and the style are almost the same. They have a clear philosophy of the game. Marco Rose took over his team at a similar time as I did – and he has formed a top team.”
Marco Rose: “Of course, as RB Leipzig, we want to remain ambitious. Basically, we want to win every game. The win in Munich caused a stir, but we can put it into perspective.
“Max, Felix and Rouven did an excellent job and brought in great guys. Now we want to put it on the pitch consistently. We still want to be in the DFB Cup and the Champions League in the new year. In the Bundesliga we want to beat everyone who comes.
“I’m happy about Xabi Alonso’s path, which he has taken to this point. He is a top coach with charisma and a clear game idea. After a difficult start last season, you made the best of it and were in the semifinals of the Europa League.
“Now they have gained a lot of experience, especially with Jonas Hofmann and Granit Xhaka. They have changed the chemistry and squad structure a bit. But of course they still have a lot of force and power and a lot of football. We can count on Leverkusen. On us a big challenge awaits, we have to defend diligently and well.”
VfL Wolfsburg v Heidenheim
Niko Kovac: “It’s nice when there are new faces in the league. Heidenheim has steadily improved and wants to show what they can do. We have high expectations and we want to win. Both games I coached against them were very tough.
“We have a home game ahead of us. We want to start well and play the three games up to the international break positively so that we can go into the next games with healthy self-confidence.”
Frank Schmidt: “Of course there is only one first game in the Bundesliga. That’s on Saturday in Wolfsburg and we’re really looking forward to it. But I am sure that the joy will not diminish and will also be huge in the following games. We don’t yet know exactly what to expect because most of them haven’t had any Bundesliga experience yet.
“That’s why the tension is high and the anticipation even greater. Still, we bring enough humility to know that every game will be a challenge for us. We will always prepare as best we can and try to bring our DNA into every game.
“If we were always one-on-one, it probably wouldn’t be enough. As a collective and as a unit, we want and have to try to get the points in a united and determined manner so that we can ideally leave so many teams behind us that we can play in the Bundesliga in the future. But we’re not looking that far ahead. We know very well that we have to solve problems. We’re looking at Wolfsburg first, we want to put in a good performance there. Every point we get will take us further.”
Hoffenheim v Freiburg
Pellegrino Matarazzo: “I expect that we will approach the game with joy, energy and determination. In terms of content, we want to implement what we intend to do. We want to put in a top performance in front of our fans. Freiburg is very well-rehearsed and variable, they will demand everything from us.
“If you end up at the top of the Bundesliga for several years, you are definitely one of the top teams. They are very mature and will punish inattention immediately. We are prepared for a very hot duel.
“The atmosphere is good and focused. You can tell it’s tingling. But the team is still able to bring good energy onto the pitch. I’m happy with the integration of the new players, we’re a unit.”
Christian Streich: “We haven’t had a match for a few weeks, and every team starts with zero points. We want to get the ball rolling immediately and increase our points tally as much as possible. The start of the season is always a bit tense, but if we start strong and maintain a high morale, this should soon ease off.
“Our boys showed excellent quality in training yesterday, despite it being 31 degrees. I’ve noticed that they’ve kept on improving and now have tunnel vision on the game. They are extremely focused.”
“I expect us to step onto the pitch and instantly make life difficult for Hoffenheim. They always had issues with injuries over the past few years. Pavel Kaderabek has recovered, as have Andrej Kramaric and Grischa Prömel. They’ve brought in Wout Weghorst which enables them to put a cross in from anywhere. Their flexibility within the squad will certainly make this a tough game for us.”
Augsburg v Borussia Mönchengladbach
Enrico Maaßen: “The game against Unterhaching hurt and was a real setback. But the focus now is on showing a completely different face tomorrow in front of a full house. Setbacks are part of development, but we have to learn the lessons from them. It’s about attitude and we have to be ready to run more than the opponent.
“Gladbach has good speed up front and is dangerous in the transition game. But we can’t just look at the opponent, we have to play our game: compactness, running strength, and strength in the tackles!”
Gerardo Seoane: “We’re all excited for the start of the new Bundesliga season. The key thing will be to get stuck in as much as they do and accept that it’s going to be a scrap at times. We have to be solid without the ball and get everyone involved in our play when we have it ourselves.
