Nadiem Amiri has enjoyed his start to life at Bayer Leverkusen in 2019/20. - © Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images
Nadiem Amiri has enjoyed his start to life at Bayer Leverkusen in 2019/20. - © Alexander Scheuber/Bundesliga/DFL via Getty Images
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Bayer Leverkusen's Nadiem Amiri: "Peter Bosz has made me a more complete player"

Since joining Bayer Leverkusen from Hoffenheim in the summer of 2019, Nadiem Amiri has become a Germany international and has helped his new club to compete on three fronts deep into the season.

Speaking with bundesliga.com, the 23-year-old discusses life in lockdown in Leverkusen, how he has improved under head coach Peter Bosz through 2019/20 and his hope for a Bundesliga return.

bundesliga.com: Nadiem Amiri, how have you been doing?

Nadiem Amiri: "Yes, I'm doing well. I'm happy and I'm healthy and we're training again. We're allowed to pursue our passion again. The family is healthy and everything is okay."

bundesliga.com: How has it been at home so far, have you started to go crazy?

Amiri: "No, I've been with my family. It was okay, I used the time. I was injured anyway with my shoulder, so the break came at a good moment. I made the most of it."

bundesliga.com: On that note, how have you been keeping yourself fit during this time?

Amiri: "We've been working from home office and everyone received a treadmill, so I did my training sessions at home."

bundesliga.com: So you've recovered from your shoulder injury now. As you said, the break came at a perfect time for you personally...

Amiri: "I would've missed seven or eight games but fortunately, I've only missed two – one in the Bundesliga and one Europa League game. The break was good for me, it came at the perfect time. I've been able to recover and get fit without any distractions. I'm confident I'll be top fit and ready to play."

bundesliga.com: From a positive side, football players have been able to spend time with their families that they may usually not have. Has that been the same for you?

Amiri: "Of course, it's been nice to be with my family. For my brother and I, we're not worried about the coronavirus but the main thing is that we wanted to protect our parents, so there was no contact at all with my mother and father. We only chatted from a distance or we sat at the table with me at one end and my mother at the other. The only worry is for my parents."

Nadiem Amiri had been making great strides at Bayer Leverkusen before a shoulder injury stopped him in his tracks. - Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

bundesliga.com: Has it felt like an extraordinarily strange time for you as well?

Amiri: "You notice that everyone is keeping their distance. I went out for a few walks and other people are moving out of the way and crossing over to the other side of the street. It's definitely a bit strange. But you shouldn't take it personally, they just want to protect themselves and that's good and then the virus won't spread as much."

bundesliga.com: How have you been keeping yourself motivated during this time?

Amiri: "I was a bit down here and there because I didn't have a goal I was working towards, we were waiting for things to start up again. I've used that to keep my motivation up, where I said to myself: 'okay, I have the time, now I have to use it to get fit.' For me, it's like I've been rehabilitating the entire time and now I'm fit again. It was very good for me."

bundesliga.com: Have you discovered any new interests during this time?

Amiri: "To be honest, no. I just enjoyed the time where I had some free time to visit my family. I'm very close to my family and that has been the best thing for me in the last few weeks. And just being at home and knowing that I sleep tonight without any training the next day, or without training in Leverkusen, and I can stay at home. The best thing has been being able to see my family over a longer period of time."

bundesliga.com: Is there a message you want to give out to Bundesliga fans?

Amiri: "Yes, I had the feeling towards the end that things were getting a bit out of control, also with the fans. The thing against Dietmar Hopp wasn't fair. I think now it was perhaps a sign. Now we appreciate each other more. I think when things start up again, every stadium will be full and there will be a great atmosphere. I hope for all the fans and for us that things will start up again soon and on Saturday at 3.30pm it'll be time for Bundesliga, every stadium will be sold out with a great atmosphere. Or a lot of fans will be watching in front of the TV. We should all be patient and stay healthy, keep our distance and protect one another and then we'll be able to start up again soon."

bundesliga.com: And how has it been to be back in training with your teammates, even while keeping your distance between each other?

