Last Saturday afternoon, VfL head-coach Martin Schmidt and his men suffered a setback in their final Bundesliga game of the year. During the 0-1 defeat to 1. FC Köln, the Green-Whites were unable to make an attacking impact over long periods and, having only managed to find a way through late on in the game, were unable to break down the FC resolve. On Tuesday, December 19th (kick-off 20:45 CET), VfL take on 1. FC Nürnberg in the DFB-Cup ‘Round of 16’. At the pre-match press conference, Schmidt spoke about …
…the defeat to Cologne: It is an advantage that we immediately have a game in the DFB-Cup and play in another competition. We quickly analysed the Cologne game and clearly spoke about the things that didn’t go well. We haven’t been able to train much, but I think we need to change things psychologically more so than in our game. After the setback in Augsburg, we proved we can deal with such situations.
…the mood within the team: The team is intact – mentally too. That was clear to see yesterday as we discussed the game. Of course we are a little tired, as we’ve played three games within a week. In one-on-one discussions it was notable that everyone is pulling in the same direction. There is nothing better than immediately having a game in the cup. There it’s all or nothing and, in the last round game against Hannover, we showed we are up to such games. We are up for the battle.
…possible rotation: It is notable that everyone put in the leg-work and gave their all. Looking at the statistics, we had over 200 sprints, 121 covered kilometres and 60% of the possession. We will look to rotate things a little, but in Cologne we also saw how detrimental such alterations can be for the unit as a whole. We haven’t completely automated all of the processes just yet. It will be important to win back as much of our structure as quickly as possible.
…the role of favourites: Looking at the table, the roles appear clear: It’s a Bundesliga side against a second-flight side – so there is no escaping the role of favourites. On the other hand, we know the cup and that if a game is hanging in the balance for some time, things can quickly swing away from you. If that should happen, we have to be there and the league we play in makes no difference. I firmly believe we will rise to our role when push comes to shove. I don’t care if we win over 90 or 120 minutes – the win is all that counts, and it’s what we aspire to.
…the opponent: Nuremberg are now in third place in the second division and have had a great first half to the season. They will be brimming with confidence, because they have strung together a lot of wins of late. With that in mind, they will be approaching this game in a different emotional state to us. They are a functioning, well-honed unit who can find solutions on the ball and hit quickly on the attack. That will make Nuremberg a tough nut to crack.
…the personnel situation: Maxi Arnold did some jogging and a little work on the ball yesterday. Brooks and Uduokhai just worked in the fitness room and it’s not yet clear as to whether they will be available. Should they make fitness, we will make a last-notice decision either after the final pre-match training session or even tomorrow morning.