Herr Schindelmeiser, the Bundesliga season has restarted with the African Nations Cup taking place simultaneously. Hoffenheim have been made to do without Chinedu Obasi and Isaac Vorsah as a result. Is it particularly difficult for a young squad like Hoffenheim to deal with such losses?
Absolutely. The African Nations Cup is hardly our best friend. Every two years clubs give up some of their best players for this competition. Not only are they unavailable to us, but we have to keep paying them. I hope that Isaac and Edu come back healthy.
There has been a lot of discussion recently regarding players being released for international duty. What is your general opinion on the matter, particularly in reference to friendly matches during the course of the season?
It's always going to be a contentious issue due to the various conflicts of interest. If a player has to be released to go to South Korea and only returns on the Friday before a Bundesliga match, it can be very annoying. In fairness to our national team, the situation is fairly cooperative.
Hoffenheim now boast their own German international in the form of Andreas Beck and it could well be that he goes to the World Cup in the summer. There are numerous other internationals in the squad. What does that mean to a club like Hoffenheim?
We're always happy for our players to be picked for international duty because it means they are highly regarded by their national coaches. On the other hand, it can put a spanner in the works of the work you've been doing at club level.
What do you think the German national team can achieve this year?
I think anything is possible, even winning the World Cup.
One of your tasks as sporting director will be to agree a new contract with Ralf Rangnick. What is the current situation there?
The last three and a half years have been exceptional. Without Ralf Rangnick as coach, we would never have developed as much as we have. I hope we can come to an agreement which means he will be with us for a few years yet.
Finally, can we ask you to take a look into your crystal ball and tell us where 1899 Hoffenheim will be in five years' time?
If we keep to our current course and keep our long-term goals in sight, then we'll be an established Bundesliga side and have a financially viable structure in place. Who knows, maybe even more!