Ahead of the Wolves’ clash with Schalke at the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday 13 March (kick-off 15:30 CET), skipper Josuha Guilavogui discusses his contribution this season, the upcoming home match against the Royal Blues and his dream of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
Josuha Guilavogui, your last start came in mid-January – in the 2-2 draw against Leipzig on Matchday 16. You’ve been playing a bit-part role ever since, partly because the centre-backs and defensive midfielders have been doing very well. How are you handling the situation?
Josuha Guilavogui: “The situation isn’t easy for me. If you only play a few minutes every game it’s obviously difficult to find a rhythm. I was a regular starter before my injury and was also producing good performances. I have to be honest, being left out anyway wasn’t easy for me to accept. It makes it almost impossible to put yourself in contention through your performances in games, but it goes without saying that I accept the decision.”
Bottom-of-the-table Schalke are the next visitors to the Volkswagen Arena. Aside from Paulo Otavio (suspended) and Renato Steffen (injured), there are two other absentees in Maxence Lacroix and Xaver Schlager who play in positions you could occupy. Oliver Glasner has already confirmed you’ll be in the starting line-up.
Josuha: “I’ve always made it clear that when the team needs me, I’m here – no matter where. At the start of the season I played as a central defender before returning to my natural position in defensive midfield. We’ve had a very good season so far, and a key reason for that is being able to put your ego to one side. I always want to and need to be ready for when the coach needs me.”
With ten games of the season left, you’re third in the table and European qualification is within reach. How excited are you at the possibility of playing in Europe’s premier club competition, the Champions League?
Josuha: “Everyone knows that it’s every footballer’s dream to play there. I’ve experienced it myself with Atletico Madrid and the Wolves – there’s nothing better. If you get the chance [to play Champions League football], you need to try and grasp it.”
The Royal Blues have just appointed another new coach in Dimitrios Grammozis, who started his tenure with a goalless draw against Mainz. What do you make of Schalke at the moment?
Josuha: “First of all, it’s a shame that a club as big as Schalke are battling relegation at the moment. For us, it means we’ll need to put in a great deal of effort. Funnily enough, there have even been discussions recently about us losing our form. That doesn’t just end suddenly because we’ve lost a match, having previously gone so long without conceding a goal. Now we just want to and need to keep scoring goals and get back to defending very well in order to win games.”