Since returning to Eintracht Frankfurt from Paris-Saint Germain in the summer of 2019, Kevin Trapp has once again established himself as one of the Bundesliga's best goalkeepers.
Sitting down with bundesliga.com, Trapp discusses the return of Luka Jovic to the club midway through the 2020/21 campaign, the flying Eagles and their hopes for the remainder of the season as well as playing with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at PSG and wanting to save more penalties...
bundesliga.com: What are you expecting from the game at Hoffenheim?
Kevin Trapp: "Hoffenheim are a great team. They had some difficult moments because of having a lot of injured players but they're slowly coming back. They're on a winning streak right now, they didn't concede any goals in the last few games. It's going to be a tough game away but we also have a lot of confidence. We're going there and want to win, that's our goal. We can expect a very difficult game."
bundesliga.com: What's behind Eintracht's improvement in the last few weeks?
Trapp: "We don't need to hide from anybody, that's for sure. We got, especially in the last few matches, a lot of confidence, because of the results but also the way we're playing right now. We have a lot of confidence. We had some bad luck in games when we drew too many games we had to win. Since the game in Augsburg where we played very convincingly, we've had a lot of confidence. We stay very concentrated for 90 minutes and it's very tough to play against us. That's why I say if we continue playing like this it's very difficult to beat us. Normally, against whoever we play, it always depends on us how the result's going to be. If we're at 100 percent we're able to beat anybody."
bundesliga.com: Playing catch-up in the Bundesliga - what's your aim, the Europa League or the Champions League?
Trapp: "It's not long ago that we were in ninth or 10th place and we were hoping to get some points to stay close to the other teams, the top six teams. We should be very careful what we say but, of course, if we continue like this... we all experienced what happened here a few years ago, two or three years ago, and we would all be very happy to experience that again. We still have a very long way ahead. That's why I said it all depends on us. If we're playing well we can beat anybody. If that happens everybody knows what's going to happen, but until then we have a lot of work to do."
bundesliga.com: What do you make of Luka Jovic's return?
Trapp: "I was already talking to him in summer, asking his situation and how it was all going. He wasn't really happy, everybody could see that. At the end of December I asked him again what was going on, what the situation was and if he wanted to come back. Surprisingly he told me 'yeah, I want to come back.' I think Fredi and everyone responsible did a great job to bring him back to have him in our team again. Three games three goals, that speaks for itself. He's a great addition to our team because has this great quality, he doesn't need many chances to score and that's very important. Now with Andre Silva next to him, our strikers are especially strong. With Amin Younes, Daichi Kamada, Aymen Barkok. Behind we have a lot of quality so that's why I say with Luka and Amin Younes we have two very important players now. Ragnar Ache is going to come back so were almost all back and that's very important for our goals."
Watch: Frankfurt's flying Eagles!
bundesliga.com: Will there be a magic trio at Eintracht: Jovic, Kostic and who could be the third?
Trapp: "If you see the way we're playing right now it's very difficult to mention someone. Luka is great, Andre already has 14 goals in 18 games, Amin Younes has scored some very important goals already, he's making a difference in the No.10 role. Daichi Kamada has already played a lot of important games for us. Filip [Kostic] has confidence again with Luka coming back. This, in attack, is very important for us. I don't want to mention three single names just to point at them. Even behind now, Tuta hasn't played very much, he's come in and is playing great. The whole team is doing very well now and we're going to continue like this."
Trapp: "If you play in these positions you have to have this attitude of a leader and of a boss. Me, in goal, Hinti as a defensive player, [Makoto] Hasebe, Djibril Sow, no matter who it is we all need this attitude to lead and to bring something more to the team. We only function as a team, that's why I don't want to single out any players because we only function as a team. If this doesn't happen, we're not going to achieve anything. Of course, Hinti is one of these players, Makoto - who is now the captain from the beginning of the games - me, several who I mentioned already. There are many who can do that and in the end, it's going to be the coach who decides."
bundesliga.com: Who has influenced you the most as a goalkeeper?
Trapp: "It's no secret that Gerry Ehrmann was and still is a great mentor for me. He was there when I made my first steps in the professional soccer business, talked to me a lot, he formed me into the goalkeeper I am now. On the way here though, I've had many different goalkeeper coaches, ways of training, of improving. It's difficult to say one name who is responsible for all of it but everything started with Gerry in the professional business. Of course, in the clubs I came from, they made me as a goalkeeper, they put me in this position but starting my career as a professional player it was Gerry. Then, of course, I came to Frankfurt with Moppes [Manfred Petz], he had a different way to train, different way of acting, of talking to me. What was also very important to me when I went to Paris, I think I grew my personality a lot. New languages, world-class players, you have to impose yourself with your character, your personality, not only your quality on the pitch. Now coming back to Frankfurt I have a goalkeeper coach in Jan Zimmerman. Everybody calls him a nerd because he is the crazy guy, he has all the statistics, he analyses everything, he does so much great work trying to improve me and I feel great since I've been training with him. He's very detailed. Sometimes we're both too ambitious, we want too much too fast but he's a great coach. All-in-all in every path I've been on, everybody could give me something to improve on and to make me the person I am now."
bundesliga.com: Who discovered you as a goalkeeper?
Trapp: "The very first training session I started outfield as a striker, if you can all it that! After training I went to the coach and asked if I could go in goal because I don't like running and he said yes, our goalkeeper was inured so we can try it. There were many coaches in my youth who told me you can achieve something very special but at that young age you never know what's going to happen, you never know if you're going to make it or not. Especially when we were playing with SV Mettlach in the youth Bundesliga you could see that they really supported me and pushed me. They were very happy, many coaches were very happy when I made the step, even if I gave it a push myself to make it happen they were always supportive. They were always behind me and had my back to make the steps when I was young."
bundesliga.com: How was it at PSG with all of their superstars?
