FIRST TEAM
08.01.2018

Nagelsmann: "We're further than we were last year"

Since Monday, TSG Hoffenheim have been preparing for the 2018/19 season in optimal conditions at their training camp in Windischgarsten, in the Upper Austrian holiday region of Pyhrn-Priel. Speaking in an interview with achtzehn99.de, head coach Julian Nagelsmann gave his take on pre-season so far.

This Wednesday is your third day of training in Windischgarsten. How do you assess the condition of the team?

"I'm satisfied. All the players have made a very good impression so far. We're currently much further along than we were at the same stage last year. The lads all seem totally focused, eager and hungry. They're approaching everything like it's a Bundesliga match."

The players have joined the team's pre-season preparations at different times. How do you get them all into a consistent physical condition before the domestic campaign kicks off with a DFB Cup tie in Kaiserslautern on 18 August?

"That's a demanding task for us as the coaching staff. We often have to get them training in groups. Another factor to consider is who played for how long in the friendly matches. But it's not a major issue. It won't be so dramatic in the first half of next season, when we'll have lots of games with the midweek fixtures too."

"Andrej will join us full of motivation"

One player is still missing. Andrej Kramaric, who featured for Croatia in the World Cup final on 15 July, won't link up with the squad until next week. How will you try to integrate him into team training?

"I'm not overly concerned about Andrej. He played at the World Cup and then went on a very well-deserved three-week holiday. He'll join us full of motivation. But it'll have to be considered whether it makes sense to field him in the DFB Cup."

Your training programme in Upper Austria is as demanding as ever. New signings have often said that it wasn't easy for them to immediately understand everything being demanded of them. How's that going this time?

"A lot better, as the number of players who know everything is getting bigger. When I did my first pre-season with my coaching staff two years ago, everything was new. New players, new programme. Last year it was still half-new, as a few new lads had joined us but the training remained the same. But now we've got players like Kevin Vogt and Benjamin Hübner, who themselves had to adapt two years ago, to explain to the new lads how things work."

Equally striking is the enormous intensity with which the complex tactical exercises are carried out. Is the objective that the players, who are divided into two teams, show a real competitive edge?

"Yesterday, a former analyst at a Bundesliga club was there and he observed us. Our morning training session was actually the worst one we've had in pre-season to date, but he said there was more intensity in it than he'd ever seen at a Bundesliga training session. So you can see the kind of standards I'm setting."

So the players are looking well-prepared and fully motivated ahead of the new season?

"If the season were to start tomorrow, that'd be okay for us. But we want to go up a notch before the Cup tie in Lautern and our first Bundesliga match against Bayern."

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