The excitement is growing for the return of the Bundesliga – and few are more excited than VfL Wolfsburg head coach Bruno Labbadia and his charges. The Wolves welcome FC Schalke 04 to the Volkswagen Arena on Saturday (kick-off: 15:30 CEST) for the first game of the season. In the press conference prior to facing the Royal Blues, Labbadia spoke about ...
... how it feels to be one of the Bundesliga's most experienced coaches at the start of a new season: "You rarely get into a routine. I'm raring to go. What makes this job so special is that you never know what's around the corner. We've had a good pre-season and both the team and myself are very excited. We're pleased to be able to start at home against a very, very good side."
... the task for the upcoming season: "On the one hand we need some stability and continuity, but on the other hand the coach's job is always to keep moving things forward. That means the whole team, of course, and individual players, but also all of our processes."
... his personal aim for the season: "To win more games than we lose! To be honest, it's better at this stage to work hard than to speak. Of course it's tough after the last two seasons to give too much away."
... the strengths of last season's runners-up, Schalke: "The basics of being organised and working as a team apply to every club, but Schalke did that extraordinarily well last season. In their friendlies it's been clear that they're trying to develop and get even better going forward. I'm expecting them to be solid at the back with a three- or five-man defensive line. They'll then try to up the ante in midfield and further forward with their dangerous players. Then, of course, there's the danger they pose from set-pieces, and with Salif Sané they've added another big lad into the mix. Last season they were the best in the league in that department. They didn't come second by accident."
... recent injury concerns: "Maximilian Arnold had a reduced workload yesterday in training, but it's not too serious. John Brooks had some minor muscle issues, so we withdrew him, but again, it's nothing serious. We'll have to wait and see how training goes for Daniel Ginczek, who's been suffering from a cold."