Trapp: "I saw Zlatan at the airport when we flew to New York and I thought 'wow, now you have Zlatan Ibrahimovic there, walking through the door, he's almost too tall to get through the door!' It was impressive. In January before I left Frankfurt I was playing PlayStation with these players and I was watching PSG against Barcelona in the Champions League and I thought 'wow, two incredible teams playing in Paris, must be great.' But I never thought about going there or whatever. When the call came in the summer, then it was going to be real. When I got there, of course not many people spoke English, it wasn't easy to communicate. I was 25, shy, and didn't speak much, I wasn't sure how to open myself up and make the first steps towards them. It was difficult but it was a great experience, of course. To play with them, you improve every day, you improve every day in training, off the pitch, on the pitch, it was fantastic."
bundesliga.com: Tell us about your lovely fiancé Izabel Goulart...
Trapp: "What can I say? Of course I look at her and say 'I'm a lucky guy.' Even after six years, it's still the same feeling. I guess that's something very positive because after six years many people say it's not the same any more. In our relationship, it's not always the same because she travels a lot, works a lot. I travel a lot so it's always different and I guess that's what makes it exciting, the whole thing. Hopefully people are going to say the same thing to her - 'wow you're so lucky, you have a great guy there, a good-looking guy!' Not only on my side. She's an incredible woman, she's independent, she works hard, has her own career, I really admire all these things in her and that's what makes it so interesting."
bundesliga.com: What are your favourite hobbies at the moment?
Trapp: "In the first lockdown you had all the time to reflect and think about the things you had never done before. There was a big challenge for me, I started to, at least to try to play the piano. I was able to learn one song, that was incredible for me because I like to listen to the piano. For me to be able to play was very nice. Besides this I read a lot, I had never read before because I get bored very fast. I told myself 'you have a life after the career' and hopefully I still have a few years in front of me and have to do something after. I tried to read a lot about whatever, learning a different language again, investments, real estate, all these things. I started a small business with a few friends, I don't want to talk about that right now but it's going to get started in the near future which is very exciting. I try to improve myself in my personality, to see different things. Before everything was rushed, you didn't have time for this and that, now you can get closer to family again, talk to friends and see how everybody is holding up with the situation. I have a lot of friends in the restaurant industry, it's very difficult for them. I try to make the best out of it, even if you can't do very much right now."
bundesliga.com: Back to football, Matchday 9 at Union Berlin, you're bound to remember your slip-up - how do you deal with a situation like that?
Trapp: "It's not a great feeling, every goalkeeper knows when you make a mistake it almost always leads to a goal so, of course, it's not a great feeling. Especially because it was the first or second minute in the game. You don't want to concede any goals in the first move. It was a mistake but that's not something which really bothers me, what's important for me is how I react and how I continue to play, that's the most important. Thank God I had some opportunities to save some shots, to not make it a two, three, four-nil to Union after 20 minutes, that would have been horrible. I don't really think about mistakes, I want to do the best and give the best for my team, save my team, every time. If a mistake happens, that's the life of a goalkeeper, you have to deal with it and continue doing the best you can. Sometimes you have the chance to save your team and it's probably going to be the save of the game and your team is able to win. Sometimes not. I think more about the things I can do well and create for the team, and what I'm able to do on the pitch than thinking about the mistake."
bundesliga.com: You've saved five out of 22 penalties in the Bundesliga, a good ratio in our view...
Trapp: "We've faced a lot of penalties this year I think. Unfortunately, I haven't saved one but my goal is to save more. Thanks for the compliment but my goal is to save more, if it happens the next games I'm going to save them. They can be the game-winning save."
Watch: Kevin Trapp - one of the Bundesliga's best shot-stoppers!
bundesliga.com: You were born on 8th July 1990, an extremely good and important day, right?
Trapp: "Great day for the German nation, the football nation. And for my parents, because I was born in the morning and for football fans because Germany won the World Cup. Maybe that's one of the reasons I became a football player. It's a great day and a nice day to remember. Actually, I met Andreas Brehme once on holiday. He scored the decisive goal in the World Cup then I met him. You always talk about this history, then you meet him. It's just incredible."
bundesliga.com: What has been your best moment so far in your time in the Bundesliga?
Trapp: "Of course my first game because it was very unexpected. It was five minutes before the warm-up that Tobias Sippel said he couldn't play. I have a lot of memories, especially here in Frankfurt, talking about the Bundesliga the most remarkable one is my first game but there were many strange games, comebacks, being three-nil behind and still winning it. Especially in Frankfurt when you have the crowd here and they're pushing you, you have goosebumps playing here. One of the great moments was playing against Wolfsburg, 2013 I think, I was injured, it was to decide whether we'd be playing Europa League or not. I think the other game was Leverkusen against Hamburg. We were two-nil down against Wolfsburg and every team was scoring but Hamburg and Leverkusen weren't. I think Hamburg couldn't win and they were playing at home. We were two-nil behind and it was such a nervous moment. We scored to make it 2-1, then 2-2 and in the same moment the results came in, Hamburg-Leverkusen, and Leverkusen had scored. There was just a big party in the stadium, everyone was hugging each other and crying and being happy because it was almost impossible to not qualify. That was one of these remarkable moments I've had here in Frankfurt."