Andreas Beck – Captain in focus

The second half of the season is nearly upon us. This Saturday at 3.30, Holger Stanislawski's Hoffenheim team host Hannover 96 in the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar-Arena. recently caught up with team captain Andreas Beck to hear his opinion on the coming half of the season, changes to the squad and the team's upcoming German Cup quarter-final against Greuther Fürth. Read part one of his exclusive interview here.

Andi, 2011 was an eventful year. Now that it's behind you, what footballing objectives do you have for 2012?

First of all I want to stay fit. That's an important point for me and my family. But I also want to be here at the club and help everyone here to enjoy a successful year.

The winter break is coming to an end. What are your feelings going into the second half of the campaign?

We have three weeks of intensive training behind us. So in terms of fitness, we're in a good place. Our fitness was good as soon as the winter break began, in fact. That has meant that we've all adapted well to the strength training, and it's a good feeling. All that's left to do now is carry that into the first game.

Chinedu Obasi and Gylfi Sigurdsson, two important players, left the club in the January transfer window.

Edu and Gylfi are both top players, and it's a shame that they aren't with us for the moment. But the club has signed Sandro Wieser and Michael Thesker, and they're quality footballers too. They'll need time to hit their potential, but it bodes well for the immediate future.

How have the new signings settled in?

They're both great guys, with a good character and good mentality. That's very important for a young team like ours. We need a work ethic in the team that's going to help us deliver good performances. We all want to take this club to the next level, but it takes will-power and hard work each day.

In central defence, Marvin Compper is missing with injury and Isaac Vorsah is away with the Ghana squad at the African Cup of nations. How do you plan to compensate for their absence?

We'll have to use an improvised back four, obviously. But I think Jannik Vestergaard is ready. He's been very good for us since he started playing in the team. As for who can partner him, there are a few guys competing for that position. We've had time to experiment in the last few weeks. But regardless of who plays, we'll be well prepared for the games.

You play against two ambitious teams in Hannover 98 and champions Borussia Dortmund. Do you see that as a disadvantage to be starting against those teams?

It's a tough way to start the second half of the season, no question. But it was like that at the start of the season. And we played well in the two games. I always see it as an advantage to be playing the top sides. At the beginning of the season, we lost to Hannover, but we were unlucky; this time we want a different result. But it will mean performing to our maximum from the first minute to the last.

In recent years, TSG have tended to slip down the league in the second half of the season. How much of a concern is that, and how important is a good start to this period, in light of the events of recent years?

I think that's something that's been seized on by the media a bit too much. What happens in a season is never guaranteed, and the unexpected can always happen. We have a new coach this year and the team has changed as well. A lot of teams have seen their results suffer slightly when they get past Christmas. But as for us, I have no doubt that we'll have a better second half to the season than we have done in recent seasons.

Hoffenheim are in the German Cup semi-final for the fourth time this season, but are yet to reach the last four.

It would be special for us all to reach the semi-finals. Our target is to beat Greuther Fürth at home, since we've already knocked out two sides form the Bundesliga. We have to build on that now. I'm really looking forward to the game and to some great support from our fans.

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