Dear Kerem, you turned 25 yesterday. Of course we wish you many happy returns, but we saw you on the training pitch yesterday. Because after almost seven weeks away, the summer break is over and the preparations for the 2018/19 season have started. How do you feel?
Kerem Demirbay: "I feel good and I'm very happy to finally be back on the pitch and working with the ball. We're all motivated; we want to have another good season and remain free of serious injuries. I'm very much looking forward to the new season."
You've already completed a few sessions, what impression do you have of the new team?
Demirbay: "I was very positively surprised and am very happy about the new lads. We've brought in some really good footballers who will help us a lot. There's a rhyme and reason to everything that happens here. I'm very confident."
"We want to get through"
Following a debut season in European competition last year, TSG Hoffenheim are now preparing for their first-ever participation in the Champions League group stages. Are you already thinking about the European matches?
Demirbay: "We're all hugely looking forward to it. It wasn't to be expected when I joined Hoffenheim. Last season we exceeded our internal objective. Under Julian Nagelsmann we've developed consistently, we're playing a really beautiful and successful brand of football, and that's why we fully deserve our place in the Champions League. Many of us are still very young, it probably won't all sink in properly until the draw is under way and we're listening to the anthem being played before kick-off on the first matchday."
What's your personal objective for the Champions League?
Demirbay: "We obviously need to keep our feet on the ground and wait for the draw. But it goes without saying that we want to win matches and get through. When you qualify for the Champions League, you want to be successful too. Nobody takes part just to have a few nice games in beautiful stadia. In any case, getting past the group stages would be something special."