Thilo Kehrer: My will to win blocked out pain
In Friday night’s 1-0 win over Mainz, Thilo Kehrer picked up a black eye in a challenge with Robin Quaison. The injury didn’t stop the defender from completing the full 90 minutes though. The U21 European championship winner spoke to us about looking in the mirror, talking to his teammates and the weekend’s trip to Wolfsburg.
Thilo, first and foremost, how’s your eye?
It’s getting better. The medical staff have been treating it in the past few days. It’s still swollen but that’s hardly surprising as it was a big bruise. I think you could see that on the pitch!
Can you train yet?
I tested it out today (Wednesday) but didn’t want to take any risks. I’m hoping to be able to play on Saturday.
I blocked out the pain.
Was it a shock when you when you looked in the mirror at half-time in Mainz?
Shortly after the clash, I noticed my eye had swollen. Naldo told me that it was a large swelling. Franco di Santo said though it was just a little scratch! Then it played out that I played the first half before talking to the medical tea,. They told me nothing bad could happen and, as my vision wasn’t impaired and I felt okay, I wanted to carry on.
Despite the injury, you didn’t shy out of any challenge. How were you able to ignore the pain?
It was bearable. I was full focused and full of adrenaline so I wasn’t worried by the pain. Besides, I wanted to win as the game was important for us.
Did you talk about it in the team huddle after the game? For instance, Breel Embolo posted a selfie and made a Rocky Balboa reference.
As the German saying goes: The laugh is always on the loser! It wasn’t a problem though. The lads were only joking. My dad also wound me up about it. I had a day off and visited my family in Tübigen. The time at home did me a world of good.
From a footballing perspective, Friday wasn’t the prettiest game but the result was what we wanted. Why are we able to turn results in our favour at the moment?
I think this season our togetherness is one of our biggest strengths. We’re performing on and off the pitch. Our team spirit is definitely having a positive impact on our performances. Each and everyone of us is working hard to win.
Our team spirit helps us win games.
Next weekend’s opponents are also fighting against the drop. How do you see the trip to Wolfsburg panning out?
These games are always misleading as it looks on paper that we are favourites but you can’t think like that. If you’re like that, you can find yourself behind very quickly. The teams who are towards the bottom of the table are fighting hard as they don’t want to get relegated. I think that’s why the games aren’t always the prettiest. In Mainz, we played like we too were fighting relegation. In Wolfsburg, it will be a different kind of game. I’m convinced our coaching staff will prepare us fully. Sure, it’s our aim to get three points on the board once again.
You made your debut versus Wolfsburg over two years ago now. How did that feel when you look back?
It was a very special moment for me and one I’d been working extremely hard for. I was excited – who wouldn’t be? As I was substituted on when we were winning 3-0 already, I was able to play my own game.
Wolfsburg have two players in Maximilian Arnold and Yannick Gerhardt who you played with at the U21 European Championships. Have you spoken to them prior to the game?
I speak with Yannick Gerhardt occasionally on Snapchat but we wouldn’t necessarily message more as we have a game against one another coming up. I think all of us are just concentrating on our own game.