Daniel Caligiuri: "Looking forward to seeing Bene again"

Daniel Caligiuri was as relieved as anyone after the 1-0 win over Mainz on Saturday. "When you win, you’re automatically in a better mood at training," said the midfielder. It’s not as though the atmosphere would have been entirely subdued even after five consecutive defeats, but the feeling was a very different one. "Nevertheless," Caligiuri went on, "we all know that we have to keep working hard, because we can play even better."

Caligiuri sees the togetherness in the team as a real positive. “We stuck together as a unit during that difficult phase,” he declared. The kind of unity Caligiuri and Co expect the team to show again on Wednesday night in Moscow. “It will be an interesting challenge and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.

He is especially looking forward to seeing his old teammate Benedikt Höwedes again: “He’s a top bloke. He really welcomed me into the team back when I moved here from Wolfsburg,” said the 30-year-old. “We got on very well from the moment we met and we’re still in contact,” he added.

For the 90 minutes of football on Wednesday, the friendship will be put on hold. “On the pitch we are opponents,” Caliguiri assured us: “Only one thing matters for me then: the win. After the full-time whistle we’ll shake hands again.”

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