Steven Zuber: “Quickly became clear I was staying”

Steven Zuber has extended his contract with TSG until 2020. The versatile right-footer speaks in an interview about deciding to commit to Hoffenheim, his season so far, the first win of 2017 in Augsburg and the upcoming Bundesliga game at RB Leipzig.

You’ve extended your contract with TSG until 2020. What made you decide on staying with “Hoffe”?

Steven Zuber: My existing contract runs until the summer of 2018 but the club came to me and wanted to extend it well in advance of that date. Obviously that was a really nice gesture. I spoke about it with my family and friends and it quickly became clear that I was going to stay here. Hoffenheim makes the most sense for me. I’ve noticeably continued developing as a player here, particularly in the last year, but I can still get better. Moreover TSG have done a lot in the last year and I want to be a part of the journey that the club is currently embarking on.

You began the new year in the starting XI once again. How happy are you with your preparations over the winter break and the first game back?

Zuber: Preparations were very short and that was a positive thing from a player’s point of view. Now and again it really did get cold but it was fine. Overall I prepared well and had a good first game. I’m pleased with how they both went. We got off to a bit of a rocky and slow start in Augsburg but it is important that we come out as winners in these kinds of games. That speaks for itself.

You played in Moscow for one year. Was it not much colder there?

Zuber: When I was in Moscow, we were only actually there once during the coldest months of the year, namely January and February, so I didn’t experience any extreme temperatures while I was there. Here it’s really cold at the moment. I only walked a few metres into my favourite café at the beginning of the week and quickly couldn’t feel my fingers.

You are still unbeaten after the first half of the Bundesliga season. How does it feel to be the sixth team in the league’s history to achieve this?

Zuber: It is a proof of the hard work that the team and the club have been putting in over the last few months. I don’t think we would have thought we were capable of doing this last season therefore it feels really good. We can’t get carried away though. We are only halfway through the season. This run has given us a lot of confidence and we’re doing well, however we have to remain fully focused to keep this up for as long as possible. It’s also important to remember that we won’t really get anywhere just by drawing games. We have to win games just like we did in Augsburg at the weekend.

The game against RB Leipzig at the weekend is a big one. What do you think of the opponent?

Zuber: They are very good at home and good going forward. They press high and want to force their opponents into making mistakes. They have been doing this very, very well so far this season. We’ve been very consistent though and we have to keep this up in Leipzig. They are also prone to making mistakes. We are well prepared and will up the intensity in training throughout the week.

Do you think Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side are still in a euphoria phase?

Zuber: No. That might have been the case at the beginning, but in fact they are a very good team and have little in common with a typical newly-promoted side.

What do you expect from the game on Saturday and what do you want to achieve?

Zuber: It’s going to be an intense, hard-fought battle, that’s for sure. Of course we want to remain unbeaten and in an ideal scenario go home with the three points.

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