Benjamin Stambouli: More confident than last year

No matter if he plays as a central defender or holding midfielder, Benjamin Stambouli is comfortable in both roles thanks to his flexibility. He’d even be ready to venture forward and play striker, he explained to with a wink.

Benji, what do you take away from the win over Hoffenheim?

We put in a good performance. We were tactically well prepared and gave everything to win. The three points were a big boost for our confidence. It’s the kind of boost we need going into a big game like the one we have coming up against Leverkusen.

Do you prefer playing in a four or five at the back formation?

I don’t really know the answer to that. We’re playing well in both formations at the moment. Everyone knows their job. We’re not tied down to one system. That’s a positive thing and very important.

You also recently played in a holding midfielder role again…

If you’re number is called, then you have to be ready. And I am! When I’m selected to play in central defence, then I will try to help the team as best I can in that position. The same goes for in midfield. I wouldn’t even have a problem if the coach wanted me to play up front (laughs). I’ll always give my all for the team and at the moment things are going well.

Would you say that your second year at Schalke has been better than the first?

Yes! Last season was a difficult one for the team. We didn’t start well and thereafter things didn’t go well for me personally on the pitch either. I’ve now got to know the Bundesliga style of play. I’m playing with more confidence and feel at home with this team. I’m happy that things are going so well at the moment.

For only having been here a short time, your German is extremely good. Are you still taking German lessons?

Thanks very much! No I’m not taking lessons any more. But I try to sit down and learn myself about two to three times a week. I’ve also learned a lot from just being in the dressing room. Sometimes it helps me, sometimes it doesn’t (laughs). It’s important to me that I learn the German language – both for my time here at the club, but also for me personally. So I’ll keep trying to improve.

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