10.03.2022Bayer 04

Seoane: We've simulated fixture congestion

Not much time for a breather: The Werkself did have a day off on Monday 7 March following the 1-1 draw against league leaders Bayern Munich. Head coach Gerardo Seoane then had his players back on the pitch on Tuesday morning. Following the training session, the Swiss coach fielded questions from journalists in a media interview.

Gerardo Seoane on…

...the personnel situation after the match against FC Bayern: We didn't have any new injuries and all the players are fit. Karim (Bellarabi, ed.) has not yet returned to full training but has done some work on his own. Patrik’s (Schick, ed.) healing process is also going well and he's now starting rehab training. But neither player is available for Thursday. With Robert (Andrich, ed.) we will only be able to make a decision late on. Inflammation in the knee just takes time and we want to get to a position where he has absolutely no pain any more.

...Sardar Azmoun’s first game for Bayer 04: We're happy with Sardar's first appearance. You can already see what type of player he is. He's a seasoned footballer, has a sense for runs and space, and doesn't lose the ball much. Overall, he is very ambitious and effective. He's not currently at 100% in terms of his explosiveness but he gives us additional variation in our game and is different from the other strikers.

...the Europa League tie against Atalanta: We see the two legs as four halves where one bad one can cost you going through. So the next match is always the most crucial one for us. We’re fully focused on that. We are expecting an aggressive match, it won't be excessive but they are very proactive in challenges and that has seen them concede relatively few goals.

...Exequiel Palacios: After his back injury, which almost lasted one month, it has taken time to get him back to full strength but he’s already had a good game against Bielefeld (3-0, ed.). We didn't play him against Bayern because of Thursday. The one-match suspension for Kerem (Demirbay, ed.) and the question mark over Robert means Pala will have a job in midfield. He has very good dynamism, finds good solutions under pressure but he can also defend. His ability to tackle will be particularly helpful against Atalanta.

...the influence of fixture congestion on the training rhythm: Fixture congestion has influenced training throughout the season. In our planning and implementation, we always try to maintain the same rhythm. We often have a game on Saturday and then it's a case of setting the highest workload for Wednesday where, for example, we practice matches in training. The workload is similar on Thursdays and Sundays in weeks with Europa League games. We try to give the players Mondays off or work on recovery but we don't confront them with the ball at that time so that we can remain fresh mentally. That's actually the biggest challenge.

...the cohesion of the team and coaching staff: Whenever you start somewhere new, it's always about trying things out at first until you find the right wavelength. You don't know what type of team you’ve got, what the players are like, what they find funny, and which approach is most effective. But it's the same the other way round as the players don't know what makes you tick as a coach. Therefore, constant feedback from the players is important to us, for example, of whether a drill is too complicated. We always look at ourselves critically. In addition, we, the coaches and staff but also the whole team including Rudi (Völler, ed.), Simon (Rolfes, ed.) and the Performance Centre, try to support each other and come up with new ideas to again and again break up the monotony and bring variety to training. So it's completely normal for things to go in waves. The results are the proof of this approach at the end of the day.

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