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1/22/2016 | Leverkusen
Schmidt: “We’ve got big targets”
Fully focussed. Roger Schmidt and the Werkself look to start with a win at Hoffenheim.
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Here we go again. Head coach Roger Schmidt was clearly raring to go at the pre-match press conference ahead of the Bundesliga restart against TSG Hoffenheim.

The Werkself are back in league action away to Hoffenheim on Saturday (15.30 CET). The hosts are in the middle of a relegation battle at the moment. However: “We won’t judge the opposition by their league position. They have a very experienced coach in Huub Stevens and he will have used the winter break to clear his players’ minds and get them back on track. It will be a difficult game,” warned Roger Schmidt ahead of the clash with the bottom of the table team.

The coach is very happy with his group over the winter break. “We’ve got big targets and the whole group is looking forward to the restart. We want to build on the momentum of the past few weeks,” explained Schmidt and he made special mention of the positive attitude of the four players currently on the injury list Lars Bender, Roberto Hilbert, Sebastian Boenisch and Charles Aranguiz: “It’s fantastic how professional the injured players are in working hard to get fit again as soon as possible.”

If the quartet return as planned Bayer 04 will not have an urgent need to sign new players in the January transfer window. Schmidt: “Transfers depend on when the injured players return. We want to wait and see what happens.” It may be that one or two players who haven’t played much will go out on loan to get match practice. However: “The probability of a key player moving on is zero,” declared Roger Schmidt.

Lars Bender initiates fan meeting

Representatives of fan groups and the first team met up at the Stadioneck bar on Wednesday night to review the first half of the season, look forward to future developments and join forces ahead of the second half of the current campaign. On the initiative of Lars Bender, the skipper was joined by Stefan Kießling and Ömer Toprak plus Rüdiger Vollborn, Meinolf Sprink and representatives from the UL and NK12 supporters clubs.

The players and fans reps spent an enjoyable yet intense 90 minutes discussing how to improve the bond between the Werkself and the fans. Issues covered included the clear identification with Stefan Kießling and Lars Bender and the positive effect on the team of banners celebrating certain milestones or comebacks. The meeting with Bender, Kießling, Toprak and the fan reps under the maxim ‘Us for you – you for us’ is a move in the right direction ahead of the Bundesliga restart.

900 fans will support the Werkself at Hoffenheim.

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