Gerardo Seoane on…
…the summer break and the first training session: "The five-week break was long enough. There was sufficient time for all the players and coaches to recharge their batteries and build up strength. Now we just can't wait to get started being able to work with the lads again and to see the team, colleagues and staff. We are all happy to do our job and just love being on the pitch day after day. Today it was great to see so many children at the pitch and they were finally able to get up close to the players again after such a long time."
…contact with players, fellow coaches and colleagues during the summer break: "In contrast to my first year here, we were able to discuss a lot of things in advance and then during the holidays we only needed to give each other updates at regular intervals. Of course, it's part of our job to be in constant contact to be able to make the right decisions in the end. This time I was able to gain two or three weeks to deal with other things.
…fine-tuning needed during the pre-season: "If all the players come back and, above all, are fit and healthy then I think we have a top squad. We have really good players of international quality in many positions. But we also know that there are still many challenges ahead of us during the pre-season. There are players who were injured and need to rediscover their rhythm. Some had a shortened holiday and many others were away on international duty. Therefore, we will first work on general fitness and then on a more individual basis to be in a position to field the team in the first friendlies at the end of the day."
…the current position with the squad: "It remains our target to keep the team together. That has worked well up to now with those being able to announce two very positive contract extensions with Florian (Wirtz) and Patrik (Schick). It appears likely that Florian will not be fit again in the first half of the season and we also need another option in attack with the departure of Lucas Alario. We were able to fill that gap with Adam Hlozek. There are definitely one or two other moves in prospect – it's always a rolling plan. But neither us nor the players are under pressure."
…Moussa Diaby and Charles Aránguiz: "Moussa (Diaby) knows what we think of him. He knows what he has here. As a club we always strive to give important players like him an important role. We all appreciate him. Of course, we also know things can happen in football that we can't influence. But Moussa is very happy here and I'm convinced he will carry on playing for Bayer 04. The same applies to Charly Aránguiz. We are very happy with his performances and he had a really good second half of the season. Therefore. I'm assuming he will start the season with us."
…the current state of play with Florian Wirtz: "The most important thing is for us to support him and help him get fit again – for us but also, above all, for him and his career. The exact time he returns is therefore of secondary importance. Obviously if he plays two games in November then we will be happy. But it's more important that he remains fit over the long term and that he's built up correctly for the future. It's about the health of the player and therefore we know that things can go up and down in situations like that. Therefore, there is no pressure on us."
…targets for the season ahead: "We have a good mix of young players with great potential and players who already took a big step forward last year. And we also have players coming in with plenty of experience. Our aim is to have more options at all levels as opponents are increasingly aware of us over time. So, everybody has to develop physically, tactically, technically but also mentally to be able to improve and deliver results in the end."
…other recovered, injured or missing players: "We are happy to welcome back so many players. Jeremie Frimpong, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Karim Bellarabi and Kerem Demirbay are all fit again. Nadiem Amiri has recently trained indoors. Patrik Schick worked here in Leverkusen for a few weeks before starting his holiday late and he will therefore return over the course of the week – but then initially train on his own. Amine Adli will join full training again in two or three weeks. Unfortunately, Paulinho is ill and Charles Aránguiz had problems with his return journey but he will be back in the next few days."
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