Three years ago, Keven Schlotterbeck was playing in Germany's amatuer leagues. Now, the 22-year-old defender — on loan from SC Freiburg — is part of 1. FC Union Berlin’s first Bundesliga squad. Our press officer Christian Arbeit spoke to the young player to discuss his start in Berlin, his previous clubs and spare time. The full interview is available on AFTV, our club channel, or in the stadium magazine for the match against Borussia Dortmund.
CA: You have started really well with us. Why did you make the transfer here this summer?
KS: My younger brother (Nico) is playing in Freiburg and now from the start. That was a big reason for me to come here. However, I also realised how important the move could be for me. I’ve managed to start well here and avoiding the brother competition was important for me. A point from two games is improvable, of course, but personally it just felt very good to run out in a new shirt for a new club.
You scored the first competitive goal of the season, a fabulous header in the German Cup. You can't start much better in a new club, can you?
Yes, that's true. For me, the 1-0 against Leipzig would have been more important, but the goal in Halberstadt was the small first step to reach the second round. I hope it can go on like this and score a few more goals.
We have taken a look at your past: how did you start in football and eventually end up at SC Freiburg?
I was a late developer. It started at the age of about three or four. I played in my hometown club until I was 12 years old. I enjoyed a good training education at Stuttgarter Kickers. Then came the time when I had to concentrate on school and I didn't play so much football. In that time, I played more with small clubs: TSG Backnang, VfL Kirchheim and then back again. My brother played at Kalrsruhe during this time and met with agents. I was often present at these meetings. At some point, Freiburg expressed their interest and for me it was lucky that it went so fast.
TSG Backnang – what sort of club is this for you?
A very family-like one, similar to the way I've experienced it here in the last two months. I’m very grateful for my time there. The team and coach always gave me their complete confidence. I'm in good contact with the sporting management there. They want to watch a game here in Berlin and they still support me and are fully behind me.
Did your football idols change when it became clear that you would develop into a central defender? Who is your favourite central defender now?
There's nobody like Van Dijk at the moment. In Germany, Mats Hummels is one of the best in this position for me. I was also developed as a number six and there, Iniesta and Xavi were my favourites. They were great football players who also shaped my playing philosophy.
What do you do when you're not playing football?
I will go into the city later. I don't have anyone here but the guys from the team. That automatically makes you look for close contact with your teammates: for example, I'm in close contact with Andy and Flo (Gogia and Hübner, editor's note) and sometimes do something with them after work.