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“We need to pool our strength”

Kevin Paredes gives his thoughts on rounding off a busy week with Sunday’s home game against Bremen.

Kevin Paredes made his first start of the 2023/24 season in last weekend’s 3-2 defeat in Augsburg and was later voted as Man of the Match by VfL fans. He also came off the bench in the DFB Cup success over RB Leipzig in midweek to help the team progress to the round of 16. 

In this interview, the new USA international reflects on VfL’s matches this week, his development at the Green-and-Whites, and upcoming opponents Werder Bremen.  

Kevin Paredes, congratulations on the cup win over Leipzig. What did you make of the game?

Kevin Paredes: “The team put up a great fight, from the first minute to the very last, and that’s how we earned the win. We take every game seriously and we played as a real team and collective unit.”

You look more physically robust since our last interview in March…

Kevin: “I’m actually now in even better shape physically than I was back then. The intensity is a lot higher here than it is in the MLS, and the players are a lot stronger physically. So your body needs to be in top form – and I’ve worked hard to get to where I am.”

You were given your first start of the season in the 3-2 defeat in Augsburg. How surprised were you by that?

Kevin: “Personally I wasn’t surprised because I know how I work both on and off the pitch. I waited for the moment to be given an opportunity to show my qualities from the start, and not only in the final few minutes. I’m very happy I was given that chance and it felt like I did well, despite the defeat.”

You recently made your senior debut for the USA and wasted no time in providing an assist against Oman before also getting some minutes against Germany. How big is your dream of playing at the 2026 World Cup in your homeland? 

Kevin: “Obviously very big, because it’s a World Cup at home for me. It would be unforgettable to be a part of that. I’m working as hard as possible towards achieving that aim. If I could play for my country at that World Cup, it would be a dream come true.”

VfL play Werder Bremen on Sunday. What do you make of the opposition and how important would a home win be?

Kevin: “It would be really important for us to take another step forward with another home win. We need to pool all our strength. We’re playing at our stadium and we really want to win this game.”