A league title and a relegation battle – Alexander Madlung experienced quite a lot during his seven years with the Green-and-Whites. The burly centre-back, who made nearly 200 appearances for the Wolves, has continued to follow the club’s wild journey since leaving in 2013. “I’ve obviously noticed the ups and downs,” he said. Having played for Hertha for an equally long time before his spell at VfL, the now 39-year-old is the ideal person to speak to ahead of the clash with the Berliners.
Alexander Madlung, since retiring three and a half years ago, we’ve not heard much about you. What are you up to these days?
Alexander Madlung: “I live in Braunschweig and I work in the property industry. Even when I was still playing, I was heavily involved in it and I’ve stepped that up since. It’s about buying for your own portfolio, renovating and leasing. It keeps me busy around the clock but I also have a property management company who look after it with me.”
Have you stayed in touch with VfL?
Madlung: “Of course – with the physios and kitmen, for example. And Marcel Schäfer, with whom I played together. It’s not that long ago since I was at the Volkswagen Arena. If it was possible, I would certainly come to the match against Hertha too.”
On that subject: when you’ve played for both clubs – and in your case for similarly long periods of time – whose side are you on in a game such as this?
Madlung: “It certainly has a particular appeal and it’ll be intriguing to see how both teams handle their respective situations. Hertha need to be careful that they’re not dragged right down, while VfL are competing for the Champions League places and have positive pressure in that regard.”
Indeed, things are going very well for the Wolves. As a former defender, you must be thrilled that they’ve gone seven games in all competitions without conceding.
Madlung: “Definitely. You can tell there’s very good defensive organisation there. On top of that, with Koen Casteels you’ve got an experienced goalkeeper who’s great at giving instructions. It’s all become very solid. The team are on a roll, and up front there’s a striker who just sticks the ball in the back of the net.”
What kind of game are you expecting?
Madlung: “Hertha will try to be solid and settle into their own game first of all, so that they can get chances through the quick wingers [Dodi] Lukebakio and [Matheus] Cunha. As for VfL, they’re just incredibly well balanced and can score from any position. I think the team are stable enough to reach the Champions League.”