First Team

"There's a lot at stake"

An interview with VfL keeper Koen Casteels ahead of the Mainz game

Koen Casteels has long been one of the Wolves' key players and has impressed again this season with his consistently top-drawer performances. In this interview he talks about the 5-1 victory in Bochum and the upcoming game against Mainz 05.

Koen Casteels, you were recently announced as a nominee for the DFL's Team of the Season. Does that give you confirmation of your consistency so far this term?

Koen Casteels: "Yes, I think so because otherwise I wouldn't be one of the candidates. I also have to say that the defence played really well in a lot of matches too. I've certainly had a lot of support. Having said that, it does confirm to an extent the way I've been playing over the past few years, and again this season."

You made your 250th Bundesliga appearance against Augsburg, giving you a new league record for Belgian players in Germany. What is the first game that comes to mind when you think back on them all?

Koen: "One that I'll never forget, and this happened really early on in my career when I was still very young, was with Hoffenheim in the last game of the season away to Dortmund. We were in the automatic relegation places and needed to win to reach the play-off spot. We actually managed to win 2-1, and stayed in the top flight via the play-offs. I definitely played my part with a couple of good saves in that victory. That was something very special."

Was last week's 5-1 victory in Bochum a statement of intent towards the other teams battling for the European places?

Koen: "No, it was just a game that we had to win in order to stay in contention. It was one of those games where almost every shot we had went in, but it could also easily have finished 2-1 or 3-2. It was a big margin of victory but we know that we didn't play particularly well in the second half. From our point of view it wasn't as convincing a win as the scoreline suggests. So it wasn't really a statement."

How will you get the better of an in-form Mainz side and climb above them in the table?

Koen: "We picked up three points again in Bochum last time out. In the weeks before that we'd struggled a bit and dropped too many points, even though we'd actually played pretty well. That's left us near the back of the queue in terms of the European race, but it's this kind of game against Mainz that we need to win, otherwise we won't get any closer. It'll definitely be a tough game because Mainz are in good form, but it'll also be a good game because obviously there's a lot at stake."