Dubai - In the first half of the 2012/13 season, no other Borussia Mönchengladbach player featured in as many competitive games as Havard Nordtveit.
While the winter break provided the Norwegian international with a welcome break, the 22-year-old is champing at the bit for the Bundesliga action to resume, as he revealed from Gladbach's winter training camp in Dubai.
Question: , you've been training flat out for a few days now. After playing almost every game in the first half of the season, how badly did you need the winter break?
Nordtveit: Physically I did feel it a bit that I'd played so many games, but I think most of us enjoyed the short vacation, especially the foreign players who don't see their families so frequently. I went on holiday in my homeland near Haugesund, on the south west Norwegian coast. On New Year's Eve I went cross-country skiing in the mountains with a couple of friends. The break did us all good but now we're happy to get going again.
Question: What are your impressions of the first few days of the training camp?
Nordtveit: It's been very good. The weather and the pitch conditions are perfect. We're all happy to be here and are raring to go against Hoffenheim in our first [Bundesliga] game of the New Year. It's not long now and we want to be as well-prepared as possible, so we're giving 100 per cent here.
Question: It's very hot here in Dubai and during training you roll the legs of your training tracksuit high up. Is it too warm for you or do you just want to get a bit of a sun tan?
Nordtveit: Both (laughs). I normally play in shorts but unfortunately I don't have any here. In Norway we don't get a lot of sun, which is why I want to make the most of every minute I can get. At the beginning I always go a bit red, but fortunately it goes brown later.
Question: What aims do the team have for the rest of the season?
Nordtveit: We want to keep playing the way we did just before the winter break. Over the whole year we've showed great character. We knew this season would be difficult and we didn't get the ideal start, but we came back and picked up some very important points. Now we're where we wanted to be in the table and we're not too far away from the top teams. Of course we want to get back into the European places. It'll be tough as lots of teams are fighting for that, but we'll give it all we've got.
Question: Before the winter break you signed a new contract with the club. How did that come about?
Nordtveit: I didn't see any reason not to extend my contract. I'm playing and that's the most important thing for a young player like me. Compared to other leagues, the Bundesliga's always improving. In my opinion it's one of the best leagues in Europe and the world. Results in European competition have proved that this season and we've also shown that we can compete against the biggest teams on the continent.
Question: Do you like living in Germany?
Nordtveit: Yes. It was very important to me that my girlfriend also likes Mönchengladbach. If that wasn't the case you can't develop as a player. I'm happy that we have three other Scandinavians in the team and we see each other a lot when we're not playing. The women meet up frequently too.
Question: Both and got married shortly before Christmas. Are you next?
Nordtveit:(Laughs) I've been engaged for a while now. We might get married next year in Iceland. I hope that Norway qualify for the World Cup in Brazil, but if not then maybe we'll get married in Iceland, which is my fiancée's homeland.