Timo Becker: Hungry for more
Despite the heavy legs, Timo Becker is taking the positives from the team’s training camp. The 24-year-old speaks to schalke04.de about his time in Mittersill, lessons learnt from the friendly games, defensive work and the spirit in the team.
Timo Becker, over a week of intense training in Mittersill is now behind you. How are the legs?
For the most part they have been really, really intense days. But that’s exactly why we went to Mittersill. A training camp is there to lay the groundwork for the season. We all drained the tank in every training session. Every single one of us gritted our teeth even though it hurt at times. That speaks for the character of the team.
After the friendly against Shakhtar Donetsk, your coach Dimitrios Grammozis gave a positive assessment of the squad’s time in Hohe Tauern. How have you found it?
First of all I think it’s great that none of our players have hurt themselves. Obviously there have been one or two niggles here and there, but that’s normal for a training camp. I think that we’ve put in some really good work for a week and a half. But we can’t rest on our laurels now. Now it’s about continuing to work hard so that we can start the season well.
During camp you played two friendly matches against Champions League opponents – and you kept two clean sheets in those games. Do the goalless draws against Zenit St. Petersburg and Shakhtar Donetsk give you more confidence heading into the season opener against Hamburg?
We shouldn’t place too much importance on those games or draw false conclusions. Obviously they were good results for us but friendlies are only there to test things out. We did that and so did our opponents. So we need to keep our feet on the ground. There is no reward for playing well in friendlies. What’s important are the results in the league.
There is no reward for playing well in friendlies. What's important are the results in the league.
New players have arrived in all areas of the team. You are a defender – how is the understanding between you and your new teammates coming along?
We get along really well and things on the pitch are already looking good considering the short amount of time we’ve had together. The chemistry is there and I’m happy that we have found our feet so quickly.
You also look like a team away from the pitch. How have you managed to integrate the new arrivals so quickly into the squad?
The lads have made a bond right away. But that doesn’t surprise me because it’s normal in a football squad. The training camp has strengthened that process of integration even more. When you spend nearly 24 hours a day together as a team for over a week, you get to know each other even better. But to be quite honest, I’m happy to get a few days off from seeing their faces at breakfast. (laughs)
After the final whistle against Shakhtar, you all spent several minutes celebrating in front of the fans, thanking those in the stands for their support. How great was that moment?
The fans generated a great atmosphere for the whole 90 minutes. On top of that, there were also various Schalke songs going around the stadium before and after the game. That makes us hungry for more. I’ve missed those moments a lot and so I can hardly wait for the game against Hamburg to get underway.