Daniel, it would be fair to say that the season started well with a 0-0 draw in Gladbach. Would you agree with that?
As a footballer you want to win every game, but you can definitely be satisfied with a point at Gladbach on matchday 1. We could have gone ahead with a bit of luck. If we had, then the game probably would have gone our away. We won’t think about this chance any longer, as we already have one more point now than we did after the first five games of last season.
David Wagner praised the team after the game, but also made it clear that the performance was a long way from being perfect.
He’s absolutely right. I think we did a lot of nice things and put a few good plans into action that we worked on in training. We were very compact at the back, which is extremely important. We know that we have to be better on the break though. After starting pre-season around seven weeks ago, I think we are on the right path and I’m certain that we will continue to improve every day.
After starting pre-season around seven weeks ago, I think we are on the right path.
You are now playing further forwards under David Wagner. What is the biggest difference from your role last season?
I’m closer to the goal (laughs). This position isn’t new to me. I played there for many years at Wolfsburg and Freiburg and I also spent time on the left-hand side too.
Alexander Nübel said after the game in Mönchengladbach that the players all have clear minds again. Have you all managed to forget about last season now?
I agree with Alex. You can see on the pitch that we are a unit and believe in one another. We stick together as a squad, which I’ve noticed in every training session. Even the guys who haven’t played yet are still giving 100% every day. I think this will all reflect in our future results.
The fans would be delighted about that. The last Bundesliga home win came a long time ago…
That was the 2-1 win against Wolfsburg last season on matchday 18, right? That was a very long time ago indeed. We intend on being a lot better this season, not just at home but in every game. You get a positive feeling seeing how many fans follow us around every week and the requirement to give 100% in every minute of every game also drives us on.
We’re all glad to have such amazing fans supporting us.
Can you feel the fans’ support during games?
Absolutely. It pushes me on massively and I think it’s the same for my teammates. We’re all glad to have such amazing fans supporting us.
You are very popular amongst the S04 fans right now, having recently been voted as the fans’ ‘Player of the Season 2018/19’. You were given the award at Schalke day – how did this feel?
It was a real honour for me. I was delighted to receive it and will give my all again this year. I hope that it will be a bit closer in the voting next season, as that will mean that the whole team will have had a strong season.
The first home game of the season is against Bayern. Your personal record against the record champions isn’t particularly positive, having only won once in your 15 Bundesliga meetings against them. Why do you think we can win this time?
Because we are really up for our first home game in more than three months. We know that it will be difficult, but we’re up for the challenge. Bayern only drew against Hertha on matchday 1, so why won’t they drop points against us? I’m expecting an open game.