Stefan Posch: "We will come back stronger from this”

Stefan Posch. 20 years old. An international at youth level for Austria. Only a handful of TSG fans would have heard of the youngster, who has been at Hoffenheim since 2015, before this season. However, with ten appearances since the start of the season for the TSG first team, the defender has made a name for himself. All good enough reasons to talk to him about his development, the season so far and the upcoming game against RB Leipzig (Saturday, 15:30 CET).

Stefan, you trained a lot last season with the first team and went to the training camp in the summer with the squad – when did you start thinking that you would be given game-time this season?

Stefan Posch: “I always hoped that I would get a chance and of course I always believed I would. I have worked really hard for these appearances with the first team squad, gave it my all and now I am really happy that I’m making the most of the chance and that I’ve already played quite a few games so far this season.”

You signed your first professional contract with Hoffenheim in June. That’s a really special moment for a young player, isn’t it?

Posch: “Yeah, without a doubt. I had been really motivated and worked extremely hard for it constantly for the last few years. The contract was my reward for the time and work that I put in. Therefore I was delighted of course to sign the contract. I have always dreamt of being in the squad of a Bundesliga club and it was my goal from a very young age. I was at home when TSG confirmed all the details with me and it wasn’t just me but also my whole family that was extremely proud and just over the moon.”

The assistant coach Matthias Kaltenbach said at the training camp that “Stefan doesn’t know how to be nervous”. Hand on heart, was that the case before your debut against Ludogorets in the Europa League?

Posch: “I was a bit anxious and was thinking situations through in my head – what could happen on the pitch, how might the game go? But I didn’t have enough time to be nervous because I found out that I was starting not long before kick-off. I had thought I might play beforehand because there were a few defensive players missing but I wasn’t sure about it at all. You don’t have any time to be nervous when you’re on the pitch, you just play.”

As a young player, you definitely have a few good role models…

Posch: “Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane are both big role models for me. Varane, because he played during his younger years at a big club (Real Madrid) and because he has a similar way of playing to me and Ramos, simply because he always gives 100% and he does whatever he can to win. That is a great characteristic to try and follow. Also, Ramos is really dangerous in front of goal.”

How happy are you personally with how the season has gone so far and what areas of your game do you still want to improve?

Posch: “It has gone really well – sometimes I play well and sometimes I am not satisfied with my performance. Overall I am just happy that I have been given so many minutes. That fact in itself proves to me that I have been playing well. If the boss wasn’t satisfied then I wouldn’t be getting as much game-time as I have been. There is always room for improvement though. I can be more resolute in my tackling and more merciless. I can also develop my decision-making and basically be a bit more attacking-minded.”

The last week has not gone to plan for you all. How do you go about dealing with the negative results?

Posch: “We’ve analysed it in great detail. Now we need to look ahead. It is really important that we all learn our lessons from the mistakes that we have made. That is the only way to improve. Every team goes through bad patches. The situation at the moment isn’t easy. But I am convinced that we will come back stronger from this, that there will be an upturn in our performances and we will get the results.”

RB Leipzig are the visitors to Sinsheim on Saturday – with Timo Werner, one of the quickest and best German strikers around. Are you prepared for him in particular?

Posch: “I know his strengths of course but there are never any specific preparations you carry out for individual players. We know how Leipzig play, we know what they can do and of course the threat that Werner poses. We are prepared for that. We want to stop them from playing their game.”

What target do you have for this tough match against the team second in the table?

Posch: “We want to win the game, of course. To get the win would be incredibly important for us in our current situation.”

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