Guido Burgstaller: I realised one of my biggest dreams

After finishing his well deserved holiday and returning to training with the rest of his teammates on Monday (16.7), Guido Burgstaller’s first week back with the Royal Blues is almost complete. The striker spoke to about the competition for places in the team, his holiday with his family back in Austria and his aims for the season to come.

Guido, as you and Alessandro Schöpf had only finished with your international duty back in the middle of June, neither of you made the trip to China and it was more about recharging the batteries. How did you spend your time off?
I was certainly not under much stress I can tell you that (laughs). We had a really nice holiday.  I was back at home with my family in Austria for a lot of the time, but I also went to Croatia with them and some friends too. It was all very laid back. I really enjoyed going to lakes and the sea, because that’s where I can relax the most.

Did you take some time to reflect on last season during your time off?
Of course, a few games run through your mind more often than not – whether it be a specific moment within the game or just celebrating in front of the fans. You don’t forget things like that quickly. I’m really happy here at Schalke. I have a lot of experience playing for Schalke under my belt and I’ve enjoyed every second of it. Last season was something really special. That comeback to make it 4-4 in the derby, it will stay with me forever.

Last season was something really special

Guido Burgstaller

How excited are you for the new season?
We’ve started the pre-season ready to go and we’re all happy to finally be getting down to work again. I can hardly wait to play in the Veltins Arena again! Now I’ve just got to get my body back up to speed (laughs). We’re doing two training sessions per day at the moment which is very tiring, especially when the weather is so hot. But that’s part of pre-season.

The squad has grown somewhat over the summer. One of the new arrivals is Steven Skrzybski, who has made the jump from Bundesliga 2 to the top flight, just like you once did. Can you pass on any little things to know for his first season in the Bundesliga?
I’m not some all-knowing person that will say to everyone what they need to do. He should continue doing what made him so successful in the second division, meaning his attacking strengths – scoring goals and providing assists. He doesn’t need to drastically change his game. If he can build on his success with us now in the Bundesliga, then he can help us to have a good season. We’re all really happy to have him on board.

Another new face is Mark Uth, who was the Bundesliga’s third top scorer last season. Is that a bit of competition for you?
Competition for places in the team is nothing new. New players come to clubs every summer, to fight with other players at that position for spots in the team. I’ve known that for ten years now and I will for however long I’m playing football. I can deal with it. Mark is a really gifted attacking player and we already get along very well. We all saw last season that he has the ability to score goals and that he has some outstanding attacking skills. We need that sort of ability for this season, because we will be taking part in a lot of games.

I want to score goals - a lot of goals

Guido Burgstaller

Do you have goals for the new season? Both for the team and for yourself?
I want to score goals – a lot of goals (laughs). The most important thing is that I stay fit for the whole season again though. That is the one constant that you need to play consistently well. I hope that the league will be a bit more exciting. It’s obviously natural that Bayern will begin the season as clear favourites, but we and all the other teams will give our best to try and take as many points from them as possible. We’ll see how it all turns out at the end.

And then there’s the Champions League of course!
I’m so excited. The Champions League is the highest level that a footballer can play at. It will be the first time for me that I will be taking part in it. It’s always been one of my biggest dreams, and now I have realised it. We’re really happy to have qualified and we can proud of our achievement. This is only the beginning though.

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