Competition for places in Union Berlin’s attack has been tough alongside Max Kruse and Taiwo Awoniyi, but Andreas Voglsammer has staked his claim with important goals in recent weeks.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the Union striker discusses finding his feet with the Berliners, the shock departure of Kruse, having a physique similar to Cristiano Ronaldo and why it’s acceptable for players to ask for help…
bundesliga.com: Andreas, things are going very well in a footballing sense right now. Union are fourth after 21 games, you have scored two and assisted one, plus you recently scored a great goal to knock city rivals Hertha out of the DFB Cup. Do you feel you have now found your feet at Union? And how did you feel after the goal and win against Hertha?
Andreas Voglsammer: “I can’t say to what extent I’ve found my feet in Berlin. The important thing for me is I feel very good, both within the team and in the city. Of course, it was also important for me personally to have scored the goal against Hertha and also previously against Hoffenheim. That was very important, but the important thing is actually that we win games and progress to the next round of the cup. Our focus is now on the games to come. The goal was… the ball was almost slightly too far for me. I just tried to get to it, wanted to turn it towards goal. To hit it so perfectly and see it loop in was even better. It looked great. There was a bit of luck involved as well.”
bundesliga.com: And do you also feel good personally in Berlin? Is it strange as a Bavarian in Berlin? Is there something you miss from Bavaria?
Voglsammer: “Of course, you miss family and friends back home, but this is my job. Being far from home is part of it. Otherwise, there’s everything here you need. That’s important. And also the setting here at Union is top. So, there’s nothing you’re missing.”
bundesliga.com: How big are you dreaming this season? Champions League or any European qualification as a minimum?
Voglsammer: “Of course, you can always dream, but we know we need to do our job. Like I said, we need to show who we are, perform in games – then everything’s possible. And then we’ll see on – or after – Matchday 34 what comes of it.”
Watch: Union Berlin: underdogs on the up
bundesliga.com: You’ve scored twice this season: once in a 4-2 defeat at Borussia Dortmund and again in the 2-1 win at home to Hoffenheim on Matchday 19. Which goal did you like best and which was the most important?
Voglsammer: “The one against Hoffenheim was probably more important because it was the equaliser on the way to winning. Dortmund was a brief sniff of a chance. When you lose, goals actually mean nothing. For a win, they’re even more valuable.”
bundesliga.com: Describe your two goals in the Bundesliga.
Voglsammer: “Dortmund was a corner from Niko [Gießelmann]. I don’t know if the opponent maybe underestimated me because of my size, but I have a bit of strength and jumping power. He probably underestimated me there and didn’t take me seriously. He was probably then a bit surprised that I can get up quite well. It was also the left-back who set it up [against Hoffenheim]. I seem to have a thing with them. The ball came in, I tried to head towards goal. Of course, there was a bit of luck that it came off the crossbar and down onto his hand. But it doesn’t matter how, the ball went in. That’s the most important thing for me, for the team and for three points.”
bundesliga.com: Both goals were headers – will you get one with your feet?
Voglsammer: “I hope I can prove I can do it with my feet as well. But I’ve probably scored more with my feet than my head over my career.”
Watch: Voglsammer’s header helps Union to victory over Hoffenheim
bundesliga.com: Taiwo Awoniyi and Kruse were the two main forwards so far this season. Kruse has now made a surprise move to Wolfsburg. Is this now your chance to make more starts and get more playing time?
Voglsammer: “We’ll have to see. I try to give my best. I think I’ve covered well for Taiwo while he was away at the Africa Cup of Nations, especially with the goals. It was important we stayed in our flow, kept picking up points and winning games. And we’ll see what comes now. I give everything in training, try to make things as tough as possible for the coach, and am still in there after a bit of a run.”
bundesliga.com: How big is the loss of Kruse and how was his move discussed within the team?
Voglsammer: “It goes without saying Max is a player who can make the difference and has moments in every game, but it’s in the past, he isn’t here anymore. We need to look at ourselves with the people we’ve got here now. People need to step into the breach and try and do as well as possible. We’ve got other strengths. And then we’ll see. But we didn’t discuss it. We know it’s part of this business. We also had a case a few weeks ago with Marv [Friedrich] and we put that behind us. We then won three games. We’ll put Max’s departure behind us as well.”
bundesliga.com: A replacement for Kruse has been signed in Sven Michel from Paderborn. It’s new competition for you alongside Awoniyi, Kevin Behrens and Sheraldo Becker. How do you rate your chances and stance in the club?
Voglsammer: “A competition for places is always good for the team. You need to ask the coach how things stand. We’ll see in the coming weeks. Like I said before, I try to give my best in training, perform well when I get the chance to play, deliver in games. Ultimately, I can’t do more because the rest is down to the coach. He’s in charge of that, and I try to make it as tough as possible for him.”
bundesliga.com: A striker is judged on goals. You once went on a long run without scoring for former club Arminia Bielefeld and then sought external help with a psychologist. Explain that…
Voglsammer: “It’s a tough and difficult situation. How do you explain it? Not everyone is open for such a thing. I think it shows strength when you bring in external help. It really helped me because subconsciously I maybe didn’t have enough confidence in myself. It came about and helped me hugely. I’m really glad I took on the help.”
bundesliga.com: Will you seek a similar form of support here in Berlin or do you always work with a psychologist?
Voglsammer: “I was in touch with her. When things weren’t going well, we exchanged a few messages. I think that’s enough for me to stick to my basics and not make myself any worse than I am.”
bundesliga.com: You’ve got Dortmund at home next and have fond memories of the reverse fixture when you scored your first Union goal. What do you need for a result this time?
Voglsammer: “Just be compact and tough, show what we’re about. Then we can hurt any team, but that’s the case in every game. If we do that in every game, regardless of whether it’s against Dortmund or Bayern or Fürth, we can beat anyone if we do that. If we don’t, we’ll struggle. It's simple.”
Watch: Voglsammer’s first goal of the season was in vain at Dortmund
bundesliga.com: And then you’re back at former club Bielefeld and ex-partner-in-crime Fabian Klos. Does that make you extra motivated?
Voglsammer: “What does extra motivated mean? I’m just excited about it, seeing some people in the stadium who you can’t really see now. I hope a few more spectators will be allowed in again, that I can sort of say goodbye to the fans because we went through a lot together and it was a really nice and informative time, was a lot of fun for me. I’m just looking forward to it. Whether I’m extra motivated? Not really.”
bundesliga.com: Do you still talk to old teammates like Klos? You used to be called “Klosammer” due to your excellent partnership.
Voglsammer: “I’m still in touch with him – not just him but several others in the team who I played with for a long time. No idea, it must’ve been the media who came up with that name. It didn’t come from us.”
bundesliga.com: What’s your balance like between relaxing and working out in the gym? You have one of the most defined bodies in the Bundesliga, could maybe even make Cristiano Ronaldo jealous…
Voglsammer: “Daily. I just need that for myself. It’s maybe also a bit of a place where I can switch off, where I can focus on other things. It’s good for me, so I actually need it every day.”
bundesliga.com: Ronaldo or Lionel Messi?
Voglsammer: “Ronaldo because he had to work more and I also see myself as having to work.”
Voglsammer: “Lewandowski. More complete. Lewandowski is more complete and was also nicer in games against him.”
bundesliga.com: Win the DFB Cup or qualify for the Champions League?
Voglsammer: “Win the DFB Cup.”
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