The pre-match press conference ahead of this weekend’s game was a slightly different one this week as head coach Sandro Schwarz was absent due to a stomach bug. In his place was assistant coach Volkan Bulut, who discussed Saturday’s away game against TSG Hoffenheim (18/03/23, 15:30 CET), who spoke at a press conference for the first time. “It’s a new situation for me, but of course we’re in contact with Sandro all the time. We’re either messaging or speaking on the phone and we discuss everything we’re working on,” said the 41-year-old. “For us, it doesn’t mean much that the two clubs are close to each other in the table. We’ll focus on ourselves,” said Bulut on this weekend’s clash against Hoffenheim. Here’s what the assistant coach had to say on:
… the significance of the game and teams nearby in the table:
Volkan Bulut: For us, it doesn’t mean much that the two clubs are close to each other in the table. Like always, we’ll focus on ourselves and our own work. But obviously we have our analysis of the opposition in mind when we devise our approach and plan for the game. We know about Hoffenheim’s recent results, but we are aware of where their strengths lie and where our best chances are regardless of the form that they’re in. We’re expecting them to be aggressive.
… the team evening and the mentality in the squad:
Volkan Bulut: We’re pleased that the players enjoy spending time together, including off the pitch. It’s a very positive sign that they’ve got together and have all bought into our goals for the season. Togetherness is the fundamental part of surviving; that’s non-negotiable. We talk about how it’s not only about eleven players out on the pitch, but also about those who are on the bench and supporting the others, both in terms of their performances and their personal successes. And if they bring a positive approach themselves, it’s more likely that they are rewarded for that.
… the approach to the Hoffenheim game:
Volkan Bulut: We’ve shown several times this season that we can deal with setbacks – and we get them every weekend. Every game is a hurdle that we have to clear in order to get points. Therefore we’ll do everything we can on Saturday to leave everything out on the pitch and deliver the best possible performance.