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Gyökeres: "I'm having so much fun with the lads"

After joining the club on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion just before the season start in late July, Viktor Gyökeres took a few weeks to settle in. Not until November did the forward gain a regular first-team slot. After bagging several goals towards the end of the year, the Swede is determined to hang on to his place, of course, and intends to use the Spanish training camp to stake a claim for more first-team starts and build the relationship with his teammates.

"A winter training camp in this form, after a two-week break, is a first for me," said Gyökeres. "I've been to training camps before because in Sweden we play from March to November and usually have a short break in June, but in England, they play straight through from August to May, so a training camp after a proper winter break is a new experience." The 21-year-old took advantage of the break for trips back home and to Brighton. "It did me good. I enjoyed having Christmas and New Year off and spending time with friends and family. There was no time for that during the season because I spent the international breaks with the Sweden Under-21s in the European Championship qualifiers."

Gyökeres returned to Hamburg rested and raring to go, going flat out in every training session in his first week back. "I couldn't wait to get started again," said the attacking player, who arrived at the Millerntor just a few days before the season opener at Arminia Bielefeld and struggled to get going early on. "I had hoped to play more regularly, that's true. Getting more minutes is the point of a loan deal, after all," said Gyökeres, who went four games without featuring after three brief appearances at the start of the season.

Gyökeres sat on the bench at Osnabrück, but a week later made his first start against Sandhausen and scored his first goal for the club.

Gyökeres sat on the bench at Osnabrück, but a week later made his first start against Sandhausen and scored his first goal for the club.

Away from the pitch, our No9 spends a lot of time with roommate Leo Østigård and with Sebastian Ohlsson but now aims to use the training camp to get to know the rest of his teammates better for the best-possible preparation for the second part of the season. Carrying on where he left off before the winter break is the name of the game. "We can't afford to let up," added Gyökeres, who has operated both in the centre and on the left wing. In the last two games against Wehen Wiesbaden and league leaders Arminia Bielefeld, the versatile attacking player scored three goals and provided two assists: "It went really well for all of us and especially for me, of course."

Really well? It could hardly have gone better, could it? "I wouldn't say it was perfect, as there's also something you can do better," he said modestly before adding: "I'll continue to work hard in training to improve so I can continue helping the team."

In the 3-0 win against Bielefeld, Gyökeres made the second for Henk Veerman before scoring the third himself.

In the 3-0 win against Bielefeld, Gyökeres made the second for Henk Veerman before scoring the third himself.

Photos: Witters

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