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Smith: "One of the hardest games I've ever played"

Eric Smith played his part in the 2-2 draw at Hannover 96 on Saturday with his footballing nous and a pass completion rate of almost 95 per cent. Talking to the media this week, the 25-year-old Swede spoke about a lost bet and...

...the start of the season: "We know we're very strong at home. It was a good opening game, even though it was unnecessarily close at the end. In the second game at Hannover, we played well both before and after the equaliser. A point is OK, but to be honest I think we could have come away with more. Nevertheless, we're pleased with our performances so far."

...the team: "We have a lot of new players and they're getting to know our system better and better. We've improved in every game since pre-season. We're very happy with the lads who've come in, they all add something to the team."

...his role on the players' committee: "Because some of the players who were here last season have left, I was kind of expecting a role like this might come my way. It's always a nice feeling when the other players believe in you. I'll try to do the job as well as I can. The way I play hasn't really changed, though, because you do a lot of talking in my position anyway."

“For me it was good to come through pre-season without a setback.”

...the language spoken in the dressing room: "It's mainly German. I sit next to Jackson in the dressing room and we speak a bit more English. We try to speak as much German as possible, though, and it's slowly improving."

...his injuries: "For me it was good to come through pre-season without a setback. Training every day helps me to avoid getting injured again. I can't see into the future, but I hope it’ll stay that way."

...his new hairstyle and whether it makes him stronger and less injury prone: "Maybe it's because I can move more easily with less hair (he laughs.). No, Jackson and I had a private bet, but I'd rather not say what it was about. I lost and he won - and so he got to cut my hair."

“We'd all like to play Dortmund again or Bayern.”

...last season's cup run: "Playing in the cup last season was a lot of fun. We went into every game told to give 100 per cent. We'd all like to play Dortmund again or Bayern. It's every footballer's dream".

...the DFB Cup: "I don't know our opponents to be honest, but I didn't know Magdeburg last year either and that was probably one of the hardest games I've ever played. The cup is special for everyone. They'll give 100 per cent and we'll do the same."

...the expectations going into the game: "We'll try to keep the tempo high and dictate the play. Then we'll try to score as many goals as possible, keep a clean sheet and go through to the next round."


Photos: Witters