Wolfsburg's Ridle Baku goes into the new Bundesliga season fresh from winning the UEFA U21 Euros with Germany. - © DFL
Wolfsburg's Ridle Baku goes into the new Bundesliga season fresh from winning the UEFA U21 Euros with Germany. - © DFL

Ridle Baku on Wolfsburg, the UEFA Champions League, Germany and Mark van Bommel


Ridle Baku is relishing the prospect of juggling Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League and DFB Cup football with Wolfsburg in 2021/22. bundesliga.com sat down with the Germany UEFA U21 Euro winner ahead of the new campaign...

Ridle Baku on...

... how good the last few months have been for him

"Of course, it’s been a great time. We had a super season last season and qualified for the Champions League. And then winning the [U21] Euros [with Germany]. So, summer actually couldn’t have gone better. Then I enjoyed a brief holiday, and now we go again."

... his highlights from last season

"I think when you look at things as a whole, qualifying for the Champions League was a considerable achievement. And also for me personally, with my performances, becoming a key part of the team and helping the team through good performances. The development isn’t over and I now want to back that all up."

... his development and what’s changed since swapping Mainz for Wolfsburg last year

"Honestly, I can’t put a finger on it, but I just wanted to leave my comfort zone, dare to do something new. I like challenges and took on the challenge here at Wolfsburg. Nobody could’ve guessed the progress would be so steep, but I’m very proud and am expecting myself to take the next steps now."

... where he believes he’s improved and what he can still improve

"I’ve become a bit more of a goal threat, with 15 goal contributions last season. I’ve become a bit more efficient, can help the team more with my quality. That wasn’t really the case in the past. I’ve played myself more to the fore. Now it’s just about little things, like working on crosses or passing so I can reach the next level."

... what would be the next level for him

"Playing European football. I’ve now got that with the Champions League and hopefully at some point also with the national team. That’s also a dream I’ve got. If I can take those steps, it’s optimal for my development."

... how much he’s looking forward to playing in the UEFA Champions League with Wolfsburg

"Of course, we’re excited to see which opponents we get in the group. Of course, it’s great when you can pit yourself against the best, see where you are and what you can maybe improve. We want to do that. We’ll see how we do and how successful we are."

Watch: Ridle Baku set up two of three Wolfsburg goals against Union Berlin late last season

... long training sessions under new coach Mark van Bommel

"There are coaches who do two sessions. Van Bommel does one that’s big. We’ve got used to that now. We even had sessions back in Wolfsburg that were over two and a half hours, so you can adapt quite quickly. We’ve managed that and it’s fine."

... what Van Bommel does differently from predecessor Oliver Glasner

"It’s a completely different style of play, so you need a few training sessions so the team can implement it right away. A lot of possession, making sure we play good passes, play quickly. Little things we want to bring into our game to show the coach’s mark."

... Van Bommel’s intended style of play

"I think last season was a lot about working without the ball. Now it’s more with the ball, so what we do with the ball. It’s small things we maybe need to bring into our game. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out in the friendly matches. There’s definitely room for improvement, but I think we’ll be well set for the season when we implement the coach’s style: quick passing, clean passing, and also quality up front."

... Van Bommel’s career as a player

"I’ve seen what he did, that he was at Bayern, Barca, AC Milan. He really had a great career. You can definitely learn some things from him."

Baku (l.) is getting to grips with a new coach in two-time Bundesliga winner Mark van Bommel (r.). - imago

... working with new signing Lukas Nmecha

"I’ve known Lukas a long time. We were together at U15 level, so I’ve known him a long time. The fact we’ve also won something together is great. Winning things with players you’ve known a long time is great. And I’m glad he’s now here at Wolfsburg."