Julian Nagelsmann: "A demanding session"

TSG Hoffenheim have completed the first two days of their 2018/19 pre-season preparations. After the first open training session, head coach Julian Nagelsmann, keeper Oliver Baumann and new signing Leonardo Bittencourt shared their thoughts.

Julian Nagelsmann on

…the summer break: "Even though I wasn't on the training pitch, I obviously had football matters to deal with. Squad planning and transfer activities take up a lot of time. But what I enjoy the most are the training sessions and the matches. You do miss that. Especially after seven weeks. It becomes a period of time that you have to bridge over."

…the squad for the upcoming season: "Were we to start the season with the squad we currently have, I'd be satisfied. The sitution is similar to how it's been in the last few years. Whenever a major tournament takes place, something follows on from that in pre-season. It's always difficult to foresee. We obviously have a big group. Every player always has the same opportunity in pre-season. Even if we didn't make any further signings, I'm confident we'd have a good season."

…the new signings: "I always find it unfair to observe them especially. They're nervous as it is. But I think that's normal when you're faced with so many new circumstances. We already got to know the lads yesterday at the fitness test. The training session we just had was really demanding, but the whole group put in a solid showing. For the new signings, you're always happy to see something live in addition to the video material."

…the Champions League: "One of our objectives is to overcome the group phase in the Champions League. We're looking forward to it and we're excited to see what the draw brings. There'll definitely be at least one, maybe two top opponents. It's a crazy story for the region and the club."

Oliver Baumann on….

…the start of training: "We're all delighted to be back here again. It's about getting back into it. It feels good."

…the upcoming season: "We want to have a season at the same level as the one last year. We'll now face significantly better opponents on the international stage. We're all excited to see what opponents we'll be facing. We want to perform well in the Bundesliga and, in an ideal scenario, qualify for an international competition again. That should be our target. It'll certainly be exciting enough and we're looking forward to it."

…the balancing act between Bundesliga and Champions League: "I hope that once faced with the Champions League we don't lose sight of the Bundesliga. I think we'll manage to achieve a decent rhythm beween the midweek and weekend matches. We're looking forward to the chance to take on the best."

…possible opponents in the Champions League: "Obviously we want to progress, but first of all we need to wait and see who we get. I'm relatively ambivalent about that, as I have no control over it. It'd be cool to travel to England and Spain."

Leonardo Bittencourt on…

…his new situation: "I feel very good. I've been fortunate in that I already knew a lot of the lads. That has made everything a little easier for me. Now I'm happy to be here and excited to see what happens. I want to develop my game here and I think that I can help the team."

…his new home: "My journey to the training ground takes me up and down a lot of hills. There's something nice about being able to enjoy the peace and quiet and yet still work professionally. It's a new experience for me, but I'm sure that I will be very happy here. The work conducted here is at a very high level. The training facilities are world-class."

…his personal ambitions: "You need to settle in first of all. It all takes time. But I want to start helping the team and feeling comfortable as soon as possible. I think that you can perform to your best when you feel comfortable. And then we'll see how far I've come. But of course, playing for the national team is always an objective. I bring a certain level of experience and have played internationally before too."

…being involved in three competitions: "The lads experienced for themselves last year that playing in three competitions is demanding. But the team is now that bit more mature. We'll assess what went wrong last season and perhaps then we'll do things a bit better."

…the Champions League: "There's a lot of excitement for the Champions League. The last time that I played in the competition was six years ago. Every player makes playing in the Champions League an objective. It's an adventure everyone at the club is looking forward to."


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