Martin Fraisl: I’ve recharged my batteries

After the full-time whistle blew in the final game before the winter break, Martin Fraisl revealed that he was going to become a father for the second time in 2022. Ahead of the birth of his child in the summer, the goalkeeper wants to be as successful with Schalke 04 as possible. In an interview with schalke04.de, the Austrian spoke about preparations for the second half of the season, the team’s current points tally, the first game back against Holstein Kiel and his compatriot Benedikt Pichler, who is currently Kiel’s top scorer.

Martin Fraisl

Martin, you all would have probably preferred to prepare for the second half of the season at the training camp in Belek, Turkey. Had you already packed your bags?

I actually hadn’t yet, because I did sort of expect given the current Corona situation that we would stay here.

Instead, you’ve been training in Gelsenkirchen. What’s been the difference?

It’s been a definite advantage that the risk of infection is lower here. We’re in familiar territory and haven’t gone to any airports, which are buildings where lots of people come together. We want to have as strong a squad as possible for the start of the second half of the season and not have to be without several players who have been infected and would therefore need to go into isolation. We haven’t been affected by any cases since New Year. We probably would’ve had some better weather in Belek and also spent more time with each other as a squad. But the risk-reward-ratio definitely speaks for itself and means the sensible decision was to not travel to Turkey.

You ended 2021 in fourth place in the league. How would you evaluate your performances so far?

When you analyse the first half of our season, you definitely need to take into account the huge interruptions we underwent the summer before. We needed a considerable amount of time as a team on the pitch to better understand each other – you could clearly see that and that didn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Everything doesn’t just all come together in two or three weeks. It takes time. In light of all that, I think we’ve come along well as a group. At the start of the season we spent a lot of time in ninth, tenth, 11th place. After that, we gradually started to make our way up the table. Now we need to keep progressing.

We’ve come along well as a group. Now we need to keep progressing.

Martin Fraisl

You gave it your absolute all in the final game before Christmas against Hamburg and took away a more-than-deserved point. It was clear to see after the game that you were all very exhausted after putting up a strong fight. How have you been able to recharge the batteries during the short winter break?

I spent the holiday period with close family in the mountains in my home town in Austria, and I was really able to turn off in the first few days. After Christmas, it began to become all about football again because I began to work through my individual training programme. Every one of us had a programme for the winter break, although I definitely would have done some exercise myself during this time and not just put my feet up, because as a sportsman you feel this urge inside you to get moving and do some physical activity. I’ve definitely recharged my batteries.

You revealed in an interview after the Hamburg game that you are going to become a father for the second time this year. When are you expecting?

During the summer (laughs). My partner and I are really looking forward to having our second child.

You welcome Holstein Kiel to the VELTINS-Arena for the first game in 2022. Your opponents won their last game 3-0 against FC St. Pauli in the last game before the winter break. Did that result surprise you?

Not really. Before the season began, I said that Kiel had a top squad and would be in the running for at the top of the table. Our opponents didn’t start brilliantly and have already changed their head coach, but in the past few months, they’ve shown what qualities they have.

Kiel’s top scorer this season is a compatriot of yours, Benedikt Pichler. Have you ever crossed paths with him?

We’ve not played against each other yet. But I know Benedikt because we have a mutual friend. We’ve chatted a few times about diet, because I know a lot about this topic. It’s no surprise to me that Benedikt is one of Kiel’s key players.

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