Amiri: "The sun is shining, the pitch is in perfect condition. There's no better way to start a week."

bundesliga.com: Was there any teammate you were happiest to see when you got back on the training pitch?

Amiri: "I'm looking forward to seeing all of them."

Unbeaten in five Bundesliga games before the coronavirus pandemic, Bayer Leverkusen have been on fire in 2020. - Jan Huebner/Bywaletz via www.imago-images.de/imago images/Jan Huebner

bundesliga.com: It must have been a big relief for all of you to be able to get back out into the open space of the training pitch?

Amiri: "There was a lot of anticipation. The first day when I came into the changing room, we're separated in the changing room but you saw the others in the car park in their cars and on the walk to the changing rooms, the mood was really good and you saw that everyone really wants to get out there."

bundesliga.com: And you've been keeping your distances in training?

Amiri: "Yes, everyone. There's no shaking hands. We just chat and talk a bit but keeping our distance. We always keep our distance."

bundesliga.com: Of course, this is still your first season with Bayer Leverkusen. How have you settled into life at the BayArena so far?

Amiri: "I think I've settled in very well. A lot of players need half a year to settle in. For some, it's faster. I think in my case I'm one of the faster ones. I've integrated well into the club, the team has welcomed me really well and the fans too. I'm very happy. It was definitely the right decision to come to Leverkusen."

Nadiem Amiri has gone from the blue of Hoffenheim to the black and red of Bayer Leverkusen with a seamless transition. - Sebastian Widmann/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images

bundesliga.com: This season you also made your debut for Germany. How special was that?

Amiri: "Of course, it felt like it was so far away but then it was so close. Now, it's worked out and I'm just proud and the pride in being a German international is the best."

bundesliga.com: Do you feel as if you have improved in this first season working under Leverkusen coach Peter Bosz?

Amiri: "I really appreciate how Peter Bosz interacts with the players and me too. Right from the start, he said: 'you have all the time in the world, focus and train without any pressure.' If I make mistakes, I should just keep going. I should play with freedom. He has made me a more complete player. You see that in games I make the right decisions, the quick decisions. Perhaps before I would have run into the second player or wanted to play that killer pass there or nutmeg another player. You see now that I'm playing well more consistently. Of course, there are games where it doesn't work so well. But one of my strengths now is being consistent, keeping at it and then playing better again a week or three days later. This is where the coach has really helped me develop."

bundesliga.com: Have you been watching highlights of any games in the last few weeks to try and continue that improvement?

Amiri: "I haven't watched any games, I haven't done anything on this. I've been focussing on other things: my family, staying healthy, getting fit. I have these things there in my mind, tactics, everything. I don't need to watch games for that."

Watch: Highlights of Leverkusen's incredible 4-3 win over Dortmund!

bundesliga.com: What's been the highlight of your season so far?

Amiri: "Personally, of course, playing for the national team. But I think for the club, the fans, it was the game against Dortmund. That's the highlight this season."

bundesliga.com: How do you think the Bundesliga can continue?

Amiri: "I just hope that it can start again soon and we can play in the Bundesliga, even if the games are behind closed doors at first. Then, the fans and the spectators have something to do and can sit in front of the TV and watch some Bundesliga. But, of course, I hope that there will be a title this year because we're doing well in all three competitions and everything is still possible."

bundesliga.com: Which teams do you think will benefit most from the break in play?

Amiri: "It's difficult to say. The teams who are in the relegation battle have had time to clear their heads and prepare for the final run-in. And the teams at the top where it's about the title and qualifying for the Champions League, I think the break came for everyone at a fairly good time. Of course, not so good financially and not how everyone would have wanted. It's tough but everyone can say that the break came at a good time because everyone has had time to clear their heads and prepare for the final run-in."