Before our clash with FC Erzgebirge Aue, kick off Saturday (13:00 CET,) VfL midfielder Robert Tesche paid a visit to our colleagues at VfL ECHO, and here is what he had to say:
Welcome, Robert, have you processed the Osnabrück match yet?
In all honesty, I haven’t. The team performance and also my own performance is still on my mind. I felt a bit ashamed afterwards. We were too passive. I was too passive in my position and didn't really get stuck into 50/50’s. I didn't play the way I wanted to.
What’s your explanation for the team’s first-half performance?
It is always difficult to explain that sort of thing. Osnabrück did well in the first half, and we didn't. I felt that we didn’t go into the challenges with 100% commitment. At least, that's how it felt to me on the pitch. In the second half, we did better, but not well enough to win. If we were more compact, it would have been much easier – you get into the challenges more easily and you have a completely different feeling on the pitch. In the end, we have to accept that it was a point gained. The game is behind us now and the focus is entirely on the Aue match.
FC Erzgebirge Aue are the surprise package of the season, just three points behind highly-rated VfB Stuttgart. What is your take on them?
They've already picked up quite a few points this season. Originally, Aue were predicted to be midtable or in the lower half of the table, but with their new coach Dirk Schuster, they have managed to establish themselves near the top. They are enjoying a good run at the moment and it's going to be a tough task for us to break their stride.
The last game felt like a defeat to me even though it was a draw. We got a point that lifted us by one position in the league table – you can look at that as a positive. Our coach Thomas Reis always tries to emphasise the positives, but he also shows us where we didn’t do so well and points out things that we need to urgently rectify for the next fixture. There is no other way. If we are still unbeaten but not playing well, it is just a matte rof time before we taste defeat. Aue are having a good spell at the moment and they are confident. But away from home they haven’t been quite so formidable this season, only winning once. We haven't lost at home yet, so we stand a good chance.
You said that the point allowed you to climb one place up the table. Is it actually an issue amongst the squad that because the whole league is so close together with one or two wins, you’d be easily able to settle in midtable?
This year it’s brutally close. In our current situation it is a huge advantage that all teams are so close together. We’ve been struggling from the very start of the season, but anything’s still possible because the gaps between teams are not that big. If we win, we can gain some ground on others further up the table – and of course we are eager to beat Aue. In the end we will see where we finally finish.
Now back to tomorrow’s opponent. Your own record against Aue is rather positive; two wins and one defeat. Is that something as a player that might play on your mind?
No, not at all. I can only remember our last clash, when we unfortunately lost 3-2 last year. Their winner was a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time at the end of the game. That was a heartbreaking experience and a really annoying loss. We had managed to equalise after being 2-0 down, and we were close to even turning things completely around – but then Aue were awarded a penalty and we lost. It was so frustrating. In the home fixture earlier last season the roles were reversed, when we scored a winner in the nick of time. Now it’s a new campaign and the squads are different, the respective situations of both clubs are different. We’ll give our all to earn all three points at home tomorrow.
How do you rate how your season has gone so far? At the beginning of the season you spent most games on the bench, but now you’ve re-established yourself into the starting eleven of late.
I’m very happy to be playing again at the moment. I don’t know what prompted the decision to leave me out beforehand, but now I’m just happy to be back in the team and I’m trying my best to perform well to keep my place in the starting line-up.