“I've worked hard for it!”

Denis Streker celebrated both his Bundesliga and first team debut in TSG 1899 Hoffenheim's match against Greuther Fürth on Sunday. The 21 year old is now set to be used predominantly in the senior squad. In a conversation with the defensive midfielder talks about his debut and his personal feelings surrounding Saturday's away trip to Mainz (15.30 CET).

Looking back to a few days ago, how do you rate the experience of making your Bundesliga debut?

When I got the news, I was delighted to have the chance to play and to have the manager's trust. Obviously you're going to be a bit nervous but the lads really helped me a lot – not just on the pitch, but beforehand as well. The longer the match went on, the more confident I felt.

You played in defensive midfield alongside Sebastian Rudy. Did you make a clear separation between the roles you would both play?

The coaching staff prepared me well and explained what they expected from me. Sebi and I talked to each other a lot on the pitch. There wasn't a strict role separation because we wanted to play with some variation. When one goes forward, the other drops back.

When you moved to the Kraichgau in the summer, did you ever think you could be playing in the first team? Are you surprised that it's happened so quickly?

I'm not that surprised, I've worked hard for it. What's impressed me at TSG is the closeness of the first team and the U23s, and not just in a sporting sense. We train on the same pitch and see each other every day. It isn't like that with other teams and that's what's impressed me. Obviously I didn't expect things to go so quickly for me, but that makes it even better.

Defensive midfield isn't the flashiest of roles for the fans. Was that perhaps an advantage for you on your debut and why is that the right position for you?

Yeah I suppose the fans don't notice you that much, but the coaching staff know what you do there. You don't necessarily make your own mark on the game but I still see myself as a hard worker for the team. I'm not one for providing great spectacles. That would be fatal just ahead of the defence.

The upcoming game against Mainz is particularly special for you having been born there. What do you think your chances of playing are?

I'm not thinking about it at all. All I can do is give my all in training and everything else is up to the manager. But Mainz is something special since my entire family lives in Mainz and I was born and raised there. I used to go to the old Bruchwegstadion a lot for the games.

Are your family going to be in the Coface-Arena on Saturday?

Yes, they'll all be in the stadium. It will be nice to be there and maybe even get a run out, but like I said: I'll give my all and accept the decision.

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