We spoke to László Bénes about pre-season, the DFB-Pokal opener against Sandhausen and his goals for the new campaign.
László, the first round of the DFB-Pokal kicks off the new season this weekend. Are Borussia ready for a long year ahead with a lot of games on the calendar?
László Bénes: I think we’ve had a very good pre-season – the last friendly against Chelsea was testament to that. I’m confident that we’re ready for the game in Sandhausen.
The team and Marco Rose seem to have gotten accustomed to each other fairly quickly…
Bénes: That’s true. We have understood the coach’s ideas and are executing them better and better each day. There’s no doubt that we can still improve, but that normal after such a short period of time working together. Generally speaking though, I think that we’re on a good path.
This will be your fourth season at Borussia. What are your goals for the upcoming campaign?
Bénes: Almost four years… wow. How times flies! It was important for me to get game time through my loan move to Kiel last season. Now I’m hoping to kick on back at Borussia and have a successful campaign.
Marco Rose likes to play energetic and powerful football. It seems like that would suit your playing style well…
Bénes: I love football and always want to be playing. If the coach says, ‘we’re going to play with this system’, then I will look to implement that approach. If he then says, ‘now we’re going to play this way’, then I’m happy to adjust to that as well. I hope that I get the chance to prove myself.
Ideally as a central midfielder like at Kiel?
Bénes: We played in a 4-4-2 diamond at Kiel, just like we’re working on now at Borussia, with one number 6, two number 8s and a number 10, so it turned out to be good practice for me. I’ve had the chance to play as one of the 8s in pre-season and I want to help the team out there in competitive games as well.
There’s a lot of competition in that position at Borussia, although the loan spell at Holstein Kiel has no doubt boosted your chances of playing.
Bénes: I generally believe that competition within the squad is very important. Players and the team as a whole can only develop if you have to push yourself day after day in training. I’m also happy to be part of such a good team. Everyone will have to continuously fight for their place at Borussia.
You were something of a set-piece expert at Kiel. Do you think you could take on that role at Gladbach?
Bénes: Yeah, I was pretty much taking every set piece at Kiel, which allowed me to get quite a few assists. There’s a long list of players capable of taking quality set pieces at Borussia though. If the coach trusts me with that role for a game, I’m certainly ready for it.
Maybe you can do it on Friday in Sandhausen already. After all, you’re quite familiar with them after your time with Kiel, although you’re also well aware that it’s not easy to play there…
Bénes: Very true. We lost 3-2 there with Kiel. Sandhausen are always tricky opponents, especially in front of their own fans. Any team can cause you problems though when you’re not ready to give 100 percent.
Borussia have quite a busy season ahead with the Bundesliga, the DFB-Pokal and the Europa League. How much are you looking forward to playing in Europe?
Bénes: Playing big European sides like Chelsea and Bilbao in pre-season certainly added to the anticipation. Every footballer wants to playing teams like that as often as possible.