Simon, three games, three goals, with one in each game. You couldn’t have gotten off to a better start in 2022, or?
That’s true, it’s started really well for me, personally. Especially after my injury, I’m very happy to have been able to have come back from it so well. But, more important than my own personal success is that we are doing well as a team and that we are winning games, no matter who scores for us in the end.
We took seven points from the three games against Kiel, Aue and Regensburg. Are you satisfied with that return?
Our aim is to pick up as many points as possible. I’d obviously be even happier if we had taken nine points from those three games. Especially because I know we could have beaten Kiel. I hit the crossbar just minutes after kick-off, and Salif had a great chance to score in the first half as well. We also dominated after the break. Unfortunately, the result didn’t reflect that.
After the last matchday, things remain exciting in the top third of the table. There’s only two points separating first and sixth place. What will be the key to cementing ourselves in the top of the table over the next weeks?
On the one hand, we need to deliver strong performances on the pitch, and on the other, we will also need strong nerves. We already have a strong mentality within the team. You can’t underestimate the importance of that in this league.
There have been several nice moments this season already, and this is definitely one of them.
Your next opponent will be Fortuna Düsseldorf. You scored a brace in a 3-1 home win earlier this season, with the final goal coming in the closing minutes. That set off a huge celebration, with sporting director Rouven Schröder even running all the way to the corner flag to join in. Was that the highlight of the season so far?
I still remember it well. It was an incredible feeling to celebrate together with the team and all the fans at the stadium. I won’t forget it any time soon. There have been several nice moments this season already, and this is definitely one of them.
It’s been a while since Düsseldorf last won a game. Fortuna are still yet to score or pick up a point in the second half of the season. What kind of game are you expecting?
It will be interesting to see the impact the change of coach has had on their formation and their style of play. The team definitely haven’t recorded the results that they could have in recent weeks. Even if we beat them earlier this season, it was still a tough game. We know that we cannot underestimate Fortuna. Our opponents will be highly-motivated, and not just because of their new coach.
You know the new Fortuna head coach well, as you played for Daniel Thioune at Hamburger SV last season.
I’m looking forward to seeing him again. We have a good relationship with another. Daniel is a great guy. I’m very happy that he’s taking over a club like Düsseldorf, with their long history. I haven’t congratulated him yet. I will do that on Sunday at 15:20 CET, when we will hopefully have three more points on the board. We will likely have some time then to chat.
They called Daniel Ginczek and me ‘bulls in attack’ when we played together in Stuttgart.
Düsseldorf have also brought in Daniel Ginczek to help them secure safety. You also know him well, after all, he was your strike partner at VfB Stuttgart. What defines him? Are you still in touch with him?
We were in touch when he signed for Düsseldorf and spoke about this game. They called us ‘bulls in attack’ when we played together in Stuttgart, which says it all really. Daniel isn’t just physically strong, but he’s also really quick. He’s got a good shot as well. We will definitely need to be alert against him on Sunday.
You played for Fortuna for six months in the early days of your career. Are there any familiar faces from back then that you’re looking forward to seeing again?
It’s been a while since I donned the Fortuna shirt. There have been several staffing changes since then. I only really know the team doctor, Dr. Ulf Blecker, still. Regardless, I’m still very much looking forward to the game.