FIRST TEAM
05.09.2018

Oliver Baumann: “Now our time has come”

Oliver Baumann was once again brilliant between the sticks for TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday in the second last matchday of the season. The goalkeeper, who has made almost 150 competitive appearances for Hoffenheim, speaks ahead of the final match against Borussia Dortmund, which decides who qualifies for next season’s Champions League, about the “final”, his preparations and his wish to put the cherry on top of a fantastic season.

Oliver Baumann: “I never said that (laughs). With regard to Saturday, the sentence is the truth and nothing but the truth. It’s a huge game and we can achieve something unbelievably great come the final whistle. We’re at home so we’ll have the fans behind us. It’s a great position to be in – we’re going into the last game of the season and we have the chance to qualify for the Champions League – not a lot of people would have back us to do that back in the winter. Now we have this incredible opportunity to do it.”

You can pass the season with an A+ grade on Saturday. What would that mean to you?

Baumann: “That would simply be huge – the icing on the cake for our season. Our situation is both complex and simple at the same time. I’m not thinking about all of the possible scenarios too much though because that would distract me. We’re going to go for the win on Saturday. It’s in our own hands and we want to achieve the most success that we can.”

How much is your exit in the Champions League playoffs at the hands of Liverpool spurring you on?

Baumann: “That definitely plays a role. We were getting used to the tournament then, but two games wasn’t enough. We matched their level at home, but in Liverpool we knew we were playing against a top European side. When you look at how Liverpool dealt with Man City or Rome at home, they really are a special team. Now we can build upon such games and use them to grow as a team. But this time it would be at least six games. Every footballer dreams to play in the Champions League, to hear the anthem and to play football at that level. We’re desperate for that – it’s what every player wants.”

How do you prepare for such an important game?

Baumann: “I have a set routine. The match against BVB is a special one, a sort of final which will determine a lot, but the meaning of the game doesn’t change anything about the way I play. I’m doing everything the same as I always have.”

You recently said that pressure can also be a positive thing. How do you turn the meaning of a game such as this into a positive?

Baumann: We know what can happen, as does everyone else in the league, but it’s only in the back of my mind, I’m not letting it take over my thoughts. What we can achieve on Saturday is unbelievable. We’re working incredibly hard for our goals and we want to achieve them, but the fear of not achieving something should never affect your game as a player. The right way to handle it is to always have the attitude of ‘I want to win this game, I want to be successful and I’ll do all I can to do that.’ The coulds, woulds and ifs aren’t important and don’t play a role. We’ll give our absolute all so that we haven’t left anything in the tank. I want us to finish the season in third.”

How do you weigh up the opponents from Dortmund? Will such a team allow their situation off the pitch to affect their play?

Baumann: “No, absolutely not. I’ve learned that from experience. Every club has both their highs and their rough patches, but the team are able to let go of that. On the pitch it’s about the stats, it’s about the line-up and it’s about the quality of the players. Marco Reus is still Marco Reus, regardless of whatever’s going on behind the scenes at Dortmund. We’re going to be up against players with a huge amount of individual quality who will stretch us to the limit. But I also think that BVB are long overdue a win. When we last played them, we worked hard and even dominated at times, but it wasn’t enough for three points. Now our time has come.”

What headline would you like to read come Saturday evening?

Baumann: “That’s easy - ‘TSG qualify for the Champions League’.”

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