Renato Steffen has made 39 appearances for VfL Wolfsburg since moving from then Swiss champions FC Basel in January 2018. In addition, this season, the 27-year-old – who has been deployed both on the wing and up front – has scored his first three Bundesliga goals for the Wolves.
Renato, you’ve played as a second striker at times this season since Daniel Ginczek’s injury. How do you like that role?
Renato Steffen: “Quite a lot, actually. You can move freely up front and you have the freedom to sometimes shift out wide or stay in the middle. You’re a bit closer to the goal but you still have to do a lot of defensive work, so it’s definitely a position that suits me well. I’ve enjoyed playing there a few times.”
After the 6-0 defeat to Bayern, what makes you optimistic that you can continue the good home form against Fortuna?
Steffen: “The good thing about football is that after a result like that, you have the chance to make amends straight away the following weekend. The team were very disappointed and are now determined to show a reaction. We’ve worked hard during the week in order to get three points. I’m convinced we’ll be back to our former selves against Düsseldorf.”
You missed Euro 2016 through injury and weren’t picked for the 2018 World Cup. What are your dreams in terms of the national team?
Steffen: “Obviously my ambition is to be back in the picture again soon. It’s all a bit difficult at the moment because the next squad is announced soon and then I’ll know whether I’m in it or not. Personally, I don’t have high expectations. I know what my current standing is. I need to show what I can do and everything else will fall into place.”
You became a father immediately after the 2-1 win against Schalke in August. That must have been a somewhat crazy but – in the end – perfect day.
Steffen: “Yes, it really was crazy but obviously very nice as well. Everything just came together: we won and then the little one came into the world. I have to give huge praise to my wife. She was really strong, she withstood it and she was adamant that I could play in the game. As it happened, it was a perfect day: everyone was healthy and we won.”
Your father was a referee. How does that fit in with the ‘bad boy’ image you brought with you from Switzerland?
Steffen: “Quite well, actually. When I would see my dad after a match, I’d normally calmed down by then [laughs], so we were able to discuss matters objectively. He always gave me good advice but never lectured me on how I should behave. He knows that I am the way I am, and that I wouldn’t change.”