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.
RB Leipzig v VfB Stuttgart
Marco Rose: “We looked at the 5-0 win against Bochum. Stuttgart did really well. VfB are a very strong team that look for solutions and play a lot through the centre. In the last third they play with wide wingers.
“They also adapt their game to a back four or back three. They always have clear processes with the ball. We have to defend a lot of quality, especially one-on-one in the last third. But with our fans behind us, we’ll have our chances.
“We live on results and results create atmosphere. We are in a state of upheaval and may need some time. But we already had a great training camp and we already noticed that the lads fit in well with us. We have added quality and remain ambitious.”
Sebastian Hoeneß: “RB Leipzig is an absolute top team. It may have lost substance, but was quickly able to get really interesting players and perform. You saw that in the game against Bayern. We know there’s a big task coming our way. It’s a great challenge for us to see where we are now.
“We showed against Bochum that we have a certain inner strength. Leipzig is now a different challenge altogether. We want to compete with the best. If there is an opportunity, we want to take something from the game.
“We had a great experience at home with the fans. Nevertheless, everyone knows that this is just the first step and that there are 33 more to come.”
Freiburg v Werder Bremen
Christian Streich: “Having a good start immediately brings a sense of ease to the group and the general mood is good. Bremen did very well against Bayern, they had good spells where Marvin Ducksch linked up with Niclas Füllkrug. There were really good moments in the game for Bremen where they could have equalised.
“When we put pressure on them, they’ll play long balls to Füllkrug, who is good in the air. When we build up attacks more slowly, they’ll close up the spaces and work hard off the ball. They do that well. I expect a very hostile and aggressive team, who don’t win games by playing beautiful football, but by the way in which they defend. They’re a difficult team to play against. It’s a question of how sharp we are in attack and how hungry we are in duels.”
Ole Werner: “Freiburg are a team who use their physicality well, are dangerous from set pieces and they get shots off on goal. They will cover lots of ground on the day and are able to come up with new ideas for dead-ball situations.
“This match will be both physically and psychologically demanding, so I’m hoping for a good performance from the team. But that alone isn’t enough, instead it’s up to us to put in the work and take home the three points we deserve.”
VfL Bochum v Borussia Dortmund
Thomas Letsch: “We’re all happy that it’s starting. A derby, here at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion, against Borussia Dortmund is always something special. Everyone knows how the roles are distributed. BVB were runners-up on the last day of last season, we secured our place on the last day. That shows how far apart we are. As the small VfL, we want to annoy the big BVB.
“BVB is an absolute contender for the German championship. We, on the other hand, will do everything to stay in the Bundesliga. If we show this intensity, this aggressiveness with the atmosphere in the stadium, like we did last season, anything is possible. That’s how we go about it.
“We attack the opponent high up, want to be aggressive, be disgusting. We want to annoy the opponent. Conversely, when we have the ball, we want to finish quickly. We want to act as a group, as a swarm and give the opponent neither time nor space.”
Edin Terzic: “When it comes to derbies, everyone thinks of Dortmund versus Schalke. However, you have also felt in recent years how important the game is for VfL Bochum. We’re definitely ready, regardless of how heated and intense the game is. We have great desire and also have something to make amends for in Bochum.
“They looked very good last season, especially in home games. We were able to create chances for ourselves in the first period. In the second, it became the game that VfL Bochum had envisaged: with many challenges and with a lot of passiveness on our part. Then it becomes easier for the opponent to create one-on-one situations.
“We shall set out to do the things that were correct and promising from the first minute to the last, and to play our game in Bochum and not VfL’s.”
Köln v VfL Wolfsburg
Steffen Baumgart: “We want to be successful against a very good opponent who plays at a high intensity and has a clear plan. Wolfsburg can defend well, have a good transition game and are able to attack from far up the field. We have to find the right balance for ourselves. We’re up against a team that has strengthened well and will end up in the top third this year. There’s a certain tension there, but that’s part of it from my point of view.”
Niko Kovac: “Lukas Nmecha, Kilian Fischer, and Felix Lange are the three players who will surely be missing on Saturday. Lukas Ambros also had some stomach problems yesterday. But I assume that they will be fixed today.
“Max Arnold had a relaxed running session yesterday. I am confident that he will train with the team again today. But it’s still too early to say whether he’ll be there on Saturday. We will have a look at it and then decide accordingly.”
Heidenheim v Hoffenheim
Frank Schmidt: “It’s obviously something special when you play in a new league for the first time. That applies to the first away game, but also to the first home game. Nevertheless, it is not the case that it now turns into exuberant joy, but it is about being successful. We are undoubtedly happy that the Bundesliga is now being played on the Schlossberg. But from now on it’s all about sporting results.
“Like us, Hoffenheim lost their first game against SC Freiburg. If you take the game, you’ve already seen variability and good possession. They change the basic order again and again – sometimes with a three-man chain and two sixes. Then they switch and overload the left flank by pushing up the left centre-back. Especially in the central area they have a player in Andrej Kramarić who can always make the difference.
