Kevin, you played more than 60 times for FCA. Do you still have a close connection to your former side?
Kevin Vogt: I always check their results and follow what’s going on there. I do that with 1. FC Köln and VFL Bochum as well. Out of sight is not out of mind. But I don’t keep close contact with the club anymore because all of my teammates from my time in Augsburg have moved to different clubs. The last guy was Paul Verhaegh but he moved to Wolfsburg at the start of this season.
Before this international break, the team lost two games on the bounce. How big was the disappointment that you had to deal with going into the break?
Vogt: I’m not a good loser so I felt quite down after the losses in Ludogorets and Freiburg going into the international break. Luckily we haven’t lost very often in the past few months. Every defeat hurts. We didn’t play well in Ludogorets and the result in Freiburg was hard to take but that can happen in football. Freiburg are a good team and the games against them are always tactically challenging. You could see that we lacked that cutting edge. It was good for me to have three days off and just get away after the Freiburg game. It gave me a bit of respite and a chance to take my mind off football for a bit. I’ve recharged my batteries now and I’m excited to carry on fighting for the team.
In the first week of the international break, the focus in Hoffenheim was on recovery. How important was the break for you and the team?
Vogt: I went to Paris for a few days and thought about things other than football whilst I was there – that’s really important psychologically. It makes it easier to focus again now. The break was even more important for the injured players within the squad. A few players picked up knocks towards the end of the last set of fixtures. Now they’ve had a bit more time to recover. Nadim is back with the team and so is Kerem. Serge and Adam are both doing well too. If we have them all back in the mix then we’ll be best equipped for the next block of fixtures coming up.
Many players have been off with their national sides – Sandro Wagner scored twice, Andrej Kramaric, Steven Zuber and Philipp Ochs also netted. Do you follow your teammates’ games?
Vogt: I rarely watch a game for the full 90 minutes but of course I follow what’s going on in their matches. They’re my boys. I send one or two of them a message sometimes too. I make sure I always know what’s happening in their games. The boys off with their countries have all done brilliantly. They’ll come back with confidence and that’ll help us in the coming weeks.
You’ve already mentioned the upcoming set of fixtures, 22 days, seven games in three competitions. What goals do you have for this tough period?
Vogt: My goal is to win as many as possible. I always want to win when I play and I have huge confidence in the quality of our team. We want to get wins on the board. We have to stay fresh mentally and listen to our bodies. We’ve gained really helpful experience in the past few weeks. I’m excited for these next few games.
The game on Saturday is against Augsburg, the team sixth in the table. What do you think of FCA so far this season?
Vogt: They had a hard start, were knocked out of the DFB-Pokal and lost on Matchday one of the Bundesliga. After that they pulled themselves out of their rut and had the best start in their history. They’re a good team with a clear strategy. They sit deep and then switch from defence to attack quickly. Our last meeting with them wasn’t too long ago and we know from the last game of last season what we will have to deal with. I don’t expect them to be as defensive on Saturday though.
Will the WIRSOL Rhein-Neckar Arena remain a fortress on Saturday?
Vogt: I’d like to think that. We are really strong at home. There isn’t a team which would look forward to playing away to us. We have beaten the Bundesliga big guns at home and with our fans behind us, we play with a lot of confidence. We want to play like we always do and if we do then I’m optimistic that we can beat Augsburg. We’re on a roll at home and so a team have to come and play really well to beat us. We’re unbeaten at home for lots of reasons. I’m excited for the game.