The goalkeeper and full-back have become firm friends over their time together at RBL. We met Janis and David in Leipzig's Café Franz Morish for a refreshingly open conversation and got exciting insights into both of their lives.
The location of this interview is perfect, as coffee plays a not unimportant role in their friendship itself!
"We live in the same neighbourhood and got along really well from the offset. We also all love to drink coffee", explained David Raum. "That's why I created a WhatsApp group after our second coffee date - from then on it was our thing."
When training allows, the boys regularly meet up to get coffee and breakfast together. In addition to Franz Morish, Café Dankbar, Bigoti and Endless are among their other favourite coffee shops.
Xaver Schlager is also an integral part of the group alongside the other two. "Us three were the founders", explained Janis Blaswich. "Baumi (Christoph Baumgartner) and Yussuf Poulsen are also often there as well.“
Besides coffee, board games are then high on the agenda. "Our favourite game is 'Sequence,'" explains David Raum. "Yussi brought it with him for the winter training camp in Dubai, and since then it's been our go-to game in the team. We also play it a lot between training sessions." The forfeit for losing is paying for the coffee!
Both the boys agree that Christoph Baumgartner is the most skilled barista of the group. "I thought that my cappuccinos were good, but Baumi's are on another level. He's very talented at making coffee", David Raum admitted. "He always adds the final touch of a heart or palm tree pattern in the foam, which is obviously the best bit."
A barista course is high on the coffee group's priorities. Could the RB Leipzig logo be engraved in the foam at some point? "It would be difficult, but we will definitely try," promised Janis Blaswich, grinning.
When asked about his first year with RB Leipzig, the goalkeeper, who recently extended his contract early until 2026, couldn't praise the club any higher.
- "The expertise and quality that you find in every single department at the club is at the highest level. There aren't many teams that can offer a player the experience we get here at RB Leipzig. Every member of staff is an expert in their field, for example our goalkeeper coach Frederik Gößling - his sessions are at the absolute highest level."
There aren't many teams that can offer a player the experience we get at RB Leipzig.
- "Looking back, I’m very pleased with my first year in Leipzig. It was very easy to settle into the team. We get on as a group and you can see that on the pitch.
For me personally, my first Champions League game sticks in the memory. It felt like everyone had written us off already having lost our first couple of games, but then thanks to a couple of strong performances like those against Real Madrid and Celtic we still managed to reach the last-16. The games in this competition are something special. Every player dreams of hearing the Champions League anthem.
I am really looking forward to the group stage already. Again, there are a few interesting opponents ahead of us. Our aim is clear: We want to reach the knock-out stages again."
David Raum is full of praise for his teammate, who spent four years in the Netherlands playing for Heracles Almelo before joining RB Leipzig.
David Raum on Janis Blaswich
- "It was definitely an exciting time for Janis. At the start of the season, no one would have expected him to play such an important role in the team. Pete Gulácsi unfortunately picked up a serious injury just a few weeks into the season, so Janis was forced to take his place and live up to the challenge."
To be honest, in the team we were initially a little surprised at how quickly he grew into the role. He gives off confidence and gives us stability. The fact that he covered me in the game against Gladbach by saving the penalty I gave away helped us become good friends even quicker."
He really is a role model to me.
- "I really admire Janis for his relaxed nature and his positive attitude towards life. He is always relaxed and makes you feel at ease, so it's always nice to have him around. I think that the way he manages his private life with his wife and child is outstanding. He really is a role model to me."
The defender, who earned his spot in the limelight at TSG Hoffenheim in 2021/22, is candid in his own summary of the 2022/23 season.
- "To be honest, it's been somewhat of a mixed season for me. I had set myself a lot of goals, but I only joined the team a week before the start of the league, so it took me a little while to settle in, even though the boys were super welcoming. In football, new players often need to be patient in the first weeks at a club until they get used to the system and direction of the team.
Nevertheless, I'm extremely proud that we won the Pokal, and it makes me want to achieve more. Playing in the Champions League is huge - you dream about it as a little boy, and then all of a sudden you're standing on the pitch yourself. Instant goosebumps."
You can feel the enthusiasm for the club around the city and at the club.
- "I feel right at home at RB Leipzig. The club is totally in tune with the times, you meet a lot of very dedicated people at the office every day. Whether it's coaches, physiotherapists or our chefs - everything takes place at a very high level.
You can feel the enthusiasm for the club around the city, at the club, and among all the employees. It really gives you so much motivation when you realise that people are backing you."
Motivation and his mentality– Janis' favourite things about his teammate.
Janis Blaswich on David Raum
- "The charisma that David brings to the table is outstanding. He has a great ability to celebrate his teammates for good play, which spurs you on. He's shown great quality on the pitch which he has shown on the pitch from the beginning of the season, and not just in the assists he has got.
I also find it important how a person behaves in private and how he presents himself when things aren't going too well personally, and in this respect I can only speak positively of David. He's a key character in the changing room, who always keeps the team's morale high."
For the Nuremberg-born full-back, his talent as a team player is not just confined to the pitch. “David is almost a kind of social manager for us,” explained Janis. “He takes care that as a team we are always getting up to something – and he does that really well.”
For example, when the team decide to go out to eat together. “There’s also often some singing with that,” continued RBL’s number 22…
- "We’ve got a really cool group here. Everyone can speak honestly and openly with one another. No one sees themselves as better than anyone else, but everyone is open and takes criticism openly. It is fun to work with the boys every day. Events away from the pitch only help us to get closer to one another and to be more relaxed around each other."
The coffees are now finished, both of which were made with oat milk. On game day, however, they both have a different drink of choice. "There's a can or Red Bull here and there before the match or at halftime. That gives you the energy boost that you need," reveals David, who receives a nod of agreement from Janis.
At the end of the interview, the two RBL pros were allowed to take on the role of interview and ask each other a question.
David Raum's question for Janis Blaswich
How do you envisage your future, Janis?
- "I'll stay laid back and let things happen as they come. In football, you can plan your career however you want, but things always pan out differently in the end. My main wish is to stay healthy. Time will tell with everything else."
Janis Blaswich's question for David Raum
What are your goals for the season, David?
- "I've learnt not to set myself numerical targets anymore. Of course, I'll be happy if I can assist as many goals for the boys as possible. I ultimately want to perform and help the team, and the rest will fall into place."
Both agree that their highest priority for the season with RBL is consistency. "We want work at our limit in every game and also win games where we're maybe not the best team on the day," said Janis Blaswich.
Without a doubt, these goals will be discussed further over a cup of coffee or two!
Janis and David's café recommendations in Leipzig
- Franz Morish
- Café Dankbar
- Café Bigoti