MAR­CEL SCH­MELZER “We t o l d o u r s e l v e s o v e r t h e s u mmer t h a t we woul d n ’ t letany­thing­like­last sea­son­hap­pe­na­gain”


fi­fi­fi­first Have you been to Dubai be­fore? Yes, two or three years ago a large group of play­ers came here on hol­i­days. I think we were four or five cou­ples plus [for­mer BVB mid­fielder] Kevin Grosskreutz.

What’s it like work­ing here in­stead of hol­i­day­ing dur­ing the win­ter break? The train­ing com­plex is a dream. That’s why we came here. It’s a long jour­ney, com­pared to Europe, but we gladly ac­cepted that be­cause the train­ing con­di­tions are so good.

A year ago, the mood was very dif­fer­ent... Yes, but we knew that the win­ter break was a great chance to turn things around. It gives you time to clear your head and start all over again for the se­cond half of the sea­son.

But wasn’t the pres­sure enor­mous last win­ter af­ter your poor start to the sea­son? Dur­ing the camp it­self, the pres­sure was al­most gone be­cause there weren’t any com­pet­i­tive games. That’s the good thing: you can to­tally fo­cus on the train­ing ses­sions. The pres­sure re­turns when league foot­ball be­gins again at the end of Jan­uary.

How is it pos­si­ble that you can fol­low such a dread­ful sea­son with such a fan­tas­tic first half of the 2015-16 cam­paign? It’s not easy to ex­plain such things. Apart from the ob­vi­ous changes – a new coach and a few new play­ers – maybe it’s be­cause we had been through such a dif­fi­cult sea­son and told our­selves in the sum­mer that we would not let any­thing like this hap­pen again. We also had a head­start be­cause of the Europa League qual­if­ers. When the Bun­desliga sea­son be­gan, we were ready and rar­ing to go.

You epit­o­mise the turn­around, be­cause you are prob­a­bly en­joy­ing one of your best sea­sons ever at left-back. Has the team’s new style also helped your per­sonal game? Maybe it has, yes. In our new sys­tem, the full-backs are po­si­tioned fur­ther up­field. At the start of the sea­son, it was even higher, but it turned out the team be­came vul­ner­a­ble to counter-at­tacks, so now the full-backs play a bit deeper. But it’s still fur­ther up­field than it used to be, which of course means that both full-backs are now more reg­u­larly in­volved in the at­tacks.

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