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 21.
Borussia Dortmund v Freiburg (Friday)
Edin Terzic: “We treated the performance in Heidenheim critically. In front of our fans in our stadium, we are willing to show a better performance and keep the three points here. We can understand the fans’ frustration.
“But we have to hold on to the things that make us good. Previously we had seen progress in a number of points; defensively we were very stable, conceding one goal in four games. But there wasn’t enough going forward.
“Freiburg always stays true to their path, even if there are times when they don’t achieve their results. The first game was extremely close, they come with the aim of scoring. But we are confident that we will perform better tomorrow than we did last week.”
Christian Streich: “Be brave. Play your own game. Even Dortmund don’t always do everything right. Of course they have enormous quality, but there are always chances. We want to play constructively – and we can do that too.
“You can’t reinvent the wheel. It’s about how the eleven on the pitch support each other and what speed we have. We deserved at least a draw in the first game. Dortmund was ice cold. But the first game was good, that gives us confidence.”
Union Berlin v VfL Wolfsburg
Nenad Bjelica: “Wolfsburg are a team that is very strong and has very good players. Now with Kevin Behrens they have a striker, who is dangerous at set-pieces and both offensively and defensively. They’re a team that tries to play football. We need to have a lot of aggression, but also playing qualities in order to win.
“We did that in the game here against Darmstadt without m, created lots of chances and could have won by more. I hope that tomorrow with the support of our fans, we’ll produce another good performance and stand here with three points at the end.”
Niko Kovac: “Koen Casteels will not be available this weekend due to a back contusion. Aster Vranckx is currently suffering from muscular problems. We hope that he will be back tomorrow. Maxence Lacroix and Sebastiaan Bornauw were able to train for the first time this week.
“Patrick Wimmer is now partially integrated into team training, but will not be ready for the Union game. Lukas Nmecha is already a week further on, but he is also unlikely to play.”
Eintracht Frankfurt v VfL Bochum
Dino Toppmöller: “Bochum win a great deal of high balls and press high up the pitch. It’s going to be a very intense encounter for both sides. I’m expecting them to press high and be very proactive. Up front they have a no-frills approach and keep things simple, but they do the easy things very well.
“First and foremost, we want to show a reaction to the poor display at Köln and get the crowd behind us from the start with our first actions. Our recent home record is impressive and we want to continue to make Deutsche Bank Park a fortress.”
Thomas Letsch: “The team has a lot of courage and is convinced of the path we are taking. Of course we won’t give up on our football in Frankfurt either. No game is comparable one-to-one. Frankfurt is a team that tries to play from the back. They have a lot of ball possession, even in their own half, and are looking for playful solutions. Frankfurt has a lot of quality in all parts of the team. The returnees from the Africa Cup and the very strong newcomers make the team even better. They come from playful approaches. Our approach will be slightly different than against Augsburg.
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Darmstadt
Gerardo Seoane: “We would have loved to play [in the postponed Pokal match] because there is no better training than a game. It is difficult to assess whether the changed preparation is an advantage or a disadvantage. We accepted it, adapted the training and prepared ourselves as best we could.
“There are few teams that clearly dominate solely through play. Willingness to run, intensity and duel behaviour are very important. We have to be ready to go into duels. The fight is part of it.”
Torsten Lieberknecht: “Borussia Mönchengladbach are so well positioned and have so much man power that – even if they had played last night – they would have been there with the necessary freshness against us. The cancellation therefore doesn’t matter. The Gladbachers have recently increasingly used a 4-3-3 system.
“Especially at home, they have a duty to solve things in a playful way and they also have the players in the squad who can do exactly that. The team found each other after a bit of a problem at the beginning. Being able to play in Gladbach is one of the biggest games. It’s an incredible club with a great fan base. This is pure football in Mönchengladbach. I’m looking forward to the game.
“The fact is that we have to do our jobs and get our points. 1. FC Köln had their moment with their win last weekend. But we will also have our moment. We need results. Therefore we don’t need to look so much at the other places. It is extremely important that we get the guys who are or were injured like Marvin Mehlem back into play quickly. I believe that the moments will still come that can bring about a turning point. That’s not feigned optimism, just my feeling.
Werder Bremen v Heidenheim
Ole Werner: “I hope that we can build on the last few weeks in terms of the willingness to perform, the cooperation and the discipline on the pitch. We’re concentrating on doing our part to make the day a success. This can be achieved with our own efforts and not with gifts from guests.
“Both teams are in a good mood and are bringing their strengths to the pitch. This is also reflected in the results and the points. It is a team that always exudes danger, even when they are not in the game for a while.
“We have played mostly good games here at home recently and scored well. That also has a lot to do with the support of the home crowd. We have a good relationship between the team and the fans. This is what sets us apart as a club not just in recent years, but for much longer.”
Frank Schmidt: “Bremen, like us, are unbeaten in seven games. Given this series, it will be exciting to see who can extend their series or whether both remain undefeated. Bremen has been in good form for weeks, especially at home. Although they don’t necessarily stand out for their dominant possession game – they had less possession in the last home games – they show strength in the counterattack.
