Leon Goretzka: "Hoffenheim will sit deep"

Leon Goretzka is playing his fourth season with FC Schalke 04. He's established himself as a regular for the "Royal Blues" and together with Niklas Süle and Jeremy Toljan, took part in the Olympic Games in Rio. Enough reasons then to talk with him before TSG’s Bundesliga tie with Schalke on Sunday.

Mr. Goretzka, you certainly would have anticipated a different start to your season. Why hasn't it gone right so far?

Leon Goretzka: We all definitely had very different expectations to our start into the season, no one expected that we would start with four straight defeats. We've lost our games due to various reasons, which can't be linked to one individual factor alone. We have to end this negative run together and for that we need to continue remaining calm. I'm convinced that we will get through this difficult period and collect our first points in the upcoming games.

This is your fourth season at Schalke. What makes the "Royal Blues" a special club?

Goretzka: FC Schalke 04 is indeed a very special club, one that likely only exists once in Germany. Primarily, the large numbers of fans make this club special. You notice it every day in training, when you see so many fans attend our sessions. I still remember last season's training session ahead of our derby when 3,000 fans came to watch - those are the moments that make you proud to be a Schalke player.

Like Niklas Süle and Jeremy Toljan, you won the silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Unfortunately however, you were forced out of the tournament early with an injury. What did it feel like, when the team held up your shirt at the awards ceremony?

Goretzka: The injury was a big disappointment for me, since you likely only get one chance as a football player to take part in the Olympics. Unfortunately, I had to leave Brazil early and wasn't able to support the team anymore. I was very happy about Max's gesture, although I would've rather been there myself of course.

After the sloppy start to the season, how much pressure is on Schalke before the game in Sinsheim?

Goretzka: We know that we are required to perform well over the next few games, but it's also important to not think about the current situation while we are on the pitch and that we, despite everything that's happened, display self-confidence. If we manage to do that and everyone plays to their absolute best, we’ll score points.

What type of game do you expect on Sunday?

Goretzka: Hoffenheim are yet to lose this season and we want to change that on Sunday. I expect a similar game as against 1. FC Köln. Hoffenheim will too sit deep and let us run the game. We need to be patient and wait for our chance, which we will then have to make the most of. Also, at the same time, we’ll need to prevent Hoffenheim from executing their counter attacking game.

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