Your next appearance will be your 100th for RB Leipzig. Can you still remember your debut?
Yes, of course. My debut was really good and it continued that way. I scored in my second game. The first season under Julian Nagelsmann was a bit more difficult because I had to adjust to the different style of football. The second season, however, went really well and I have to say that I’m just really happy here. I want to play successful football and win as many games as possible – not just in the Bundesliga, but also in the Champions League. Maybe we can even win a title soon!
What was it like to first put on the RBL shirt?
I’m really happy to wear the RBL jersey. We’ve got a really good team, we’re all really young and we always give 100%. I’ve known a lot of the lads for a long time too. I played with Konny (Konrad Laimer) and Szobo (Dominik Szoboszlai) already in Salzburg. Being on the pitch with the lads is simply a lot of fun.
What was your favourite goal over the last three years?
My best moment at RB Leipzig was the game against Manchester United. It was our last game in the group stage in the Champions League. We had to win to make the next round and we did just that. Scoring a goal – my first in the Champions League – was an amazing feeling.
What do the fans mean to you?
Leipzig have sensational fans. They’re always positive and push us on. We always want to win for our fans as they support us brilliantly both at home and on the road too.
And what does the city mean to you?
Leipzig is a really nice city. It’s not like Paris – it’s quieter, but it’s still one of the best cities in Germany. Sometimes I like to go for a walk in the city with Christo (Christopher Nkunku) and Nordi (Nordi Mukiele) and grab a coffee too.
What’s going better now compared to the start of the season?
The start of the season was somewhat difficult for us. We didn’t get what we deserved from some games and couldn’t build up any momentum. That’s normal though with a new coaching team and new players. We’re now more settled and consistent, partly down to understanding the coach’s tactics better. Thanks to that, we’ve improved now.
What can we achieve still this season? Especially in the DFB-Pokal?
We’re on the right track in the DFB-Pokal. We unfortunately lost the final last season, but we’ve got more experience now and we can maybe go one better this time around. That’s our aim and it would be really important for us.
What are the differences between Jesse Marsch and Julian Nagelsmann? Are there any big ones?
No, I don’t see any big differences. Both have their own tactical expectations and are pretty active and vocal on the touchline. Julian had two successful years at RB Leipzig. Now Jesse has come and is doing some really good work. He speaks with us players a lot and I really like that.
We’ve got a game against TSG Hoffenheim on Saturday. What are you expecting from them?
It will be a big challenge. It wasn’t easy against them last season. We won 1-0 with a goal in the last minute. It’s always tough against TSG. Despite that, we desperately want to win and the three points would be really important for us and our progress.
We’re currently on a seven-game unbeaten run against Hoffenheim. Do you still think they can make life difficult for us tomorrow?
Yes, definitely. Every game in the Bundesliga is difficult. We want to win the game though, it’s important for us. TSG have a very good team and lots of good players, however if we play our own game for the full 90 minutes, I think we’ve got a great chance of collecting all three points.
You’ve known Diadié Samassékou for a long time, having played with him at Salzburg and for your national team too. What’s your relationship like? Do you have a close friendship?
Yeah, Diadié is a good friend of mine. I’ve known him for over 10 years. I have always enjoyed playing alongside him. It’s great to see him when we join up with the national team. The friendship will have to be put on hold for the game tomorrow though – we want the win!