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Timo Schultz on the Benidorm training camp and the year ahead

The Boys in Brown kick off the new year with a winter training camp Benidorm on 2-9 January. Christopher Avevor and Jannes Wieckhoff miss out through injury and Luca Zander tested positive for Covid-19 over Christmas and has not travelled to Spain. Performance coach Karim Rashwan also tested positive. Both are triple jabbed and showing no symptoms. In addition, Kofi Kyereh is representing Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations and will also miss the training camp.

"On the other hand, we've decided to take Afeez Aremu with us even though he isn't able to resume full training just yet because we want to ease him back in," said head coach Timo Schultz at a news conference before the first training session of the year on Saturday. (1.1.). Under-23 player Niklas Jessen has also made the trip to Spain.

Timo Schultz on…

…the main focus in Benidorm: "We'll be working on defensive aspects and honing our pressing. I think we can take another step forward in that respect having already made progress in the second half of the Hinrunde. We'll also be placing more focus on set pieces. Essentially, it's a week of training we can incorporate a few things to work on in what will hopefully be perfect conditions for preparing to face Aue."

…a look ahead to 2022: "Basically my attitude is that the new year will hopefully be even better than the old one. If we can transfer that to the pitch, it would certainly be a statement (he laughs). As far as the external circumstances are concerned, and I think we all see it like this whatever your life situation is, let's hope we can return to normality soon."

…the difficult start: "The opening schedule is OK, especially as it's a three-match week where we're not travelling back and forth, which can be a problem logistically sometimes. I'm looking forward to the games, it's a great start at home and then we have two cracking matches, of course, with the DFB Cup tie against Dortmund and the trip to our local rivals. The main focus now though is on the training camp and the only thing that matters to me at the moment is Aue. It's an important game and we want to have the best possible preparation and put in a good performance."

…the advantages of a training camp: "From a footballing point of view I'm glad to have all the lads together. We're able to have a team talk in the evening or spend longer on the training ground or in the gym than we might otherwise be able to do in Hamburg. So it's an opportunity to add a few stimuli in terms of technique and tactics. Aspects such as sleep, diet and rest are always 100 per cent guaranteed, and there's also the advantage of the weather in winter, which means you can spend two or three hours out on the pitch occasionally. I won't deny there are some imponderables given the developments of recent weeks in terms of the coronavirus, but we weighed things up and decided to go ahead with it because we saw more advantages than disadvantages."

…possible reinforcements: "We're giving it some thought as far as fine-tuning is concerned – not just in personnel terms but in other areas, too. The transfer market is open, there's the opportunity to make changes in both directions. I'm not ruling anything out, but it would really have to make sense from the outset. All I can say is that there'll be no one new at training camp."

…the conditions in Benidorm: "You can compare it a bit with the quarantine hotel last year. We have our own complex on site, there's just us in the hotel. In terms of the conditions, I even see advantages."

… New Year's resolutions: "I'm not one for making resolutions. I try to live my life the way I see fit. In footballing terms, it's something of a challenge to get back on track and improve after a decent year in 2021, and I realise, of course, there are areas I can give some thought to and question where I and we as a coaching team can do things better."


Photos: Witters