Matarazzo: "I'm delighted with the competition for places"

TSG Hoffenheim will host VfL Wolfsburg at the PreZero Arena on Saturday (15:30 CET / Live Ticker at The match will be dedicated to the "Zero Waste" vision, which is why TSG will be wearing a special kit. At the press conference, coach Pellegrino Matarazzo spoke about the opposition, new signing Mërgim Berisha and the start to the season.

Pellegrino Matarazzo on…

…VfL Wolfsburg: "They play very intensively, run a lot and stay very compact in the process. They have clear processes in attack. Niko Kovac is doing a great job because they're performing very well. We'll need to play to our maximum in order to win the game."

…his confidence in the first home victory of the season: "We have quality. If we perform as a unit, are active and bring changes of tempo into our game, then we're unpleasant for any opponent. We'll focus on our strengths but we know that Wolfsburg are a very good opponent."

…the performances from the young players in Heidenheim: "The best player will always play. Several players showcased themselves for the starting line-up in Heidenheim on Saturday. I've shown in recent months that I focus on performances and don't look at names. We have a good squad; the best players will be on the pitch."

…the beginning of the season: "It's still the start of the season; the game against Wolfsburg is an important part of that. The first two games of the season had light and darkness. We want to bring consistency to our play; we're not there yet. We've taken a step forward in various areas, but there's still room for improvement."

…Oliver Baumann: "Oli cannot fall below the radar in his current form. He is a top goalkeeper in Germany. The power, balance and technique with which he goes about his play and the way he is currently performing in matches is outstanding."

…Mërgim Berisha: "A coach is delighted to have additional quality in the squad. Mërgim's strengths are in the box. He has a good nose for goal and brings an emotional quality to the game that will be good for the team. I'm delighted with the competition for places, which Mërgim is increasing significantly."

…the final days of the transfer window: "I'm regularly in contact with Alexander Rosen about the squad. There are some topics that come up at short notice; others have been planned for longer. Everything has to be done by 18:00 CET tomorrow; it's normal that more tends to happen towards the end of the transfer window. It's always a case of what's possible."

…the fans: "The support from our fans is extraordinary. 400 fans in Lübeck on a Monday evening was incredible. I've never experienced support like we had in Heidenheim in the time that I've been here. The volume and intensity was unbelievable. That helped us get the three points."

…Umut Tohumcu's Fritz Walter medal: "It speaks volumes about TSG's approach of developing young talent. Umut is a super example of that, I really like him as a player and as a person. He is humble but very aggressive on the pitch at the same time. He is a good connecting player between build-up and attack, I'm delighted to have him in our squad."

…Fisnik Asllani: "Fisnik has shown that the Regionalliga is not demanding enough for him to take the next step. His loan is – as is the case for Mo Damar – sensible and important for his development."

The personnel situation

In addition to Dennis Geiger and Bambasé Conté, who have already been sidelined for an extended period, Marco John will miss out with an ankle injury. Pavel Kadeřábek is carrying an injury from the game in Heidenheim and is a doubt for the weekend. Kevin Akpoguma and Ozan Kabak have been ill this season and there is still a question mark hanging over both players' involvement. Umut Tohumcu has returned to team training.

Head-to-head record

The Wolves have the upper hand. The Lower Saxony outfit have won 14 of the 30 Bundesliga meetings, with TSG winning on nine occasions. Wolfsburg won both the home and away fixture 2-1 last season.

The opposition's form

VfL Wolfsburg have started the campaign with two victories. Niko Kovac's team ran out 2-0 victors against 1. FC Heidenheim in the opening match, before returning home from Cologne with three points in the bag last week (2-1). Jonas Wind has scored all four goals.


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