Hoffenheim's Andrej Kramarić has plenty to be hopeful for in 2024, with his club keen to remain in the fight for a European spot and Croatia all set to compete hard at this summer's EUROs. bundesliga.com sat down with the 32-year-old to chat all things football ...
Kramarić on Hoffenheim's campaign so far ...
"It's hard to say, but at the moment let's say that we are in a good position. Everything depends on us of course, we have some great individual players, but I think there is so much space to improve; to do things better. But also we have to remember that there is a lot of good teams in the Bundesliga. I guess that our biggest wish would be to play in European competition next year. We're going to do everything in order to achieve that. Will we do it? We don't know, but we're going to fight for it."
And how Hoffenheim go about achieving that?
Kramarić: "The key - the most important thing I would say - is defensive work. I think maybe in some games or moments we are conceding goals too easily. If we improve in that aspect, we're maybe going to win more games and have more points. For us, that's the most important thing. There is a lot of potential in the team and a lot of space to improve."
On his role in the team ...
Kramarić: "I feel most comfortable as a 10 because I'm searching for the half-spaces. I mentioned already in some interviews before [that I'm], let's say, something similar to a Thomas Müller. I don't play so often in this position because of [our] system, but I think everybody knows that [I see myself as] a second striker: a No. 10. [In that position] I'm more free. You have freer movements; you're searching for spaces. I hope that I'm doing that very well."
Watch: When Kramarić struck a double against Bayern Munich in 2020
On the upcoming EUROs in Germany ...
Kramarić: "Yeah, I’m looking forward to that. I think it's going to be great, especially, I hope, for us Croatians. I think it's going to be full of Croatians in the stadiums; we’re going to feel like we're playing at home! It’s going to be something amazing and the most important thing I hope, with this energy in the stadium, is that we're going to perform.
"I think we have a great team. A lot of successes which we which we produced in the last six years have been, let's say, a kind of miracle. We're going to try to repeat that. I know that it's going to be hard, but with the support of the fans in Germany, I think everything is possible. I guess it is the last chance of this big generation. As I said, we don't feel pressure.
"We already did amazing things: a World Cup final in Russia; third place in the World Cup in Qatar; playing the final of the Nations League. To be honest, I don't think this is going to happen ever again for Croatia. So many nice things, nice games, finals, for such a small nation, it’s a miracle."
On ex-TSG and current Germany head coach Julian Nagelsmann ...
Kramarić: "I think [his being offered the post] was maybe the best decision for Germany. Julian is, for me, the best coach who trained me and I believe and I hope that he’s going to find the best solution for the German team; that they can perform and be one of the biggest favourites of the tournament. And actually, I believe in Germany ..."
On his time at Hoffenheim ...
Kramarić "Hoffenheim is my home team, [like a] home town. I feel great here. I feel at home. My family are also happy here. There's a reason we've stayed so many years. I've had some amazing achievements, results and I wrote history here.
"I also have to say thank you to all the staff and those who gave me just a little bit of energy and positive things and who helped me to reach this level at this beautiful club. I hope that I can still achieve a lot of nice things. We will see. I'm going to fight for that and I'm working hard every day for it. There is still a lot of beautiful things ahead of us."
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