You are ending your playing career. What was the determining factor in your decision?
Kai Herdling: Unfortunately, my knee can’t hold up to competitive sport anymore. I have had to more or less end my career against my will due to the injury.
You were not able to play in any matches this season because of your injury – how has the season been for you?
Herdling: The season was a very difficult one for us. It was turbulent and had a lot of lows. In the end we turned in around and can celebrate a successful year. We are all happy that we have managed to secure safety and that we will be playing in the Bundesliga next season. We are hoping that we can take this forward now and build on it.
How much have you been able to support the team from the outside?
Herdling: If you don’t play in any matches and are always out it is extremely difficult to have a positive influence. I always tried to build the guys‘ confidence and be there for them during difficult periods. I tried to listen to the players and find out where it was going wrong. It wasn’t easy for me either but I hope that I can continue to help the team.
There have been two coach changes. Why has Julian Nagelsmann done so well?
Herdling: Julian has brought back the style of football that we want to play. The team defends positively and is aggressive going forward. Obviously, the way he handles the each individual player also has a large influence on the performance. He knows who he needs and how to tackle problems, however, a lot of the groundwork for this change had been laid by Huub Stevens already.
Looking back on your time at TSG, are there and special moments or memories?
Herdling: there are so many moments that it is difficult to pick one. Obviously, I will never forget the DFB Cup match against Bayer Leverkusen in 2003. We were only in the Regional League at the time and I scored the goal to make it 3-2 in the quarterfinals. The promotion was also really impressive both as amateurs and then as professionals. I have experienced many great things here – there really isn’t just one moment.
How have you found the development of TSG?
Herdling: In the past few years we have achieved a lot, especially on the pitch, but also with respect to the infrastructure with the amazing stadium and modern training centre. That is why we have had so much success with our youth teams. All of the hard work has been rewarded by a ninth season in the Bundesliga and the fact that we have one of the best academies in Germany.
What is next for you?
Herdling: I have the possibility of staying with the club. We are currently in intensive talks. I would like to stay faithful to TSG.
What are your hopes personally and for TSG?
Herdling: It is important for the club and for the region, that things calm down and we have another decent season. Personally, my biggest wish is for my kids, my wife and myself to stay healthy.
Is there anyone in the club that you would particularly like to thank?
Herdling: I would like to thank Dietmar Hopp and Gerd Oswald and everyone in the club who has supported me all the way. I also can’t forget to thank my wife and kids.