Press conference at Castroper Straße! Ahead of the first away game of the season in Karlsruhe (Sunday, 13:30 CET) head coach Thomas Reis as well as VfL striker Simon Zoller were expecting the questions of the journalists in a virtual gathering.

Thomas Reis on…

…the squad: Herbert Bockhorn and Thomas Eisfeld will definitely not be able to play. I hope Thomas can re-join the regular training sessions from next week on an will be an option for the next home match against Osnabrück again. Maxim Leitsch was forced to take a short break this week after suffering a knee injury. But he could do today’s full training session, which is why there’s no reason against an appearence on Sunday.

…new signing Raman Chibsah: We have integrated him into the regular training sessions over the week. Obviously, he still has a slight deficit, we have to wait and see how quick he can make up for it. Nevertheless he is already a candidate for the team, but a place in the first eleven might come too soon, yet. We’re glad that we have him with us – he further contributes to the competition within the squad. He is a different type of player who has great skills in tackling.

...possible new signings: The transfer window is still open for some time. We don’t know if another player is going to sign for or to leave the club. Im constantly in touch with Sebastian Schindzielorz. We keep all in sight. Maybe it would be good to add another player – especially in the defence. These positions are not equal to the the situation up front, where I have the agony of choice. But when we sign another player, he just hast o fit to VfL, otherwise we will start with the squad as it is now – and I’m really satisfied with it.

…the youth players in the squad: There’s a regular communication. Corona is not over yet, we’re stuck right in the middle of a pandemic, which underlines the importance of a quite large squad. The lads are doing a great job, they’re improving themselves constantly – that’s how it should be. E.g. Armel is very close, he is focussed during the training sessions and does a lot of hard work. I hope his progress continues like that.

…Karlsruhe SC: They suffered a painful defeat after individual mistakes – especially before Hannover’s first goal. Karlsruhe is a team that tries to lure its opponents. They have the plan to created spaces and getting into possession in order to get behind the other side’s back. It’s going to be a lot of work and won’t be easy, for sure, because KSC are known for their tough style of play.

Simon Zoller on…

…the return of the fans: We are not in the position to decide whether fans are allowed to watch the games in the stadium or not. Of course, we are delighted about every single supporter. But, in my opinion health has the highest priority – everybody hast o stay safe. As for my part, things haven’t changed that much, as I’m very focussed on the match itself. But I’m always happy to see and hear the crowd during the warm-up. Also after scoring goals or good moves you can feel the fans’s reactions. Yet we take the situation as it is. We could cope with the period after the re-start quite impressively. We have to build on these performances.

…the draw against St Pauli: I took me a day longer to get over this game than usual. It was really bitter. We dominated almost the whole game and created numerous reasonable chances, even though the final pass was missing from time to time. Then I left the pitch in the 80th minute, believing the deal is sealed. The finale ten minutes were like a complete chaos. In the end we make two mistakes that must not happen. Still we were playing quality football for 80 minutes – that’s what we want to keep in our minds and show in Sunday’s match.

…the game against KSC: KSC are a very physical team that has its strength in tacklings and high balls. Philipp Hofmann is a friend of mine who has a great ability to affect a game. But I do not know about his current situation. We are well-advised to defend properly from the very beginning. At the same time we want to keep in mind the second half of last season’s second leg game. We are aware that we can do a good job there and should go for the win in Karlsruhe anyway.