Schröcki, the squad has now had six days of intense training behind them. How have you settled in and what are your impressions of you new teammates?
I'm actually exhausted. Training was really tough, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel. We're going to push through the last day and a half. The togetherness of the squad is really healthy. It's a great group of guys with some very different characters, but there's a definite harmony between us all.
On the first day of training you really had the fans behind you. It seems like that you have a lot of potential to be a fans' favourite.
That was actually the case in Fürth as well, until it was revealed that I was going to Hoffenheim. But the displeasure of the fans subsided quickly once they saw that I was still giving my best for the club to make sure we got promoted.
How emotional was your exit from Fürth, especially after promotion?
I played there for 11 years, made a lot of friends there and have some very fond memories. You don't forget that in a hurry. But I still believe that then was the right time to move on.
And on matchday 8 you will line up against those old friends...
I'm looking forward to it already. I wish the guys a really successful season. It would be great of they could win 32 games, with us winning 33!
How would you describe yourself?
I'm a guy that likes to have fun, but on the pitch I can really be quite aggressive. All the coaches I've had liked that about me and encouraged me to use it as a weapon, along with my versatility.
You mentioned your versatility there, and you've also said your favourite position is ‘in the starting eleven.' Can you be a little more specific?
It really doesn't make any difference where I play. In Fürth I played all over the pitch, right left, in defence, in attack. The main thing is that I play.
You have the highest squad number. Were there no other numbers other than 40?
Unfortunately no.17 had already been taken by Tobias Weis and he didn't want to give it up! No, I mean he's played in this team for a number of years and has worn that shirt for years. Then I just chose number 40. I would like to have taken a higher number but the DFL doesn't allow it unfortunately.
You also described yourself as the younger brother of Takashi Usami. How do you think you will play with him?
Takashi is a fantastic player and there'll be no miscommunication between us on the pitch. I think also that we have a similar sense of humour. He can be quite reserved sometimes, but I'll tickle that out of him!
You seem to be a very thoughtful person, which will certainly help when you become a father soon…
I hope so, yes. My wife and I are really looking forward to being parents. It will be a massive change, but I am a family man and I think I can handle the challenge.
Family is a big part of your life, as we can see from your tattoos...
Yes that's true. I have a tattoo of a star for each of my cousins. And on my neck I have a love-bite tattoo, for my wife obviously. Who knows, I may end up getting some more. We'll have to wait and see.