A month has passed since Mark van Bommel was appointed VfL Wolfsburg’s new head coach. The Dutchman and his players face Atletico Madrid on Saturday 31 July (kick-off 18:00 CEST) in their final friendly of pre-season. Before turning his attention to Atleti, the VfL tactician sat down for an interview on Friday morning.
Mark van Bommel, your first month as VfL coach is over. How do you and your coaching team reflect on your start to life in Wolfsburg?
Mark van Bommel: “We’ve been very well received and have settled in very quickly because the people here in Wolfsburg are very open, they help us at all times and have made everything very easy for us so far. As my coaching team and I are also very open, communicative and attentive people, we’ve fitted in well from the get-go.”
You take on Atletico Madrid on Saturday in your final friendly of pre-season. What kind of game are you expecting against the Spanish champions?
Van Bommel: “It’ll be a game against a really good and very strong opponent. That’s what we wanted when we planned our pre-season. We wanted to test ourselves against Champions League-level opponents and we managed that very well with games against Lyon, Monaco and now Atletico. We obviously could have chosen easier opponents, but that wouldn’t have challenged us as much as we need to be in order to compete, not only in the Bundesliga but also in the Champions League this coming season. We want to prepare the boys as well as possible for the challenges ahead. Of course, we want to do a few things better than in previous games and see to what extent the team implements the things we’ve worked on in training. The result is secondary at the moment but, as is the case in every game, we want to win against Atletico.”
Are all your players available for tomorrow’s friendly?
Van Bommel: “Not quite. Maximilian Arnold will only return to training on Monday after taking part in the Olympics, while Aster Vranckx, William and Jerome Roussillon are missing due to injury and illness. We’ll also be without Koen Casteels, who was ruled out at short notice with the flu.”
What are your plans for the week leading up to the DFB Cup game at Preußen Münster on 8 August?
Van Bommel: “The lads will have another day off on Sunday, and on Monday we’ll begin our intense preparation for the game against Münster. Maybe we’ll do a short video analysis of the game against Atletico with the squad, but either way we’ll work hard to ensure we’re well prepared for the cup match.”