‘It was a very funny time for both of us’

The Werkself take on Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday night (20.30 CET) – and that brings a reunion with Danny da Costa and Dominik Kohr! The two former Werkself pros, who both came through the ranks at the Kurtekotten Academy, are now playing for Eintracht – da Costa left Bayer 04 for Frankfurt for the 2017/18 season and Dominik Kohr did the same in the summer after that. In this double interview, the duo explain how they are getting on in the city on the Main as they look forward to the game on Friday...

Dominik, can you remember how you greeted Danny when you met up for the first time in Frankfurt?
Dominik Kohr: “He just shook his head… No, just joking. I know Danny from the time with the Bayer 04 youth teams and from training sessions with the senior team. He gave me a great welcome. If I had any questions, for example where I could get the training kit from or the way to the training ground then I always asked him first.
Danny da Costa: The whole squad generally makes it easy for new players to fit in. And Domme is a cool bloke too. Everybody likes him.

What are your memories of the time together at Leverkusen?
Kohr: We messed up the final of the German U17 championships together in 2009/10. That was here in Frankfurt against Eintracht – at the FSV stadium. And we recently had a friendly against Chemie Leipzig on that ground. That obviously brought back memories.
da Costa: In general, I remember our time together with the U17s very well. It was a very funny time for both of us.

But the fact the game wasn’t won isn’t down to you two, is it?
da Costa: No, it was the ref’s fault. (he laughs)

Looking back, which coach at Bayer 04 helped you develop most? How?
da Costa: There are two coaches who played a big part in my development: First, Johann Rieckhof, under who – as just mentioned – we reached the final of the U17 German championships. And then, of course, the time under Sascha Lewandowski. We learned a lot from him that proved to be enormously helpful in the professional game. Although both coaches were quite different in terms of approach they did help shape us in their own way.
Kohr: Definitely, I can only agree with that.

Dominik, hand on heart: Was it a bit annoying for you in the summer that the Werkself were in the Champions League and now you are 'only' playing in the Europa League with Eintracht?
Kohr: No, as a footballer you always want to play. And that didn't happen in my last six months at Leverkusen. However, I wish the club all the best in the Champions League. And I'm happy to be able to play here in Frankfurt in the Europa league and I hope we get through the group stage and go as far as we can – ideally experiencing a season like the last one.

Let's move on to the game on Friday: Who are you looking forward to meeting the most?
Kohr: It's not that long ago for me. I'm looking forward to seeing Kevin Volland, Lars Bender, Jonathan Tah… actually all the old crew. And the staff – in fact everybody!
da Costa: I'm most looking forward to meeting up with Lukas Hradecky, Kai Havertz and Rambo (Ramazan Özcan, Ed.). I played alongside Rambo for years at Ingolstadt and I had a crazy time here in Frankfurt with Lukas that was rounded off by winning the cup. I'm looking forward to seeing Kai as well because I always used to take him to training before he'd passed his driving test...

Did Kai sought you out for that? Or does he still owe you?
da Costa: He could definitely invite me around for a meal...(he laughs). Kai is a polite, young man with good manners. He's already said thank you.

What sort of game are you expecting on Friday?
da Costa: Hopefully not one like last season in Leverkusen (he laughs). Bayer 04 we'll probably have a lot of possession. We want to work our way into the game with a battling performance. I feel that we'll be able to compete on equal terms. And then hopefully be able to win the game..
Kohr: I don't think it will be an easy game for either team. Several players from both sides have been on international duty. That makes it difficult to set the teams up perfectly for Friday.

Your predictions?
Kohr: 2-0 to us!
da Costa: Let's make it 2-1. Bayer 04 are pretty strong up front… (he grins)


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