Augsburg - Raul Bobadilla, FC Augsburg’s current top goalscorer, says he's found himself a new home at the surprise European hopefuls.
'We try to play attractive football'
The Argentinian former Borussia Mönchengladbach forward has been in staggering form for Markus Weinzierl’s side, scoring seven and setting up another three in an unfamiliar role on the right-hand side of the die Fuggerstädter's attacking midfield.
Speaking to bundesliga.com as part of the Interview of the Week series, the much-travelled 27-year-old talks about Augsburg's targets for the season, gives an insight into his early career and reveals his own international ambitions.
bundesliga.com: Raul Bobadilla, victory on Saturday would extend Augsburg’s lead over Leverkusen to five points, which would give you a huge advantage in your quest for Europa League qualification.
Raul Bobadilla: I don’t think like that - our target is just the same as it always was: we want to reach the 40-point mark and confirm our top-flight status as early as possible. Only when we’ve achieved that aim will we start setting others.
bundesliga.com: No team has ever been relegated with 34 points. Are you really concerned that you could still drop down the table?
Bobadilla: No, no. But 40 points has been our target ever since the first day of the season. We want to get to there first, then we’ll see [what else we can achieve].
bundesliga.com: You haven’t won either of your last two games, but Augsburg are nonetheless enjoying the most successful season in their history. How come you’re doing so well?
Bobadilla: Our biggest strength is the same as the last two seasons: our team spirit. We’re a team and we show that out on the pitch. Apart from that, we also try to play attractive football, which is working quite well this season.
bundesliga.com: Speaking of team spirit, was that what helped you settle in here? You seem to feel right at home in Augsburg.
Bobadilla: Definitely. I’m very happy here and I’m in great form. With the support of my colleagues I can score goals and try to help the team. That’s going really well at the moment. If we all work together, it’s very difficult to beat us.
bundesliga.com: Your coach Markus Weinzierl says the reason you’re doing so well is that you’ve found your niche on the right wing. Would you put your good performances down to playing in a new position?
Bobadilla: Maybe, yes. At the start it wasn’t so easy playing in a new position, but I’ve adapted quite well since then - in a tactical sense as well. It’s not an easy position to play because you have to run a lot. But like the coach said, if I have to play on the right, I will. I’d play in attack as well, of course. That’s still my favourite position…
bundesliga.com: The coach also revealed that you weren’t too enthusiastic about your new role to begin with…
Bobadilla: That’s true, but he worked hard with me, spoke to me and got his tactics across. That was important and helped me a lot.
'Physical presence my greatest strength'
bundesliga.com: According to Weinzierl, “if [Raul Bobadilla] gets into his stride, he’s unstoppable.” Is you’re physical presence your greatest strength?
Bobadilla: Yes, I think so. It’s always difficult for a defender when you run at him at pace, no matter whether you have the ball or not.
bundesliga.com: You were released by Boca Juniors as a youth player because they felt you were too small and weak. It’s hard to imagine that nowadays…
Bobadilla: That’s absolutely true. When I was 17, especially after moving to Europe, I started to work very hard on my physique. That’s why I look like this now (laughs)!
bundesliga.com: Do you do a lot of weight training?
Bobadilla: I haven’t for a long time. I used to, between the ages of 19 and 22. I’m of a very muscular build now, though.
bundesliga.com: You’ve described yourself as a fighter in the past. Would you say that stems from growing up in poor area?
Bobadilla: Yes, I get that from my parents. They’re also fighters. They told me that I have to give everything if I want to achieve something. It wasn’t easy to leave everything behind in Argentina when I was 19.
'I’ve become a lot more relaxed'
bundesliga.com: Your tattoos are indicative of the strong bond you have with your family...
Bobadilla: They all have a meaning. I have my parents on my chest and I also have tattoos of my sister and my niece. Every tattoo is important to me.
bundesliga.com: You’re also very emotional on the pitch. Is it true that you force yourself to count to ten after each refereeing decision?
Bobadilla: Yes, I’ve learned that it’s pointless to complain to referees. I used to do that a lot, but I’ve become a lot more relaxed. You just have to keep going, even if a decision doesn’t go your way.
bundesliga.com: As a youth player you also appeared for Boca’s arch rivals River Plate. You then moved to Basel, even though you didn’t know what language they speak there or anything about the standard of Swiss football. Why did you decided to take that step?
Bobadilla: I didn’t really know where I would go. At the start it was difficult, for a long time I wanted to return to Argentina. But my family - my parents in particular - said I just have to fight. That defines my personality.
'I'd like to play for Paraguay'
bundesliga.com: You said further down the line that you live the life of a prince. Was it a good decision to move to Europe?
Bobadilla: It definitely was. I feel very happy here now. Argentina remains my home, but so does Germany in a sense...
bundesliga.com: It was interesting to read that you were linked with a call-up to the Mexico World Cup squad in 2010.
Bobadilla: Yes, I have no idea where that rumour originated from.
bundesliga.com: Paraguay are supposed to be keen on securing your services at the moment...
Bobadilla: That’s true. The application forms have all been filled out. Nothing’s decided yet, but I would like to play for Paraguay. My mother has a [Paraguayan] passport and her mother is from Paraguay.
bundesliga.com: Do you still harbour hopes of getting a call from the Argentine head coach one day?
Bobadilla: Sure, that’s still my dream. But achieving that will be very difficult now.
Raul Bobadilla was talking to Felix Seaman-Höschele