VfL Wolfsburg finally returned to competitive action last Sunday, when they eased past Makkabi Berlin in the first round of the DFB Cup. Ahead of the Wolves’ Bundesliga opener against 1. FC Heidenheim on Saturday 19 August at the Volkswagen Arena (at 15:30 CEST), VfL sporting director Sebastian Schindzielorz talked about his day-to-day work, the objectives for the season and the game against Heidenheim.
Sebastian Schindzielorz, the summer break is over. As sporting director, how does that feel?
Sebastian Schindzielorz: “It’s a very intensive period for everyone involved. The players and staff are gearing up for the new season, and the transfer window is still open. We’ve been working really hard and effectively throughout the club for the last few weeks, so my perception is obviously different. But I’m looking forward to the start just as much as the fans and I’m certain that we’re well prepared and will have a good campaign.”
There were quite a few changes to the squad this summer. Are any more comings and goings likely?
Schindzielorz: “That’s not an easy question to answer. You always have to take two things into account: on the one hand you want to establish a certain core early on so that the boys can get used to movement patterns, get involved in team building and be aware of the hierarchies. On the other hand there are countries who start their squad-building later on. You also have to factor that in and remain adaptable for opportunities that might arise a bit later.”
After a successful start in the DFB Cup, promoted side Heidenheim are now coming to the Volkswagen Arena. Would you have preferred to begin against a more well-known team like Gladbach, Freiburg or Werder Bremen?
Schindzielorz: “No, not at all. You can’t pick and choose your fixtures, anyway. Every team in the Bundesliga has a lot of quality and present many challenges. Heidenheim will be a tough nut to crack. They’re a team that have been playing together for years and they cover a lot of ground. But we’re looking forward to the challenge and can hardly wait to get started.”
Having finished last season in eighth place, what are the objectives for the new campaign?
Schindzielorz: “Here in Wolfsburg we stand for work and development. That means that we constantly want to improve. That goes not just for individual players but also for the team as a whole. Obviously, we want to improve on our position in the table and finish higher up than we did last season. We need to have a real sense of togetherness, because it’s going to be a very intensive season.”