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25.02.2021Europa League

Lomb: 'We try to encourage each other'

Niklas Lomb is currently in goal for Bayer 04 due to the enforced absence of the first choice goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky (Achilles ligament injury). The 27-year-old will again be between the sticks for the second leg of the Europa League knockout tie against Young Boys Bern on Thursday, 25 February (kick-off: 21.00 CET). Ahead of the match at the BayArena, Lomb reveals in an interview in the BayArena Aktuell his thoughts on the 4-3 defeat in the first leg and competition with Lennart Grill.
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Niklas, the situation is clear: You have to beat the Young Boys to qualify for the Round of 16. How are you all approaching this match?
Even if the goal we conceded late on was a blow and also undeserved, I agree with Rudi Völler: A goal like that should sharpen the mind. Now we know exactly what to do: We want to go through to the next round and that's our target so we have to win the game.

What do you think are the lessons from the first match against Young Boys Bern?
We'd be well advised to be on our toes from the start and get stuck in. In the first leg, Bern put us under pressure straightaway and played high up the pitch. Then you need good positional play to bypass the first line of pressing. If we can do that then there will be space for us. Also second balls will play a decisive role. We have to win them.

There was nothing you could do with the goals conceded in the 4-3 defeat in the first leg. But not a good game for a goalkeeper, particularly in the first half...
It's never good for a goalkeeper to concede goals. The circumstances don't really matter. We tried to help each other more in the second half. The organisation was better and we were able to score the three goals.

After your mistake at Augsburg, you probably would have liked the ground to have swallowed you up. How do you deal with setbacks like that?
I believe you should admit your mistakes, face the criticism and learn from it. I'm not somebody who hides and crawls away. It doesn't make any sense to try and deal with mistakes during the game as that's happens in the analysis after the match. Indeed, at that moment you should concentrate on the next situation. Then I will have another chance to help the team.

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You will be kept busy in the coming weeks due to the injury to Lukas Hradecky. You earned the position of being the number two to the first-choice keeper in training this season. How do see things going forward and the competition with Lennart Grill?
It's important to me to give my all in every training session and to continually work on my game. As a competitive sportsman you should always look to push yourself to the limits. That's the only way of getting better. Of course, I was happy at the start of the season to be promoted as the number two keeper. But you can't rest on your laurels. And on competition: That's part and parcel of football. We have a good relationship with each other as goalkeepers. And, of course, we try to encourage each other with good performances. Nobody can relax here. I think competition helps raise performance levels.

As a team, you're going through ups and downs at the moment. What will it need for a successful end to the season?
We’re in a difficult phase at the moment. The negative results have shown we lack the light touch and confidence. These two aspects play a big role for an attacking side. But will get out of this position again. I'm convinced that. The team is intact and you could see that in Bern after we went 3-0 down and also at Augsburg after conceding an early goal. We showed good morale in both games. We will continue to be focused on our work, look to cut out mistakes and then start winning again.

This interview is in the BayArena Aktuell for the Europa League home game against Young Boys Bern. Click HERE for the free online edition.

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