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 4 of the new season is here, and the Bundesliga coaches have been giving their pre-match thoughts.
Bayern Munich v Bayer Leverkusen
Thomas Tuchel: “The German players showed a good performance against France. We’ve only seen them briefly so far, it’s business as usual. Our job is to prepare them for the game as best as possible. The boys had this morning off, this evening we are training tactically and we are preparing the boys for Leverkusen. All players have been on different teams for the past two weeks. Now the season is basically starting again.
“Leverkusen is a very strong team and has a very good coach. They are very homogeneous and play at a very good level. I’m really looking forward to the evening game. This is the worthy setting for this match. We are the two teams that started with three wins. We will be ready to put our best foot forward and try to win.
“His path [Xabi Alonso’s] will continue very successfully. You could already tell when he was a player that he could become a good coach. I learned a lot about football from him as a player, watching him. He was a defining figure everywhere. He had a natural aura and great anticipation. I’m looking forward to meeting him.”
Xabi Alonso: “We are heading to Munich in good spirits and hopefully we can make it a good game. If we play to how we know we can play, we have every chance.
“He’s [Victor Boniface] a great player, a special player. He’s a striker but he doesn’t just play for himself, he’s generous. We are really happy to have him here. We managed to further develop our game idea in the last few games. Our development is more important than the table after three match days. Tomorrow we have to show our qualities.”
RB Leipzig v Augsburg
Marco Rose: “It’ll be intense on Saturday. There’ll be a lot of challenges and both teams will fight tooth and nail. It might not be pretty, but we’ve got a good chance to pick up some points if we’re prepared to get our hands dirty as well as bring our quality to the table.
“We want to play with the confidence we picked up in the last few games. We’ve got to play with maturity, just like we did against Union Berlin. We need to continue playing our own brand of football, as well as think about where our strengths lie. We want to do what is required of us as a team and deal with whatever they throw at us.”
Enrico Maaßen: “We used the time wisely and trained very intensively to stay in rhythm. We have to put our performance on the pitch, then we have the chance to score points in Leipzig. They’re a team with high individual quality, so it’s important to function well as a collective and to choose a courageous approach.
“We know that we have already played very good games against very good teams. The goal is to appear cheeky and bold.”
Freiburg v Borussia Dortmund
Christian Streich: “For us, it’s going to be a matter of hard work and graft on Saturday. Of course, we have seen a few things in their games that we think that we can use. Only getting a draw at home against a newly-promoted side is obviously an extremely unsatisfactory result for Dortmund.”
Edin Terzic: “Playing against Freiburg away is never easy. We know that SC Freiburg is very consistent. I remember that every now and then there was a game in between where it didn’t feel so good for her. Nevertheless, their processes and structures remain clear.
“They will show a different face on Saturday. They are one of the top teams in the Bundesliga. It’s not easy for the away team in Freiburg, they have only conceded ten goals in their last 17 home game.
“We know how difficult the task is, but we know what we are capable of. We’re looking forward to showing everyone this on Saturday.”
VfL Wolfsburg v Union Berlin
Niko Kovac: “It’s always difficult against Union. They’re a team that’s very robust and difficult to play against. Our task will be to eliminate their strengths – that won’t be easy – and play to our qualities.
“You have to form a team out of good individual players, like the German [basketball] team did. I am happy for Daniel and the whole team. A lot is possible through hard work.”
Urs Fischer: “Wolfsburg are a team that have started the season well. They have a lot of quality going forwards and dare to find playful solutions. With Jonas Wind, they also have a striker who knows where the goal is and who feels very comfortable in the penalty area.
“We tried to make good use of the international break. With our internationals, we had a smaller training group, but it was still very intense. We also filled in with players from the U19s, who did very well. It was a case of accepting the situation as it was and making the best of it.”
Mainz v VfB Stuttgart
Bo Svensson: “We have to look in the mirror, be honest with ourselves and bring things to the table. Not just about the game in Bremen, but also about the tactics, our daily routines, the level of fitness, actually everything that makes up our foundation and our identity. The performance of the boys, of us Coaching team, throughout the club.
“What do we want to show on the pitch every day? Are we managing that at the moment or are we just saying it? It was very good in the cup in Elversberg and at home against Frankfurt. In the other games in Berlin and Bremen we were far away from our expectations.
“We have to stick with ourselves and focus on consistency in our performance. That doesn’t guarantee us a win against Stuttgart. But what we are committed to should not just be words, but also actions.”
Sebastian Hoeneß: “High-intensity power football, that’s what Mainz wants to stand for and that’s what they stand for. Lots of duels, high levels of defending and stress so as not to let us get into our game – that has to be prevented. Our last game in Mainz wasn’t long ago, so there was a lot of pressure on us until we finally found our way into the game. We have to be resilient again for a long time and respect their game 100%.
“We have players who are capable of creating a high goal threat. In the end it’s about goals, so the threat of scoring is important for the corresponding results.”
Köln v Hoffenheim
Steffen Baumgart: “Hoffenheim always had a high quality squad. In recent years they have sometimes played below their value. There’s a lot coming up, we know that. We want to keep the three points here and play a good game.”
“I’m not happy at the moment because we’re not always implementing my idea of playing football. We also discussed this in our analysis of the game against Frankfurt. In terms of results, we are in the same position as we were against these opponents last season. It’s just that we had different opponents at the start last year.”
Pellegrino Matarazzo: “The spectators certainly play a role, but also their intense style of play. The people of Cologne sprint a lot, that’s extraordinary. The intensity, coupled with the emotionality in the stadium, is their greatest strength. We need a straight game and have to shift the action into their half.
“The biggest danger would be if we underestimate the people of Cologne. It’s up to us to bring the sharpness we had before the international match back onto the pitch. We know that Steffen Baumgart can get the players on track, so we are prepared for a game with a lot of fire.
“It’s not about my satisfaction, but about the next step and keeping our standards high. We have gained new options with the two new signings Mergim Berisha and Anton Stach, but we still have to work out the right constellation. I am happy with the squad and the energy of the team, we are ready for the game in Cologne.”
VfL Bochum v Eintracht Frankfurt
Thomas Letsch: “You can see at Eintracht that Dino focuses more on the ball possession phases. He can be happy with their start, they are still undefeated. I look forward to getting to know him in his new position on Saturday.
“The break was a very pleasant situation. We were lucky that not many players were away. We are well prepared for this duel on Saturday.”
Dino Toppmöller: “Thank goodness all the players returned from international duty with a clean bill of health. Pacho only landed yesterday, but if he gives us the green light he’ll be in the starting XI.
“We’re travelling to Bochum with a very good feeling. We had a good week of training and worked hard. We’re going into the game with great excitement. It’s thick and fast now, but our complete focus is on tomorrow evening and we want to win the game.”
Heidenheim v Werder Bremen (Sunday)
Darmstadt v Borussia Mönchengladbach (Sunday)