“They [Augsburg] have changed their style of play somewhat. They now look to pass it about a bit more and build up the play. Changing your style of play is a process. They had that cup game under control for large parts. We are preparing ourselves for their new style, but also their more traditional way of playing more directly.”
VfB Stuttgart v VfL Bochum
Sebastian Hoeneß: “I feel a great sense of anticipation. The fans gave us incredible support last season. Bochum stayed up in impressive fashion last term. They get forward with plenty of purpose using long balls, and they cause their opponents problems with their high intensity.
“Our aim is to get ourselves in good positions. We did that well at times in the game in Bochum last season, but as we’re at home for this one they might sit a bit deeper. It’ll be hard work, but with the fans behind us we want to collect all three points.”
Thomas Letsch: “Stuttgart goes into the game with a sense of achievement after winning the DFB Cup. In the last two games, VfB played with a different basic structure than at the end of last season. With Guirassy, Silas, Führich and Millot they have a lot of creativity and speed in their ranks. We must be careful.
“It’s the first Bundesliga game of the season. The first game is basically full of surprises, there are a few unknowns. But we are prepared.”
Borussia Dortmund v Köln
Edin Terzic: “Steffen Baumgart has had a big impact. It’s not so easy for them at the beginning of the season. They have lost important players and characters such as Jonas Hector, Timo Horn and Ellyes Skhiri. But I believe them to be really unpleasant opponents that are always courageous and hungry.
“We sensed that last season too. We’re looking forward to the challenge. We’re playing at home and know that we need a good performance to win the game.”
Steffen Baumgart: “The anticipation for the game is great, regardless of the difficulty of the task. Six weeks of preparation is enough. We will go to Dortmund with the aim of winning. We always do. However, aspiration and reality sometimes differ, as we saw last season. We want to act boldly, put the opponent under pressure and assert our game.
“I’m looking forward to an emotionally charged duel. Both teams need to get the season off to a good start. As a coach and player you can’t wish for anything more than to play in Dortmund. We play against the runners-up, where the championship is an issue. For us, anticipation prevails.
“I’ve never been in a situation where I’ve played for a championship. We would have liked to have made our contribution on the last matchday last season. Dortmund had the chance to become champions. Last season they dropped a few points early on. They certainly want to do that differently this season. I’m excited about the championship, in my opinion there are three or four contenders for the title. It will be an exciting year.”
Union Berlin v Mainz (Sunday)
Urs Fischer: “We’re all excited that it’s finally back to playing for points. For us, it will be about getting our basics right on the pitch. I expect a very close and competitive game in which both teams will give nothing away. Mainz are compactly organised, are good on the break and are dangerous from set-pieces. With Ludovic Ajorque, they also have a target player who is good at holding the ball up.”
Bo Svensson: “Union have once again strengthened with some big names. They definitely haven’t got worse compared to last season. Good players have arrived in the form of Gosens and Volland. However, Union’s style of football is not going to change radically. We put in a pretty solid performance against Elversberg. That won’t be enough against Union Berlin. We have to go up another level.”
Eintracht Frankfurt v Darmstatdt (Sunday)
Dino Toppmöller: “After the Nottingham Forest home game, I marked the days until the first matchday on my calendar. One can only guess what will be going on here on Sunday. My anticipation is huge. It’s the perfect start to the league season for us and for Darmstadt. The pitch is laid, the weather is great, the stadium will be full.
“The preparation went really well. Tomorrow we will start up the program again, activate it and sharpen the senses so that we can go into the game well prepared. We expect an opponent who brings the collective, throws themselves into every duel and at the same time has playing qualities. Their set-pieces are very good. We shouldn’t make the mistake of being blinded by their cup exit.”
Torsten Lieberknecht: “The game in Frankfurt will be a completely different game than the cup duel last February. Eintracht has a different coach and therefore different views. There are parallels, but there are also many new things to discover in the Frankfurt game. We analysed them in their preparatory games and in the DFB Cup. Frankfurt plays very complex, they can play with a back three or four. In addition to the extremely high individual quality, we also noticed points in the positioning that could help us for Sunday.
“We were very critical of the cup game in Homburg. We have analysed it and now put a cross through it. Now we start the new Bundesliga season! We should show gratitude that we are in the top league and can compete with the best teams and players in Germany. Getting there was no picnic. Of course, we also have to develop further. Only a few players with us have already gained Bundesliga experience, most of them have never played in the first division. All in all, we’re really looking forward to the Bundesliga.”