After his 72nd appearance for 1. FC Union Berlin, left-back Christopher Lenz will head for pastures new. The 26-year-old from Berlin has spent four years at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei and has played a key role in the club's historic first-ever promotion to the Bundesliga, as well as, our current fight for a place in European competition. Before he leaves for Eintracht Frankfurt, we had the chance to sit down with a promotion hero.
Who is the opponent who surprised you the most? One maybe you didn't think was too cool, but actually was.
I think I was most surprised by Julian Brandt. I had a lot of good counterparts at the time, but he makes moves on the field that were difficult for me to predict or follow. I didn't have that much to do with him because he played more in the middle but that was really impressive.
And was there anyone whose character made you think he must be a really arrogant guy, but he was actually really cool?
Jerome Boateng was really funny at Bayern, and he always made jokes about corner kicks. And of my teammates? Christian Gentner impressed me the most in the end, because he's won two German championships, played over 400 games in the Bundesliga, but is just a normal person like everyone else.
Nice. Who is your funniest team-mate?
Anthony Ujah, I think. Whenever Tony comes in, there's a good mood in the dressing room. That's very important.
Do you actually have a separate 'Anthony Ujah List' in your playlist that you play in the dressing room?
No, but I have included a few songs from his African Vibes in my list.
How would you describe your years at Union in two to three words?
Incredible, memorable and beautiful.
Who are your neighbours in the dressing room?
There were quite a few. Hübi (Florian Hübner) was a permanent fixture on the left. On the right, it was Polti (Sebastian Polter), Tim Maciejewski and now Peter Musa.
If you had to say where you've developed the most, what has been your greatest progression at Union in footballing terms?
I think the change from a four-man to a five-man defensive line, to know what advantages each system has, what the required profile is for tactical shapes and of course the selfless work for others.
You came back to us from Holstein Kiel and got promoted straight away.
Yes, I also think that I can't remember ever really being in the bottom with a team, touch wood. Whether it was Gladbach II or here at Union, half the year. We were very successful there. Then at Kiel the year and a half were also successful and then it went on again at Union. I'm already happy that things are going so well. Of course, that can change, but I hope not.
We'll keep our fingers crossed for you. Of course, I'd be interested to know which game here was particularly formative for you.
For me, the derby here at home in front of fans will always remain in my mind because, as a Berliner, I had a goosebump feeling all week in advance. I don't usually have that. I'm usually relatively relaxed before games, but there even I was excited.
And from the promotion season? Was there a special game?
Yes, in Bochum. We had a whole horde of fans behind us who were actually screaming for us to win promotion. But we were poor and we didn't stand a chance at first. Luckily, we came back with 15-20 minutes to go and that gave us a real push. It was really tight at the end. When we didn't go up but finished third, many of us were devastated. I still remember the photos of Rafa (Gikiewicz) crying on the floor. Many people felt that way in the dressing room. They cried because many of them didn't know whether this was the last chance to go up. It was a special moment.