As a former 1. FC Köln player, Saturday’s game against the Billy Goats is set to be a special occasion for VfL midfielder Yannick Gerhardt. Here, the 27-year-old reflects on the Wolves’ impressive campaign so far and shares his hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League.
Yannick, you’re having a fantastic season with the Wolves and currently occupy third place. How come you’re performing so consistently well?
Yannick Gerhardt: “A key point is definitely the fact that there’s greater continuity at the club in general, and that the spine of the team has been playing together for a long time now. We’ve got to grips with the coach’s style of play even more. All those things make us a strong team with strong characters, who are all determined to improve. Everyone is completely aware of their own and other people’s roles. That’s why things are looking very good right now.”
You’re up against ‘Effzeh’ on Saturday. As a Köln youth product, is this fixture still a special one for you personally?
Yannick: “I’ve obviously been at VfL for five years now, but I spent my entire youth in Cologne and turned professional there. That’s why it’ll be a special game for me.”
Is it a must-win game at home to Köln, given your incredibly tough run-in?
Yannick: “If we want to stay in third place we practically need to win every match. We’ll head into the game with that attitude. We definitely want to get the three points.”
Do you openly talk about the dream of qualifying for the Champions League within the squad?
Yannick: “Before the season started, qualifying for the Champions League wasn’t our objective. We wanted to keep improving and qualify for Europe if possible. But when you’re still in third place with eight games of the season remaining, as an athlete you’re obviously hungry to stay there and defend it until the end. As a team, we’re confident of achieving that and will give everything in our remaining games to do so.”