First Team

“Only Hertha matters”

VfL captain Maximilian Arnold ahead of the season finale against Hertha BSC.

Today at 15:30 CEST, the Wolves are playing for important points for one last time this season. With victory at home, Niko Kovac’s side can do their bit and increase their chances of playing in Europe next term. In this interview Maximilian Arnold, who celebrates his 29th birthday today, talks about the season, the exciting ending to the Bundesliga and the game against Hertha.

Maximilian Arnold, although the crucial last match of the season against Hertha is still to be played, I’d like to ask you for a review: how’s your first year as captain been?

Maximilian Arnold: “I would’ve liked my first year as captain to be a bit calmer and more relaxed. When you’re 17th after seven matchdays, that’s certainly tough. Then we had an incredible run of 11 games unbeaten, with the two matches that we won 6-0 and 5-0 against Freiburg and Hertha. That was insane. It’s all been very intense, but those experiences are very important for your character because through them you recognise how you have to stand together in the bad times. And that’s how it was in our team.”

The league is more exciting than it’s been in a long time. On Saturday, the title, the European places and also relegation are all at stake. What do you make of that?

Maximilian: “I think it’s great! The fact that’s true in all three professional leagues in Germany is absolutely incredible. It’s very interesting in the second division with regards to promotion and relegation. In the third division, everything’s decided in terms of relegation but there are four teams who can still be automatically promoted or qualify for the play-off. That shows you the breadth of quality and that it’s no longer as easy or a given to break through.”

Now you face already relegated Hertha on the final day – and on your 29th birthday, no less. How confident are you that the team – and you yourself – will give you a European birthday present?

Maximilian: “I’m full of optimism about that. We want to end the season on a high note in front of our fans and collect the three points. The worst thing we can do would be to underestimate the opposition. If we don’t do that, then I firmly believe we’ll win. It only matters what we do against Hertha and we’re going to give everything to win.”