Bundesliga

Polanski: Challenging the Kaizer Chiefs will be a highlight

Johannesburg - Now in the home stretch at their mid-season training camp in South Africa, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim’s preparations for the 2014/15 Rückrunde are in full effect and running smoothly, much like the first half of the campaign did for midfield general Eugen Polanski.

With 15 starts to his name and over 50 per cent challenges won, the Polish international has further underlined his status as a leader of men in Hoffenheim. Speaking to

achtzehn99.de

in Johannesburg, the 28-year-old told his club's website about the conditions in the

Rainbow Nation

, the Hoffenheim's youth prospects and the upcoming friendly against Kaizer Chiefs FC on Friday.

Question:

Eugen, you and the team have now passed the halfway stage in Johannesburg. How's your body coping with the strain?

Eugen Polanski:

We’re at a training camp of course which means there’s a significant workload to cope with. Needless to say I've got the odd bump and bruise. But the hard work will bring us all a step forward, of that I’m sure.

Question:

Yesterday it rained heavily for the first time since you've been here. Does it make training even harder?

Polanski:

The rain this morning was really extreme. There were quite a few puddles on the pitch, but we just try and get on with our job. Up until now it's mostly been dry and hot actually. We had to torture ourselves in some of the units, but I need to make our green keeper a compliment: Overall the conditions here have been very good.

Question:

Are you already looking forward to the friendly against Kaizer Chiefs?

Polanski:

I think that will be a highlight for us all. The Kaizer Chiefs are the be all and end all in South Africa. On top of that we’ll be playing in a super stadium in front of exceptional fans. The whole team is looking forward to that. Aside from that, it’s another chance for everyone to show the coaches what they’re capable of.

Question:

How far along are you as a team after one week of training?

Polanski:

Individually I don’t believe we lost very much of our edge. The break wasn’t that long and we all had training plans with us. Every single player looks fit out on the pitch. Now it’s about putting all the pieces back together. We’re still turning a few of the screws and working in a very detailed manner, so that the players can find each other again with the view to functioning ever better. We’re working intensively towards the Bundesliga restart in Augsburg. We want to triumph again straight away there.

Question:

In terms of tactics is there anything fundamentally new or are you predominantly building on what you’ve already worked on?

Polanski:

If we were having to work on brand new things, then we’d have had to have done a lot wrong in the first half of the season. That isn’t the case. We know what the head coach wants from us, but as a team and an individual you’ve got to keep pushing yourself and do things over again to progress and be more consistent.

Question:

There are a couple of youth players here with you also. What kind of an impression are they making on you?

Polanski:

This is a really crucial phase for the lads. Myself, Andreas Beck or Sejad Salhovic to name a few have all been in the situation of being allowed to travel and train with the first team when we were young players. It’s an important experience. They’ll get their chance in Hoffenheim if they do well. I believe they fit in well and give it their all in the sessions.

Question:

You’ve already praised the training ground. What are things like around it?

Polanski:

It’s all just the way you’d envision it. The hotel is great and the atmosphere within the squad is contributing to a good training camp. We’re fully engaged, without losing sight of the fun. It’s important to stay relaxed and between sessions to take a bit of time out so as to be able to come back to work fully focused. It’s outstanding how well that works with this team.