10.12.2020Europa League

Schick ahead of clash with Slavia: 'A special game for me'

Additional motivation: On Thursday 10 December (kick-off: 18.55 CET/live on DAZN and on Werks11 Radio), Patrik Schick and the Werkself meet Slavia Prague – the biggest rival for his youth team club. The 24-year-old summer signing was brought through the ranks at Sparta Prague, the city rivals to this evening's opponents for Bayer 04. Ahead of the clash with his fellow countrymen, the Czech Republic international spoke to the BayArena Aktuell matchday magazine about the importance of the game and the visitors’ coach Jindrich Trpisovsky.

Patrik, you missed the first game against Slavia Prague through injury but now you're back on board in the return fixture. You made your way as a footballer at Sparta Prague and there is always an edge to the derbies against Slavia. Is this still a special game for you?
Definitely. I've always been a fan of Sparta. And there is a great rivalry between the two clubs. It will be a special game for me. Particularly as I know some of the Slavia players from the national team.

Have you spoken to your teammates from the national team ahead of the game? Perhaps there's been a bit of teasing? Does that motivate you?
No. There's been no contact. And I'm always motivated. I want to help my team with goals and a good performance. We want to finish top of the group. So we have to win.

Both Bayer 04 and Slavia are through to the knockout rounds ahead of the last matchday. Did you expect both teams to be so far ahead of the others?
Perhaps not by that much. But I did believe we would finish in first place. Slavia are a top Czech team and are regularly in European competitions.

Under coach Jindrich Trpisovsky, Slavia have become a dominant team in your home country and an opponent to take seriously in Europe. What's your assessment of his work? What is special about the football his team plays?
He's a very emotional bloke. He always gives 100 per cent. And that's how he works with the team. His players have to roll their sleeves up in training. Hard work. There are hardly any breaks. Always flat out. A lot of pressing and counter pressing. That's a very intense style.

Slavia have not dropped any points since the defeat in the first game at Be'er Sheva. What will it come down to for you to ensure you win the group on Thursday?
We’ll be well advised to focus on ourselves. It will be about being decisive with the ball and being compact if we lose possession. If we can get the basics right as we have done recently then we will get our chances.

You had a long time out after your muscle injury and have only been back for a few weeks. The current situation with the team excludes major rotation of the moment. How fit do you feel and how much will you have to look after for your body?
I've used the break well and I feel fit. Now it will be important for me to find a rhythm by playing. That's not always that easy. You could say that I now have to jump onto a moving train. It will be important for me to get to know the teammates a bit better and take in the way we play football. Runs, distribution of space and so on. That will take time. But we'll get there. And it's more important for us to continue our winning run.


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