Oliver Baumann: “We can beat Bayern”

Oliver Baumann is the undisputed number one at TSG - the goalkeeper is one of the squad's senior players and provides his team security at the back. In this interview with, he speaks about Hoffenheim's Bundesliga start, next weekend's game against record champions Bayern Munich and other challenges he and his teammates will face in the near future.

Oli, how happy are you with the team’s start in the 2017/18 season?

Oliver Baumann: We’re into the next round of the DFB Cup and have four points in the Bundesliga – I’m very happy with that. The games against Liverpool were of course set-backs. We wanted to play in the Champions League at all costs, but we’ve gotten over it. We’ll play in the Europa League and we want to give back to our fans in this competition, and of course achieve something. In terms of performance, there’s still room to improve.

You’re certainly thinking about the first half in Leverkusen when you mention performances. What was it like in the changing room for those 15 minutes?

Baumann: In actual fact, we were all satisfied with the score. During the break, we analysed things calmly with Benjamin Glück, our video analyst, Julian and the assistant coaches. We saw what we could do better quite quickly. I think that’s one of the coach's and his staff’s biggest strengths. We told each other what we were thinking, we’re emotional, but no one loses their temper. Emotions help a lot more on the pitch than in the dressing room. You push yourself there too, but ultimately it comes down to what happens on the pitch. Julian had some good words and some good ideas for the rest of the game. Therefore, we all left the changing room with a good feeling and did much better after the change of ends.

On Saturday, FC Bayern Munich come to Sinsheim, which is always a special game. How do you approach the match and what have you got planned?

Baumann: Bayern are an extraordinary team with unbelievable quality, so the game is always special. However, we approach the game like we do against any other team – we want to win. It’s clear to everyone that that’s harder against Bayern than against any other team. But we showed last year that we can also beat Bayern.

Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy will return to Sinsheim with Bayern. Have you stayed in contact with the both of them?

Baumann: I wished Niki happy birthday and recently spoke to Sebastian on the phone. We really got on well and remain in contact. I think both will be received warmly here – by the fans too. Both did an unbelievable amount for the club, so I can’t imagine any other reaction. I think it’ll be a lovely reunion, but on the pitch they’re the opponents who we want to beat.

After, you’re faced with six games in 21 days. How do you prepare for that?

Baumann: We’ll train less than usual, play a lot of football and focus on recovery after the games. I think it’s important for everyone to sleep well and switch off after the games. The mental recovery is just as important as the physical, to then be able to put your focus fully on the next game. Before the start of the Bundesliga, we had a period with a lot of games in a short space of time. We mastered it that time and gained experience, which will help us throughout this season.

Next Thursday the UEFA Europa League kicks off. Is the Braga game already in your mind?

Baumann: Not at all; Bayern are the only team I’m thinking of right now. After we'll focus solely on the Europa League and Braga. We’ll prepare for the match, Julian will give us some ideas and we’ll play. It’s just great because we all want to play on the international stage.

After that, Hertha visit Sinsheim – on Sunday at 13:30 CEST, another new kick-off time…

Baumann: We’ll go out and play football. I can do that at 15:30 and at 13:30.

Nevertheless, you'll face Bayern at 18:30 CEST, Braga at 19:00 CEST and then Hertha on Sunday afternoon. In what way do the kick-off times influence the preparations on a matchday?

Baumann: Of course it changes things quite a bit. The times when we get moving and eat will certainly change, and I still don’t know if, before the Hertha game, we’ll sleep at home like for a normal 15:30 kick-off, or at the training centre. We’ll know soon enough; the coaching staff will make a plan. For an evening game, you rest in the morning or watch a little television – that certainly won’t be the case for the Berlin game. But we’ll adapt and find a good solution.

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