Julian, many congratulations on making your Bundesliga debut. What impressions have you taken away from the game against SC Freiburg?
“For me, it was super to play in front of a crowd like that on the first day of the season. My objective before the season was and still is to get as much playing time as possible. The fact that I made my Bundesliga debut at the first opportunity makes me very happy. The defeat was unfortunate but we’re on a good path and will hopefully do better in Heidenheim this weekend.”
You have racked up your first minutes in the Bundesliga and also scored a goal away to VfB Lübeck in the DFB-Pokal. Have you arrived in Hoffenheim?
“In the first one or two weeks, I first of all had to get my bearings and settle in. But since the training camp at the latest, I have really felt very comfortable and have a good relationship with the boys, who have welcomed me here very nicely. So it’s getting better and better.”
You’re away to 1. FC Heidenheim at the weekend. You know the opposition because you’ve often played against Frank Schmidt’s team with SC Paderborn in recent seasons. What will you need to be prepared for?
“Heidenheim are a very strong team mentally. They show bite and leave everything on the pitch – you could see that over the last few years in the 2. Bundesliga. Everyone runs for each other there, it’ll be a tough task. We will not underestimate them.”
Games in Heidenheim are regarded as unpleasant for away teams. Why is that?
“I cannot answer that exactly but I can confirm it. Games in Heidenheim have always been nasty. They perform very strongly with their fans behind them, you notice the enormous sense of solidarity. It is really very difficult to play there.”
Despite your knowledge of the difficulty, you’re the favourites. How will you approach the game?
“We would like to improve upon the things that we didn’t do well against Freiburg this time – especially in terms of defensive compactness. We know what we’re capable of in possession, we want to show those strengths on the pitch.”