Andy, Bayer 04 face a 1,200-kilometre trip to the Scottish capital for the first away game in the Europa League this season. What can the Werkself expect at Celtic Park?
Thom: There will definitely be a passionate atmosphere – but I don't think I’m giving anything away there. The atmosphere is always fantastic. It will be difficult for Leverkusen to come out on top.
Celtic are the only club you played for abroad. Do you still have special memories of your time there?
Thom: Yes, definitely. I learned an awful lot and had a great time there. When I was at the club, Rangers (Celtic's biggest rivals in Scotland, ed.) were stronger than us individually. But we somehow managed to launch a new era. When you look at how many times Celtic were champions - regardless of the rivals' problems- then that's alright. (He laughs)
What was your perception of the Scottish way of life and the people when you were there?
Thom: They gave me a really warm reception. I quickly tried to learn the language – even though it was very difficult to understand the Scottish accent. That enabled me to communicate relatively quickly and I felt at home. In retrospect, I can definitely say the move was a good decision back then.
Celtic Park is famous for its unique atmosphere. Why do you have to have been there as a football fan?
Thom: I don't know if you really have to have been there. But given my experience, I can say that it is simply exceptional there. The fans are absolutely fantastic and really very loud. It's a pure football stadium where there's an absolute brilliant atmosphere. Back then, when we were playing against Barcelona, you couldn't hear yourself think. It was crazy.
Apart from the fans, what else is special about the club?
Thom: It's a working class club that has stayed loyal to its traditions over the years. The team always give 100 per cent for 90 minutes on the pitch. And even if they don’t always win the fans are grateful for what they see.
Celtic haven't won in the last three games (one draw, two defeats). What's your assessment of the team at the moment?
Thom: Looking at it from afar, Celtic haven't made a good start to the season. Regardless of that, I think the quality of football at Leverkusen is better than at Celtic. But I also believe it will be tricky for Bayer 04. The Celtic players will get stuck in, battle and give their all – that's the prevailing mentality.
Paderborn caused the upset of the second round of the DFB-Pokal as the Bundesliga 2 side beat top-flight Freiburg 3-1. The club from East Westphalia are now out to deliver another cup battle at the BayArena on Wednesday (kick-off: 18:00 CET). Here’s the lowdown on our next opponent.Show more
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The Werkself remain unbeaten after the 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund on Bundesliga Matchday 13. The one-sided game demanded a lot of strength of nerve and competitive spirit from Xabi Alonso's team. In the end, Victor Boniface rewarded the relentless attacking efforts of the league leaders against passive but efficient visitors. The Werkself review.Show more