Braunschweig - It has been quite a year for Eintracht Braunschweig goalkeeper . Plying his trade in the lower leagues not long ago, the 25-year-old is now a fully-fledged Bundesliga shot-stopper and a member of the Iranian national side that qualified for next year's FIFA World Cup.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the Lions' custodian reveals his thoughts on life at the top, talks about his football-loving compatriots and casts an eye towards next year's global showdown.
bundesliga.com: Just a few years ago you were playing in the 3. Liga. Now you're in the Bundesliga rubbing shoulders with the best, as you did last weekend in the match against FC Bayern München. What was it like as an experience?
Davari: Unfortunately we didn't win any points in Munich. A few years ago it was my dream to play there and I've passed by the Allianz Arena a few times. Of course it was great for everyone to play there but we wanted to give a good account of ourselves too. We managed to do that in the second half.
bundesliga.com: The defeat to Bayern was Braunschweig's tenth so far this season. Can you still avoid relegation?
Davari: Yes of course. There's still a long way to go this season. We didn't get the result we'd hoped for against Bayern but on Sunday we've got another chance against . We're going to give everything to get all three points in that game. We'll see where we are at the end of the season - not right now.
bundesliga.com: What are you expecting from this weekend's game against Hertha?
Davari: We need to be as uncomfortable an opponent as possible and show passion and desire to win in front of our own supporters. It's always nice playing at home because our fans spur us on for 90 minutes. That gives us strength and I think we can get a result [on Sunday]. We've got a good team spirit and I'm convinced we can pick up the points against Hertha.
bundesliga.com: You've started the last seven Bundesliga games. Do you feel like you're Braunschweig's No1 keeper now?
Davari: I feel like I'm part of the team. It doesn't matter whether I'm first, second or third choice. I always try to help the team by performing well and trying to keep a clean sheet. That's my aim. We always try to win and it's my job to keep the goals out.
bundesliga.com: You recently became a full international with the Iranian national team. Why did you opt to play for Iran and not for Germany?
Davari: Iran is also a part of me, my father is Iranian. I feel like an Iranian and a German. That's why it wasn't difficult to choose to play for Iran and I'm very happy with my decision. Of course I'm also delighted to have made some international appearances now too.
bundesliga.com: What have your experiences been like with the national team so far? For example, how do you communicate with your team-mates?
Davari: I speak English and I'm learning Persian. I want to improve my Persian so that sometime, hopefully within the next few months, I can speak it perfectly. There haven't been any communication problems so far, everyone has welcomed me very warmly and they've supported me a lot. I only have positive things to say about the national team and the country. I feel at home there.
bundesliga.com: How well known is the Bundesliga in Iran?
Davari: Iranians are football crazy and take a big interest in foreign leagues. If an Iranian plays abroad then he's followed very closely back home. The Bundesliga is very well known there and a lot of people follow it.
bundesliga.com: How would you feel if Iran were to be pitted against Germany in the ?
Davari: We'll just have to wait and see. I'm looking forward to the draw as our country is involved once again and we can be proud of that. Iranians are very proud of being at the World Cup and in the draw.
bundesliga.com: What are your expectations for the World Cup?
Davari: We want to do well and be successful. I'm positive about our chances because we have a good team, a great coach and very good backroom staff. I'm confident that we'll play very well at the World Cup.
bundesliga.com: What are your personal aims? Where do you see yourself in five years?
Davari: That's a difficult question. I see myself here in Braunschweig to start with. On Sunday we're playing against Hertha - in football you shouldn't look too far ahead, but always just focus on the next challenge. Injuries or other unexpected things can always happen. I'm happy to be healthy and to be playing in the Bundesliga.
Interview by Jonathan Stockitt
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