The final matchday programme interview of the season took place on Monday with club captain Christopher Trimmel. The 32-year-old from Austria joined the club in the summer of 2014 from Rapid Vienna. With Trimmel and 1. FC Union Berlin hosting 1. FC Magdeburg on Sunday, the penultimate week of the season, Christian Arbeit asked the skipper about his feelings at the moment in the current predicament and about our competition.
Let’s start with an easy qustion: where is the best place to eat a Wiener Schnitzel in Berlin?
CT: Difficult question (laughs). There are some good shops, but my favourite is that Mutzenbacher in Friedrichshain, the Schnitzelpuff. That’s where I think is the best.
If we compare where we are at the moment, and think back to last season, how does it feel?
It feels much better! Of course, there is now pressure on us again. It was even worse for me last season, when it was obviously about so much. Not only for the players, but for the whole club. We solved the situation back then and for me, it was also important that we solved it positively. Of course there’s just as much pressure now, but it’s more of a positive pressure. It’s obviously annoying when you don’t take the points in Darmstadt. However, given the last few years, that’s a different point.
You’ve been here now for quite some time. Do you also feel this longing from the club and around us that we finally will succeed in the major achievement?
Absolutely! When I came from Austria, there was already a plan going forward. That was in my head every season. You know it’s hard, but in the last few years, we’ve built up the club and the team in such a way to get better and better. It was already in the bag. I’ve seldom myself been so mentally knocked out after defeats of this season. When we lost, with a few exceptions, it was always like we didn’t have anything to lose. The game now is an example: we have been scoring lots of goals, we should have pulled through, but then lost. That’s gnawing.
You often read things like "The players don't want that at all" on forums or on social media. Can you even be like that? Is it possible?
Not in our team. You would feel that, even in training. I am with the guys every day; you'd notice something like that. If it were that way, we would have reacted soon enough. There are certainly players like that in other clubs, but they're usually the ones who get suspended. There is no such thing with us. Everyone gives their absolute best. Except for the game in Fürth, where we seemed to be mentally blocked, there was no game where you could accuse the boys of not giving everything.
The defensive stability has meant that you didn’t lose a single game in the Hinrunde. Have you ever experienced anything like that before?
No, that was quite unusual. It’s so evident, especially in the home games - nothing goes wrong in the back line, and if it does, Rafal Gikiewicz is there. It was important this season that we developed this feeling of stability at the back. I remember the first game against Paderborn, when they were still the strongest attacking team with an average of over 20 shots on goal per game - and against us it was just three. That was a sign for me that we can do a lot right and implement our game plan. We may have lost that mixture a bit in the last few weeks. When you tighten up and don't go forward much, you don't want that either. We've lacked this balance in recent weeks. Now we've caught our breath again. Although we lost in Darmstadt, we also did many things right - only the goals are missing.
Two weeks to go until we have a setup where Cologne is probably up. Behind them, there are three teams who have come out of a long, hard-fought season: us, HSV & Paderborn. One of these teams will end up in fourth — why won’t it be us?
We’ve already played outstanding games against HSV and in Darmstadt. We lost — that’s always shit. But we didn’t play bad football due to that, because we had huge chances and didn’t give much out. The self-belief is back. We are showing the strengths which made us stand out. Now we’ve got a huge game at home and we’re all up for it. I’m looking forward to the atmosphere of the fans from the terraces. It will be magical one again. We don’t need more motivation from the outside: we’re looking at ourselves and we’re going to win this game. Then we’ll look further. We give our best, that’s the guarantee from my side. No supporter will notice someone not trying their best, that’s important.