"At the beginning of your career, you focus solely on yourself and disregard everything else, but nowadays it's really about seeing the bigger picture. The ego takes a back seat; you start to perceive what is good for the team as a whole, what is good for other players, how you should deal with other players." After all, the way the captain conducts himself always has a knock-on effect on others: "Everything I do or don't do results in a reaction. (...) There are signals that have a positive effect on the players and signals that have a negative effect. If you lead from the front, you pull the whole team along. But if, for example, I give off a resigned or frustrated vibe, it pulls other players down. You always have to be aware of that."
Benjamin Hübner believes TSG are well-prepared for the tasks awaiting the club this season: "I believe that we fundamentally have a very good squad. Everyone pulls their weight, we've known each other for a long time and the team gets along very well socially too. If everyone is fit, then what we have on the pitch is absolutely top-notch." For the upcoming period of constant fixture congestion, the central defender is trying to draw on the lessons learned from his past two involvements in European football: "As a player, you have to regenerate as much as possible, because the process actually restarts at the final whistle. You then get into a rhythm whereby you simply just have to function: Regenerate, function, regenerate." But Hübner sees no reason to complain: "This is our reward for the performance we put in until the end last year. It is what we have worked for. It is what we wanted. And it's exactly what we fight for every year, to be able to play internationally, for us, for the fans, for the club."
This season, Hübner has set himself the goal of reaching the UEFA Europa League knockout phase for the first time: "We'd really like to go through, in part because TSG have never done so before. One of the lessons is that you simply have to play to get the result at international level if you want to be successful. We've already set many records as a club in recent years. And reaching the knockout round is definitely something we want to achieve. The opportunity is there; the draw gives us the chance to make it happen. We'll try with all our might. Otherwise, there's no reason to compete."
SPIELFELD is the TSG 1899 Hoffenheim club magazine. Brimming with important content about TSG and the region, SPIELFELD is published 11 times per year. You can pick up your copy free of charge in the Fan Shop – or have it delivered to your home. The shipping cost is only €18.99.
Jetzt 11 Ausgaben kostenlos* abonnieren!
(*jahrliche Bezugskosten nur 18,99 €)