“Hoffenheim is a team that has a lot of quality. But I can repeat that week after week in this league. We trained our content this week and we want to implement it tomorrow.”
Pellegrino Matarazzo: “We have the same goal in every game. We want to reach our performance limits and get three points. A very heated atmosphere awaits us. The game is an absolute highlight of the club’s history for the opposition. For us, it’ll be about playing very intensively, being willing to cover ground and doing the basics. Then we’ll be ready to play football and achieve our goal.
“They’ll perform full of energy. Their style of play is very intense, they also ran a lot in Wolfsburg. They’re capable of moving the ball about but primarily score goals via wing play and set-pieces. We must ensure that we win the second balls and then find the right spaces.”
“Even though they were only promoted recently, there’s a lot that we can analyse. We’ll take the game in our stride. We know the opponent, we know the coach. We therefore have a lot of reference material, they haven’t come out of nowhere and now reached the Bundesliga all of a sudden.”
Darmstadt v Union Berlin
Torsten Lieberknecht: “We received a lot of praise after the Frankfurt game. We know it was a decent game, but we need the points in this results business. We have to work hard for every point and every goal. That’s why it’s a case of keep at it, and be persistent!”
Urs Fischer: “Darmstadt did not start the season in the best possible way, but showed a good performance last week in Frankfurt despite the narrow defeat. They are very compact are organised, are good on the break and are dangerous when it comes to set pieces. For us, it will be showing ourselves on the pitch and pushing ourselves to the limit for ninety minutes”
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Bayer Leverkusen
Gerardo Seoane: “We’ve drawn a number of conclusions from this game [v Augsburg]. For example, we failed to hold onto the ball for long periods in Augsburg and didn’t manage to find a good balance between sharp incisive play and long balls. There also some defensive things we can improve on. We’ve often said before: It’s going to be a lengthy process for us because we have a young team. Consequently, we’re able to take away important things from every single game that are crucial for our development.
“Leverkusen made some good signings in the summer – their team is very cohesive and they played well in the second half of last season. It’s difficult to create chances against them, because they have a good mix of physicality, pace, and technical ability, as well as an exemplary level of team cohesion.
“It’s obviously great when the fans can give the team momentum from the sidelines. In Augsburg, our players felt their energy and channelled it into their performance on the pitch – the fans are ultimately our twelfth man. It’s important for us to improve on certain aspects of our game and change the negative emotions into positive ones.”
Xabi Alonso: “We are looking forward to the second matchday with anticipation. Of course we want to put our best performance and playing style on the pitch. We know about the rivalry between us. It will be an intense and emotional game.
“It will be a special game for Jonas [Hofmann]. He has a history with Gladbach, it will be something special for him. But in the 90 minutes of play there is no friendship. Jonas is a professional, he will do everything for us.
“Josip Stanisic has the game intelligence for different positions and can be set up flexibly. I was impressed by his personality in the first talks. He has trained well and will be there tomorrow.”
Mainz v Eintracht Frankfurt (Sunday)
Bo Svensson: “I wasn’t satisfied with the performance in Berlin. This is the first home game and we want to take the opportunity to present ourselves better.
“We’re glad things worked out with Phillipp [Mwene]. We know him from the past and we know what he brings to the table. He fits in well with our game and complements us perfectly.”
Dino Toppmöller: “The game against Mainz is completely different from the one in Sofia, it has completely different characteristics. Mainz plays a lot with long balls and their target player Ajorque. We need good control at the back and in front of the defensive line. Mainz are good at picking up second balls and are good at switching – an absolute strength of the team. They have good defensive organization and are a very different team from Levski.
“We’re expecting a very aggressive Mainz team that will bring significantly more power to the pitch at home than in the away games, also supported by the crowd. For us it’s a Rhein-Main duel where we can count on the support of our fans. It’s going to be an open and physical game in which we have to defend and launch our offensive actions.”
Bayern Munich v Augsburg (Sunday)
Thomas Tuchel: “Augsburg have changed their style a bit, put more emphasis on passing and possession. They have changed their basic structure, they play forechecking, we expect some man marking. We expect a mix of a strong counterattacking team and combination play.
“We need solutions and are preparing the team We’re preparing for it. We’ve had a long week that we’ve used for a lot of intensive training. Now we have two days to prepare intensively for the game.
“Dayot Upamecano and Minjae Kim did very well in Bremen. It was a clear step forward in terms of overall defensive behavior, organizational behavior and compactness. We want to build on that for the next steps. Matthijs de Ligt comes from an injury since lacks a bit of rhythm and form. It was extremely important that he defended for us for half an hour at a very high level.
“There is no reason to change because of the performance. If we see tactical reasons, we are happy to be on the same level to change levels.”
Enrico Maaßen: “We managed to beat Bayern at home last season. We need another perfect day like this, then we can get something in Munich. He [Mergim Berisha] received a lot of playing time last weekend and is getting closer and closer to 100 percent. He has a very good record against Bayern and will be on the pitch on Sunday.”