Munich - New FSV Mainz 05 signing Ivan Klasnic first made a name for himself as a fresh-faced striker with SV Werder Bremen between 2001 and 2008. In seven successful seasons, the striker hit 49 goals and helped the Green-Whites to a league and cup double in 2004.
After a four-year Bundesliga hiatus, the Croatian international has returned to Germany's top-flight and is eager to get back into the thick of things, as he told bundesliga.com in interview.
bundesliga.com: How did your transfer to Mainz 05 come about?
Klasnic: There were approaches from a lot of different clubs recently and I had to sort through them all. I didn't make a rash decision, but when Mainz approached, everything happened relatively quickly.
bundesliga.com: Do you like coach Thomas Tuchel's offensive style of play?
Klasnic: Yes of course. When I was at Bremen we also played attacking football and it worked well. The more we attack, the better.
bundesliga.com: You've played in Germany, France and England. What sets the Bundesliga apart?
Klasnic: I think if you've ever played in the Bundesliga, you want return at some point. Now it's happened for me and I'm very happy.
bundesliga.com: How is the Bundesliga different from the Premier League?
Klasnic: In the Premier League there are a lot of superstars who view the English league as being at a higher level than the Bundesliga, but you shouldn't underestimate the Bundesliga. You can see that by German clubs' success in European competition. Bayern Munich were in the final of the Champions League last season, after all.
bundesliga.com: A number of stars, such as Rafael van der Vaart, have returned to the Bundesliga. Do you agree that the league's prestige has increased compared to the Premier League?
Klasnic: The clubs in the Premier League are very consistent. But the Bundesliga is without a doubt one of the best, and best-known, leagues. People in England follow the Bundesliga on TV but aren't entirely convinced about it. That's probably due to their tendency to believe the Premier League is the best one in the world. Personally, I think the Bundesliga has an awful lot going for it.
bundesliga.com: How important is it to you as a player to gain experience abroad?
Klasnic: I can only recommend it. Of course as a footballer, you don't want to do anything other than play. That's why I've been to France and England. You never know where you'll end up as a player. Things happen very quickly and all of a sudden you're six months in one place and six months in another. Now I'm in Germany and looking forward to playing here again.
bundesliga.com: After the international break, Mainz travel to a Bayern Munich side who have started the season in blistering fashion. Have you thought about the match already?
Klasnic: No, not yet. Of course I've seen that Bayern are in great form right now. But they have a lot of players who'll be away with their national teams. It can be a handicap if only part of the team have trained together for two weeks. It remains to be seen whether those players come home fresh or tired.
bundesliga.com: So if Mainz train hard ahead of the Bayern game, you could come away with something?
Klasnic: On a personal level, I'll have to wait and see if I'm fit enough for the Bayern game. But I'm not looking that far ahead yet.
Interview conducted by Maximilian Lotz