Kaltenbach: "We demand maximum intensity"

TSG Hoffenheim are preparing for the 2018/19 campaign in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Speaking in an interview with, co-coach Matthias Kaltenbach discussed the high intensity in training, his impressions of the new players and the first summer friendly against Unterhaching on Friday.

The team have now been together for 11 days. The TSG players have completed five sessions at the training camp in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. What are your first impressions?

"All the players come across as motivated and eager to learn. It's fun to work with them. The lactate values were all okay, too. We're under the impression that every first-team player followed his own regime over the holidays. But in my eyes it's actually rather normal that a top-level athlete would take care of his fitness and his body while on holiday."

Alfons Amade, Christoph Baumgartner and David Otto have all joined from the U19s. How are the trio getting on?

"The lads know the philosophy of the club and have spent time training with us before in the past. That's an advantage for them because it means the change is not so big, they're really making a very good impression. However, we'll have to wait and see how long they can keep up the level for. That's the trick for young players: maintaining that high level over a prolonged period of time rather than peaking at the outset and lasting only a few sessions."

And how are the new signings getting along?

"The change has been bigger for the new signings from outside the club, so some of the procedures have been more difficult for them. In some cases there are language barriers because we try to speak German within the group. But we sometimes do have translations for individual exercises. That's not a problem on the pitch given that we have several players who speak several languages. The new signings already know that the training is designed differently here. We do sometimes see some questioning looks from them, but it's ultimately all doable and we rely on them asking questions in the event it's unclear. That has worked out very well up until now, they've integrated very well within the group and on the training pitch and it's seemed as if it's been fun for them."

The intensity in the sessions is very high…

"In terms of the scope and length of the sessions, I wouldn't say that we're operating in the top range. There are colleagues who like to train twice a day for two hours during pre-season. We don't usually do that. But our exercises are very intense, meaning that we're placing them under peak loads and the lads can really feel it in the breaks. We demand maximum intensity but the players give it in return. Our highest-intensity days are on Tuesday or Wednesday each week, because it's on those days that we encounter our peak load in weeks that have midweek fixtures. That, alongside the friendly matches at the weekend, will help us simulate the additional physical load that we will face being in the Champions League."

You have your first friendly at 17:00 CET on Friday. TSG will face third-division side SpVgg Unterhaching in Pöcking. Will all the players get a run-out?

"We'll have to wait and see how many of the 28 players are ready to play against Unterhaching on Friday. But in principle we'd like to have each player on the pitch for one half if possible."

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