„Great self-belief“

VfL-Wolfsburg-Sportdirektor Marcel Schäfer.

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After two months without a competitive fixture, the Green-and-Whites face five Bundesliga and DFB Cup games in the space of just 15 days, leaving Niko Kovac and his players little time to rest.

Before the Wolves attempt to pick up where they left off at the end of 2022 against SC Freiburg at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday afternoon (kick-off 15:30 CET), sporting director Marcel Schäfer spoke about the current transfer window, VfL’s upcoming games and his new role as managing director for sport, which he will assume on 1 February.

You still have until 31 January to make new signings or sell players. There’s speculation in the media about the likes of Nicolas Cozza, Josip Brekalo and Josuha Guilavogui. Can you give us any information on the changes you plan to make to the structure of the squad?

Schäfer: “It’s definitely going to remain a quiet transfer window for us – both in terms of departures and arrivals. It’s normal for one or two players not to be happy with their situation. That’s not unusual over the course of a season when you’re part of a team, so we have nothing to report at the moment.”

The new year starts with consecutive midweek fixtures. You play Freiburg and Hertha before the second half of the season officially gets under way with a trip to Bremen. What points tally would you settle for from those three games?

Schäfer: “Generally speaking we obviously want to win every game, but we need to take one game at a time. We’ve got Freiburg coming up – a team who are playing very well. That’s going to be a big challenge, but we want to pick up where we left off in November and go into the game with great self-belief. We’ve had a long enough break now and we’re all looking forward to getting back into a rhythm in the Bundesliga. There’s nothing better.”

You’re succeeding the retiring Jörg Schmadtke as VfL managing director at the end of January, with Sebastian Schindzielorz replacing you as sporting director. Does the joy of having new responsibilities outweigh the sadness that your successful collaboration with Schmadtke is coming to an end?

Schäfer: “There are mixed feelings. I’m very, very grateful for the time I spent with Jörg. I didn’t take for granted that he took me under his wing while letting me peer over his shoulder. Jörg has given me more and more responsibility and has taken it upon himself to train and educate me. I’ll always be grateful for him for that very formative and – if you reflect on those four and a half years – successful period. That’s why there really is a bit of sadness. I don’t know yet what it’s going to be like when our offices are no longer next to one another. On the other hand, I’m obviously happy I can take another step forward in my personal development.”

„Great self-belief“

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