Bundesliga matchday 22 pre-match presser

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 22.

Köln v Werder Bremen 

Timo Schultz: “Werder got off to a very good start to the year, they scored a coup at Bayern Munich – and not even undeservedly. They collected significantly more points in the first four games than in the first half of the season. I think they found each other and specifically strengthened themselves in one position or another over the winter. There is a structure that has grown together, developed in the first half of the season and is now scoring points accordingly. 

“That could even be a little role model for us if you stay stable, believe in yourself, work on the issues and bring continuity to the pitch so that you can then start a small series. What concerns me personally: Werder was my first club, back when I came to boarding school from East Frisia. I had great years there, Werder is a great club. I’m always happy when I can go to the stadium and meet old friends.

“We will need every player. Whether it’s the 17 games in a row or maybe just nine minutes – that can also be the decisive nine minutes.”

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Ole Werner: “It’s only matchday 22, so the table isn’t playing a role in our strategy at this stage. It would be different if there were only two games left, but right now, both teams are just looking to collect all three points. They’ve found their feet and have brought even more pace into their game. Their playing style has stayed the same for the most part, but getting a new head coach will certainly have given them a new lease of life.

“We’re prepared for the fact that it can happen, but we ultimately have no control over the situation. If something arises, we will try to make the best possible use of the break in play.”

VfL Wolfsburg v Borussia Dortmund

Niko Kovac: “Koen Casteels will train with the team for the first time this week tomorrow. If he gives the “green light” afterwards, he will also be in goal. Aster Vranckx and Sebastiaan Bornauw are back in team training, Tiago Tomas will start tomorrow. Rogerio, however, will be out for the weekend.”

Edin Terzic: “Consistency is the big goal. We don’t just want to be consistent within a week, but also during a game. We managed that against Freiburg. Wolfsburg are not having an easy phase when you see the results. Nevertheless, they have a good team. Their processes look really good. 

“In the last nine games there have been a lot of draws and all the others have been decided by one goal. This suggests that it is extremely difficult to win against them. They were close games and they were close to winning. For us it’s about continuing the process. We want to get the next three points with an important away game in order to further improve our situation.”

Mainz v Augsburg

Bo Henriksen: “The game against Augsburg has to be like a party. Everybody in the stadium needs to bring this kind of energy and be ready to fight for one other. Playing in such big stadiums is a dream for all of us, we need to show how much we enjoy it. We will need to be a horrible side to play against, as Mainz traditionally have been. 

“If we manage that, we have a chance, both in home and away games. I’m looking forward to the weekend and I’m optimistic we will field a team full of confidence. Our players will not have any reason to not be.”

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Jess Thorup: “We’re on the right track and we want to win in Mainz. We’ve shown that we can be successful away from home and we approach every game with the goal of picking up three points. We need to be mentally aware that the game against Mainz will be very tough. 

“I know Bo Henriksen from when we did our coaching badges together in Denmark and I’ve been tracking his progress for a long time. I’m excited to see how he does in Mainz. 

Hoffenheim v Union Berlin

Pellegrino Matarazzo: “They did not have a good start to the season but have stabilised under their new coach. Union defend with passion in unity; in attack, they rely on their switch play and their strength from set-pieces. It’s not easy to score a goal from open play against Union. Only Bayern Munich have managed to score against them from open play in recent weeks; all other goals have come from counter-attacks or set-pieces.

“We will defend and bring the attitude onto the pitch that we showed against Köln. We’ll be more flexible in our attacking play and show greater efficiency again. That’s why we’ll win.

“I feel pressure in every game, I’m aware of our situation too. But it’s not advantageous to feel the pressure in our day-to-day operations. You still need room to make decisions. Otherwise, you’re not able to act. It’s about finding the right balance between tension and relaxation. I feel a close connection to my players.”

Nenad Bjelica: “After a very good week of training, a number of players have returned to the squad, which is why we want to take this positive energy into the away game. Hoffenheim are a strong team in terms of play and will certainly want to score at home. We want to stand up to them and take our chances to pick up some points away from home.”

Heidenheim v Bayer Leverkusen

Frank Schmidt: “We play at home. We have shown often enough this season that we can trip up the supposedly big favourites, We want to try with great conviction to make the impossible possible and take something from the game. I think it’s a game where you have to play either or, there’s not much in the middle. I want to see that everyone believes that you can create a surprise.

“You just have to look at Xabi Alonso’s vita, I’m a very, very, very, very small fish. Facing him as a coach is definitely something special. As a coach he is on the verge of climbing to the next level, as a player he has had incredible success. When I look at what my career looked like – and his. There’s a universe in between.”

Xabi Alonso: “We are expecting a very good opponent. Heidenheim is in top form and has played very well recently. We are prepared for tomorrow and have to give everything there. It will be a very difficult away game.

“Every game is important. We can’t rest and always have to look forward. We still have 13 Bundesliga games ahead of us. The next step is Heidenheim, where we will give everything. We were missing a few players due to the AFCON2023. Now we are full again and we need everyone to maintain the level we have achieved.

