Christian Heidel: The team is learning every day

Reaching the quarter-finals of the DFB-Pokal is the icing on the cake for Christian Heidel at the moment. “I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect first half of the season as that would mean it’d be impossible to top our performances in recent weeks and months”, said the sporting director. “We’re simply delighted that we have been able to put into practice on the pitch what’s been happening behind the scenes.”

Christian Heidel

With 30 points on the board, the Knappen head into 2018 second in the Bundesliga. “As soon as you look at the table, you notice – aside from Bayern – that it’s extremely close”, explained the 54-year-old. As far as we’re concerned, the next game is the most important one – until now this attitude has served us well and we’ll carry on conducting ourselves as we are. I’m not going to share a specific goal or say we have to finish in place X after 34 matchdays.”

Heidel emphasises that what’s most important in his view is that the team continue to develop day-by-day. “I know we still have room to improve and the lads want to keep on learning”, Heidel added: “We still have 18 games to go and I’m sure the lads will do their best and that’s all we can ask for.”

The recent positivity will stay with us for the coming games

Christian Heidel

The Royal Blues took their last game of 2017 very seriously indeed. “It certainly wasn’t the perfect game but, in the DFB-Pokal, the most important thing is progressing and we deservedly have done”, said Heidel. “It was also a game of patience. If we had taken the lead sooner, Köln would have had to change their tactical stance. It was really tough to break them down.”

As well as being happy with the team advancing to the next round, the sporting director was also especially pleased for the player who scored the winner. “All goals are special – especially in this instance because it was such an important goal and it was to be the decisive one. Max deserves that for his performances of late” were the words of Heidel.

Max isn’t the only one receiving praise though. Domenico Tedesco and his coaching staff also were complimented on for the team’s upsurge in form.”From the very beginning, I had a good feeling it was all going to come together.” The sporting director went on to depict the side as one which sticks together and never gives up. Even the setbacks have been overcome, “with Nabil Bentaleb and Leon Goretzka being out with injury, the lads have had to dig deep without two key players in the middle of the park. That says a lot about the character of the squad.”

The Royal Blues want to use the break to recharge their batteries after weeks of tough battles. Heidel, the coaching staff and the team don’t have too much time though as their 2018 begins with a training camp in Benidorm. Whether the winter break helps the Royal Blues, Christian Heidel is reluctant to say. “The question of whether it’ll be beneficial for us can only be answered in January.” One positive is that we don’t have to start from 0 in January. “The recent positivity will stay with us for the coming games” said a certain Heidel. “For now, we deserve a few days of rest to get away from football.”

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