The Bundesliga serves up another round of exciting matches this weekend and the eighteen trainers have been giving their pre-match thoughts ahead of what promises to be another fascinating matchday. Here you’ll find all the key thoughts ahead of matchday 20.
Heidenheim v Borussia Dortmund (Friday)
Frank Schmidt: “It’s something special, definitely. That’s clear. “It’s also garnished with floodlights on the Schlossberg, which is a huge highlight for the surrounding area. But we don’t want to have big eyes, we want to achieve a good result. We want to show our self-confidence, use our strengths and a seven streak would of course be nice.
“It’s devastating if you lose too many balls in your own build-up game against Dortmund. We have to defend with high intensity out of the penalty area and have to be well adjusted to know how to defend our strengths in the final third.
“I made it clear that I trust the team. They did well and why should we have to change something? It’s difficult to make good transfers in the winter anyway. I like to work with a small group in which every player knows that performance will be rewarded.”
Edin Terzic: “It’s currently very difficult to beat them. They’re having a great season. They’ve not only done well in the last six matches, but also against us at the beginning of the season. It’s a difficult task, especially in Heidenheim. They’re doing extremely well in many areas of football: they are the hardest-running team in the league and are extremely dangerous from set-pieces.
“We know that the match and the result will be influenced the most by our performance. We want to show a good performance and return to Dortmund with three points.”
Bayern Munich v Borussia Mönchengladbach
Christoph Freund (sporting director): “Thomas will come down to Säbener Straße today and take training. He’s getting better. We’re positive he can be at the game tomorrow.
“We’re expecting Gladbach to play in a similar way as they did last week in Leverkusen. It definitely won’t be an easy game. Gladbach have a lot of quality, are good in transition. They played very well last Saturday in Leverkusen. It’ll be a big challenge, but we want to win.
“We’re pleased we have more options and a larger squad. That’s important for the coming weeks. We hope that Noussair Mazraoui comes back well and can train today. Also when Minjae Kim comes back, we’ll have good competition for places, which we want in order to keep the quality high. We want to be successful as a whole club. I’m very pleased we’ve got more options than in recent weeks.”
Gerardo Seoane: “When you play against the top teams, you need to play really well across the board. The other team also has to have an off day. From time to time against Leverkusen, we wanted to press higher up the pitch and go on the attack, but we didn’t manage to do that. Sitting back worked well, however.
“We’ll have to be quicker on the counter and use space better than we did last weekend against Bayern. We’re planning on preparing as much as we can for the opposition and playing as well as we can in all departments.
“Bayern might not have as much quality out wide as they usually do because of injuries. That being said, the players who are going to be on the pitch at the weekend are all good enough and they’ll be aiming to win the title and play in the Champions League. We’re not quite on their level, so we’ll need to be on our A game if we want to get anything from the match.”
Freiburg v VfB Stuttgart
Christian Streich: “Stuttgart’s quality has been evident since last season. They were very strong in the second half of the season. Obviously they have possibilities through the companies that support them. Because of that they’ve got a very strong team who are tactically and technically very good.
“We wanted to go into the home game with a positive mindset, really take the game to our opponents and get the fans fully on board with our style of play.”
Sebastian Hoeneß: “This match is a huge chance for us to pick up where we left off against Leipzig. I don’t just mean the result, but the way we played because against Leipzig we really got the idea of playing with high concentration and high quality. Freiburg will be a different game, but we have to start well again and then see what questions Freiburg pose us. It’s a difficult place to go because they’re strong at home again.”
Mainz v Werder Bremen
Jan Siewert: “They approach things with a compact midfield and wait for opportunities to counterattack. However, we don’t want to get caught in those situations and need to be more accurate with our passing game. That’s also been the focus this week. We need to be far better when playing out from the back, as we left a lot to be desired last time out in Frankfurt. Nadiem can help with that, but he’s not solely responsible all of a sudden.
“For all those on the pitch, it’s about: How can we be more accurate? How can we get into the final third? We want to focus on our playing style and not be guided by the opposition. It’s crucial that we play courageously at home and try to score goals.”
Ole Werner: “It is a tough away game, one that will challenge us in every aspect. Mainz play and defend with a great deal of organisation. We know what we need to do, and now it’s up to us to produce it on the pitch again.”
VfL Bochum v Augsburg
Thomas Letsch: “We have another big task ahead of us. Augsburg will come at us aggressively. We will probably have less opportunity to play out from the back. Both teams have similar approaches. We are direct table neighbors. It’s a good chance to overtake your competitor. We have a good record at home and we want to maintain it. But there will be no decision about whether to stay in the league tomorrow either.
“When preparing for the game, it doesn’t always necessarily matter which player is on the pitch. It’s generally about the opponent’s strengths and what the structure looks like.”
Jess Thorup: “I’m very pleased with the way the team has performed in the first three games after the winter break. We want to take this confidence into the match against Bochum. It’s a big game. Bochum are a side that love a challenge. They’re good at pressing and are good in the air. That being said, the players know what to expect from the opposition.