Frank Schmidt is a super person and great trainer. I admire him a lot and am looking forward to seeing him again.”

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Darmstadt v VfB Stuttgart

Torsten Lieberknecht: “We want to win the game. And we believe we can win against Stuttgart. We need this firm faith. We would be very happy with one point, but we would prefer three. That’s why we strive for this. To achieve this, we need a top performance as a team and have to deliver a perfect game. In addition, everyone has to individually grow beyond themselves in their position. We will also come into situations against Stuttgart, third in the league, where we need that little bit of luck to get through them. We will therefore try to invest everything again.

“VfB Stuttgart has a lot of gamblers and free spirits in the team and an overall good mix in the team. Their style of play is similar to that of Bayer Leverkusen, they play in high possession with a similar structure with little contact between the rows. 

“This also has to do with the fact that after last season we were able to free the boys’ minds and awaken their enthusiasm for the game. This is primarily the responsibility of the coach who made it work with his coaching team. A clear trainer’s handwriting can be seen. And they are right where they are now.”

Sebastian Hoeneß: ““It’s going to be a tricky game. Darmstadt are in a relegation battle and every game is enormously important. They’ll do everything they can to make life difficult for us. There are no easy games in the Bundesliga. We’re confident we can cause Darmstadt problems with a good performance, but only if we’re at 100 percent mentally and physically.”

RB Leipzig v Borussia Mönchengladbach

Marco Rose: “The Gladbachers are defensively stable and defend diligently – they are good at switching. With players like Alassane Pléa, Florian Neuhaus and Julian Weigl, Gladbach also has very good footballers in their own ranks. So we need a really good performance tomorrow.

“They’re great guys, some of whom I’m still in contact with. Back then, I had an exciting and successful time as a coach in Gladbach. We qualified for the Champions League and made it to the round of 16. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot of people again.”

Gerardo Seoane: “Leipzig haven’t had the results they were hoping for in the last few games, but have nevertheless shown good performances. The team have had plenty of chances to score but, as was the case on Tuesday against Real Madrid, the efficiency just isn’t there. 

“For me, Leipzig are one of the best four teams in the Bundesliga. They have a clear shape, and when they’re on the attack they play with high intensity and a lot of dynamism. They have an enormous amount of individual quality, too. We have a big challenge ahead of us.

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“It’ll definitely be an entirely different task on Saturday to last time out against Darmstadt, more comparable with the previous games in Leverkusen and Munich. We have to do everything we can not to get hemmed in and get a certain level of control over our positional play if we want to cause our opponents problems. 

“We’ve been more solid in defence lately, which has come at the expense of our attack a bit. Against Darmstadt, we weren’t very precise on the counter and in passing play. We have to improve in that area.”

Freiburg v Eintracht Frankfurt (Sunday)

Christian Streich: “We take the basics with us and then we want to try to implement them. There is not a millimeter backwards. It was clear that the team found solutions [versus lens in the Europa League]. It was easy to play and everyone gave 100 percent commitment to the team.”

Dino Toppmöller: “Freiburg are having a steady season, they always do really good work. They got a good result against a very strong French first-division team on Thursday. As Christian Streich demands, they always look to get into the game through commitment, desire and willingness to fight.

“They have really good sequences in their attacking play, they’ve been playing together for what feels like years and they always strengthen at the right time. It’s uncomfortable for every Bundesliga team to play against Freiburg, but it’s also uncomfortable to play against us. That’s what we need on the pitch.”

“We’re concentrating purely on delivering a good performance. We’re not thinking about any scenarios. We’re completely focused on the next task and what’s coming our way.”

VfL Bochum v Bayern Munich (Sunday)

Thomas Letsch: “You can say that Bayern are irritated in the current situation. But that is not an issue for us. We’re talking about Bayern Munich. At the beginning we heard what the economic conditions look like. The history of Bavaria is also well known. It’s clear to us who the big favorites are: Bayern Munich. You still have the chance to become German champions and win the Champions League. We are the absolute outsiders, Bayern are the big favourites.

We’re excited, we’re looking forward to this game. It’s my first home game, which I can experience at home against FC Bayern. It’s even nicer at home. Floodlights, special atmosphere – we believe in ourselves and are convinced of ourselves.”

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Thomas Tuchel: “We need to get back that ease. That’s tough. I’m not expecting a walk in the park in Bochum. It’ll be a tough pitch, tough opponent, who’s got good results lately. A physical opponent. Bochum played very well against Stuttgart and Augsburg. I’m expecting a very hard-fought game. We’ve also adapted our training, but that’s normal.

“I’m not expecting a deep, tactically well organised defensive block that just lets us have the ball, but one that gets at us high up the pitch, plays long balls, fights for the ball. It’s a completely new challenge. It doesn’t matter who it is. At Bayern it’s about always getting back up and putting your neck on the line. We’re still in second place. We don’t need to be ashamed of that. We don’t need any sympathy.”

About Mathew Burt 1058 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball

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