Talking at a media session during the Foals’ training camp in Jerez, sporting director Max Eberl discussed…
…the situation going into the Rückrunde: We have 33 points on the board, so we’re in good stead for the second half of the season. Nevertheless, our mindset of taking each game as it comes doesn’t change. It’s important to use the momentum from the Hinrunde, but at the same time, we need to look at the areas we can improve. We’re hoping we can use this training camp to bring the previously injured players back to fitness. We obviously also want to work on our game too, but the most important thing we want to do is ensure that we maintain focus and heighten our senses. We need to concentrate on our work day by day. The next game should always be seen as a final, which means we have 17 finals coming up. We’re looking forward to all of them, but we can’t be thinking about the third one, for example. Our focus has to be on the first one, and that’s in Leverkusen on 19th January.
…the battle for places: A first XI emerged during pre-season and the first half of the campaign, but the break gives players a new chance to stake their claim. The likes of Jonas Hofmann, Florian Neuhaus and Tobias Strobl perhaps have their noses in front thanks to their strong performances in the Hinrunde, but Christoph Kramer, Michaël Cuisance, Denis Zakaria and László Bénes are aiming to come into the side. We also have Fabian Johnson and Michael Lang going head-to-head for the right-back spot. Competition is healthy, so we’re happy that everyone wants to fight for their place in that first game against Leverkusen and every player is giving their all at the training camp.
…other clubs’ interest in Thorgan Hazard: There haven’t been any offers for him so far. I’ve already mentioned that we talked to him and his father in November about a contract extension. He said back then that he first wants to focus on the remainder of the season. We are very keen to extend Thorgan’s deal, he’s fully aware of that. I can’t say when we’ll sit down again, but I can say that it won’t take until the summer transfer window. Thorgan feels at home here; his time at Gladbach has been a success story so far and hopefully there are a good few chapters to come. I certainly haven’t given up on him.
...Patrick Herrmann’s future: I understand his frustrations, but he has been getting game time and Patrick is an important player in our squad, and someone we’re counting on to help us get results. We’ve always been clear about our intentions of keeping Patrick at the club, and he hasn’t come to us asking to move. We all know how much he loves it here. He is a true Foal and a lot would have to be going against him for him to come to us saying he wants to leave. I think there’s around an 80 to 90 percent chance that he will still be with us in the Rückrunde.
…a potential new deal for Raffael: We want to extend his contract and have made that clear to both him and his agent. Obviously it’s natural to consider a shorter deal when it comes to older players, and we have been open and honest about that. At the end of the day, he has to think about what he wants. Nevertheless, Raffael is happy at Borussia and I have a feeling that we will reach an agreement.
…Josip Drmic’s current situation: He is part of our squad and still has six months on his contract. There are no concrete offers for him right now. Josip needs to decide what he wants and then we as a club will try to make that happen. Currently, Josip is the player furthest away from making the 18-man matchday squad, but we already told him last summer that it will be difficult for him to get game time. He is fully fit, he’s working hard in every training session and despite the difficult situation for him, he’s been a model professional.
…a possible January signing: If we brought in a player who would be a potential starter, that means one player would drop out of the 18-man matchday squad, and another player who is sitting in the stands would be even further away from making the team. Something like that can unsettle the chemistry in the squad. As things stand, it looks pretty unlikely that we’ll be making any signings during this window.