“We’ll be going into the lion’s den. It’s sure to be an amazing atmosphere and we’re really looking forward to it. It’s why we love football as players and coaches.”
Darmstadt v Bayer Leverkusen
Torsten Lieberknecht: “Sebastian Polter will train with the team for the first time today. He is basically ready to play. We will discuss this with him again today for how long and when. Polti will not be the saviour. But he will embody what he told me on the phone: he is enthusiastic about this task. He is the player we were looking for as an additional component. I’m glad he’s here.
“With Leverkusen we have an exceptional team coming our way. A top team that is capable of becoming German champions. This is a team where every cog fits. They have an extremely homogeneous team on the pitch. That’s another reason why they are where they are.”
Xabi Alonso: “They [Darmstadt] play with heart- they have quality. We have to produce a complete performance. It doesn’t matter where we are in the table and where they are, we have to be ready. I have played in Darmstadt and there is a special atmosphere in the stadium. They are fighting in order to have the chance to stay in the Bundesliga at the end of the season.
“Borja Iglesias is fully fit. He trained normally at Betis and also the whole week here. Borja is a candidate therefore to play. We’ll need to see for how long. He is a super striker and it’s very important for us that we have him.”
Köln v Eintracht Frankfurt
Timo Schultz: “Eintracht is close to the Champions League places, has come out of the winter break well and is on the way up. Accordingly, we already know that there is a challenge coming our way. They have an extremely strong defence and an outstanding goalkeeper. But our focus is always on ourselves. We have a home game, we approach it as we want to get three points and we are confident. For us it will be about being wide awake in every phase of the game, protecting our own goal first and foremost and exerting so much stress that the opponent makes one or two mistakes.
“If we manage to put them under pressure again and again and get them involved in duels and take the spectators with us, then I believe that we will have our situations. We have to be a little more cold-blooded and then I can trust us to do anything.”
Dino Toppmöller: “At the end of the day we want to win every game. The lads who were here already, the new signings, the coaching team and the staff have very high expectations when it comes to their own work. Köln are a very pro-active team with a very bold high-pressing game. We have to play good football under pressure while also finding simple solutions. We’re heading into the game with confidence.
“We’re very happy with the transfer window and are very pleased that Etikite joined us yesterday. We’ll have to see how he does on the training pitch and who makes the squad for tomorrow.”
VfL Wolfsburg v Hoffenheim (Sunday)
Niko Kovac: “With Kevin Behrens we are getting a player who has already experienced a lot in his footballing life and who gives us something that we don’t currently have in the squad in this form. He brings the physicality and power to our attack. It is estimated that Tiago Tomas will be out for the next four weeks, Patrick Wimmer is still in advanced training and we are also slowly bringing Lukas Nmecha back up to speed.
“Maxence Lacroix is sidelined today due to adductor problems but should be ready for action on Sunday. Max Arnold trained with the team again today, Yannick Gerhardt yesterday.”
Pellegrino Matarazzo: “They have clear processes and some strong players in the ranks. They’ve lacked a bit of penetration in the final third, but we shouldn’t underestimate them. They have a high individual quality. I expect a powerful Wolfsburg team. A win would of course be good for us. I can only focus on what moves us forward. We are training intensively to ensure that it works on Sunday. That makes me feel good. We finally want to reward ourselves for what we do. The team is too good for the current results.
“Recently the results away from home haven’t been so good, at home we’ve been unbeaten for a few games, even if we haven’t won recently. But it’s about the way we play. We want to be active, whether at home or away. Then you are able to win games at any time. We have to show that on Sunday.”
RB Leipzig v Union Berlin (Sunday)
Marco Rose: “We’re not happy. We’ve lost our last three games. We’re not used to this. The three games were all different. Now, it’s important that we don’t sugarcoat things. We need to address some painful subjects, especially after the match against Stuttgart.
It’s also important to note that, after all the comings and goings in summer, we were able to get into a good rhythm and play well in a lot of games. At the end of the day, though, football is a results business and we’re not getting the results at the moment. We’re well aware of that, but we know full well what we’re capable of achieving. We want to show that on Sunday.
“I’ve watched Union’s last game. It reminded me of the early days under Urs Fischer. They’re incredibly solid and have a desire to work off the ball. They play in a 3-5-2 system. Even Bayern took a long time to score against them last week, and Bayern also needed to withstand one or two dangerous situations at the back.
“It’ll be a difficult game which will be decided by the fine margins. As RB Leipzig, we can be quietly confident of winning the game with the great players that we have, the things we’ve worked on and our fans behind us, who we’ll definitely need at the weekend.”
Marie-Louise Eta (assistant): “Leipzig are strong opponents with good individual strength. They bring a high level of intensity and are dangerous when switching possession both after winning and losing the ball. They’ve lost their last four games and people are quick to talk about a crisis at Leipzig.
“However, they have also played well in recent games and have the class to end a crisis at any time. We’re looking forward to the game and will support each other on the pitch, be compact and try to capitalise on the opportunities Leipzig offer us.”