"An element of danger always comes with success"

The last year has been the best of Stefan Posch’s professional career. The 22-year-old defender has established himself in the Bundesliga and become a first-team regular for TSG Hoffenheim, as well as helping Austria qualify for EURO 2020. TSG.TV met up with Posch at the "Studentenkarzer" – a former prison used to punish students for their misdemeanours – in Heidelberg to conduct an interview for the December edition of the club magazine SPIELFELD, which is out on Friday.

“An element of danger always comes with success; things can quickly go in the other direction. You have to go about it carefully, reflect on things and keep working,” said Posch. “My parents don’t have to worry about me getting carried away. That’s the danger as a young professional. Professional footballers have the means to do things their peers cannot. It’s not always easy to earn so much money as a young man, actually. You’ve never learned how to deal with it. That’s why you need help from parents and friends,” explained Posch.

The Austrian's path from the TSG Academy to the senior squad has been textbook. “It was always step by step. I was always patient and never put myself under pressure. I think that nowadays patience is an important virtue that is underestimated by a lot of young players,” said Posch, who made his debut for the TSG senior team two years ago in a 2-1 defeat to Ludogorets in the Europa League. His hard work and discipline since then have seen him become a Hoffenheim regular and he now has 36 Bundesliga appearances under his belt, having also featured in six Europa League/Champions League matches and played three times in the DFB Cup. The defender, who arrived at TSG over four and a half years ago, came of age while representing the club at youth level, where he made 22 appearances for the U19s in the Bundesliga South/South West and played 38 times for the U23s in the Regionalliga South.

"Go the extra mile" to get where you want to be

In addition to patience, Posch believes there are other qualities that have helped him on his rapid rise to the top. “My development was a process over many years and there’s a mental aspect to that too. I was extremely disciplined and motivated. But at some point, you have to decide whether you’re going to go the extra mile to get where you want to be. Especially being the kind of player who is more the product of hard work than talent.” Posch, who hails from Judenburg in Styria, has experienced a number of memorable moments lately, having made his international bow for Austria in June 2019. “In particular the results with the national team  with my winning goal in the 1-0 win against Slovenia and qualification for EURO 2020  have been peak moments in my fledgling career. That was a very important goal for all of Austria and I have the feeling I’m making my family very proud right now,” said Posch in the SPIELFELD interview. And “I have big ambitions with TSG too,” the defender added.

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