Ahead of Saturday’s away match at FC Bayern München, Christoph Kramer speaks about Die Fohlen’s successful start to the season, his role in the team’s new system and the upcoming task against the record champions.
You’ve started the season well, Chris, and have won 11 points from the first five games. What can you say about your positive start and what part have the new arrivals played?
Kramer: As well as the points we’ve won, we can be happy with the way that we’ve played. The new lads have integrated really well, and Florian Neuhaus and Alassane Plea have shown just how important they are for us, both now and in the future. Michael Lang only just came into the squad last game, but he will improve our play with his experience. Everyone’s doing what they have to do brilliantly so far.
What are your expectations for the rest of the season?
Kramer: I don’t really want to talk any more about our aims or our current table position, because it doesn’t make sense to do so. The Bundesliga is too tight to be able to say whether we’ve had a good run so far, especially as we could drop from 4th to 12th in the space of a couple of games. We’ve been well-advised to only focus on the upcoming match. It’s hard enough already to get three points every weekend, but if we keep on winning, it should all come together a bit easier.
Since the start of the season, you’ve normally played in a 4-3-3 system. How has that affected your own role in the centre of midfield?
Kramer: In contrast to a 4-4-2, where there are two holding midfielders, I’m the only one in the 4-3-3. That means I must stay in position and can’t really get forward so much. On the other hand, I’ve got two creative lads in front of me, who both support me in the middle. I feel comfortable playing both systems, and there aren’t really any downsides to playing either. It always depends a lot on who we’re playing.
Your next opponents will certainly bring a lot of attacking force, as you’re up against the record champions. How will you set-up in Munich to nullify their threat?
Kramer: We must not fall into the trap of trying to absorb their attacks and only playing long balls, because that won’t work for 90 minutes. We’ve got to play courageously and win possession. In our last game we only did that for 30 minutes, unfortunately. This time, we want to play like this for the whole match.
Bayern have only picked up a single point from their last two games. Do you think that they could maybe have a worse season this year?
Kramer: I honestly don’t think that Bayern will get worse in the long-run. They have a brutal streak to them and will quickly get back to winning ways. Still, we of course hope that we can frustrate them again this weekend.