“They are very stable, have defended well recently and only conceded a few goals. If you also take into account the home strength and the support of the fans in the Weserstadion, we are unlikely to be favourites. Nevertheless, we have been unbeaten in three away games and will try to take this positive momentum with us in order to defend ourselves in the Weserstadion and be stable, as we have been in many phases of the last few weeks and months.
“I hope that we believe in ourselves, defend ourselves and recognize the spaces that Bremen will offer. High intensity and a lot of commitment will be necessary to get something out of there!”
Augsburg v RB Leipzig
Jess Thorup: “We’ve got to up our game again and need to play well for the full 90. We want to show that we can keep a clean sheet but Leipzig have a lot of quality up front. Our main goal has always been staying up, but I don’t look at the table. I’m focusing on the team.”
Marco Rose: “The mood is always good after a win – but it wasn’t exuberant. After the defeat in Stuttgart , we decided to focus on the results from now on. We stuck to ourselves in a difficult phase and worked with focus. We now want to take the important sense of success against Union Berlin with us onto the pitch.
“The entire team was very happy about the win. And we were definitely able to approach the week with a little more relaxedness. But we won’t overestimate the success against Union Berlin. We need continued positive results for a turnaround. The home win should of course help us with that. I am, as a coach, very excited to see what my team will take with them into the next game.”
Bayer Leverkusen v Bayern Munich
Xabi Alonso: “It’s a big game, against a big opponent. We need a very good performance with a perfect display to win the game. It will be very, very difficult but we want to give it our all because we are in a good moment. We want to use our energy. We expect a strong opponent, with a strong collective and strong individual quality. It will be an emotional and intense game. Our goal is to play a very good game and to win we need an almost perfect performance.
“We feel the motivation that our fans give us. It’s a top game, both teams are in a good position. We are looking forward to a very good atmosphere in our stadium. I will enjoy this game, as will the players. Connecting with our fans is the most important thing for us! Tomorrow we want to celebrate together with our fans after the game.”
Thomas Tuchel: “Normally you’d watch it on TV. I’m very grateful that I have the chance to influence proceedings. We have a very attractive week ahead of us. It’s still early in the season. A win for Leverkusen opens up a gap, but it won’t be over, although it feels like a special moment to lay your cards on the table. It’s about challenging ourselves and therefore the opponent from the first second to the last. We want to take the next step.
“Thirty teams have tried and 30 teams have failed [to beat B04] . There’s been a few last-minute wins for them lately. Their run is extraordinary. That’s thanks to their quality. We’re only two points behind. There’s no reason to hide. It’s the moment to lay your cards on the table. We’ll be ready to challenge Leverkusen. We’re going to Leverkusen to win.
“It’s exciting that two teams are earning points at such a high level. We’ve also had a very good campaign in terms of our history. We’re completely focused on what we can do. We want a statement performance. If we want to win, we need a top performance. It’s the week in which we want to prove ourselves. We’re playing for our own objectives, and our objective is to step things up a notch, and then we can be fine in every game. Then we’ve got the individual quality for it. We’re ready to improve.”
VfB Stuttgart v Mainz (Sunday)
Sebastian Hoeneß: “The team have strong stats under Jan Siewert. It’s very hard to create goalscoring chances against them. They contest and win a lot of challenges, they play and run hard with a lot of long balls and second balls. It’ll be a tough task. It’s important that we’re willing to go to the limit and contest the challenges. We need to be at 100 percent again, like on Tuesday.”
Jan Siewert: “The boys have proven that they can defend themselves and get something with a good approach. The team showed that they can keep up with top opponents away from home. Stuttgart is a team that is flexible in its structure and positioning. Our approach will be to bravely resist, take away their depth and then it is crucial that we have a good, straight-line game structure in order to get behind the line.
“After the game against Union, it was immediately a matter of focusing on the game against Stuttgart. I still have a lot of energy to go in the right direction, to push the process further and to reward ourselves for the work. We have to be better in crucial situations, in front of both goals, but especially in taking advantage of our chances to score. It’s about everyone taking responsibility for the club and now shifting all focus to how we can beat this difficult opponent. I put all my strength into it.”
Hoffenheim v Köln (Sunday)
Pellegrino Matarazzo: “Under their new coach Timo Schultz, they have a different approach and a controlled defensive game. They also play with a lot more speed offensively now, even if that may have something to do with Davie Selke’s injury. Your game has changed.
“We scored a lot of points in the early stages of the season, but recently we dropped a few points because the efficiency wasn’t right. The classification also includes a review of the past twelve months. I started here a year ago, back then we were in 14th place in the table. We are now eighth and close to the European Cup places.
“When I came a year ago, we weren’t able to win in the first few games. Now we are capable of winning every game. But that doesn’t mean we’re satisfied. We want more. We have to condense our dissatisfaction and bring it to the pitch on Sunday.”
Timo Schultz: “Hoffenheim is an extremely strong team. They have really good players, are an absolute top team offensively and are rightly in the chasing pack for the European places. I’m really happy that we have healthy competition and alternatives in every position. Even if you win, that’s not a good excuse for the next weekend. Linton Maina has trained very well and is more than an alternative anyway. I don’t want to rule out changing one or two positions.”