Dominik Kaiser has already experienced the full range of emotions at the start of the new season.
After missing RB Leipzig's crucial penalty in the shootout defeat against SG Dynamo Dresden in the first round of the DFB Cup, the captain of the newly promoted side from Saxony subsequently scored his team's first ever goal in the Bundesliga during the 2-2 draw with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim on Matchday 1.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the 27-year-old spoke of his initial experiences of life in the Bundesliga with Leipzig.
bundesliga.com: Dominik Kaiser, you will go down in history as your team's first ever goalscorer in the Bundesliga; has the significance of that achievement sunk in yet?
Dominik Kaiser: Absolutely. On the one hand, I was very pleased as my goal helped my team, but I also had a chance to score in the first half. On the other hand, it was special for me personally as it was also my first Bundesliga goal. We played a decent game [against] Hoffenheim and we were rewarded for the performance with a point.
Watch: click play on the video below for highlights of Leipzig's draw at Hoffenheim:
bundesliga.com: Just a week prior to that, you missed the decisive penalty in the German Cup, which served to highlight the fine line between good and bad luck.
Kaiser: Exactly. After our elimination I was really disappointed. A penalty miss is always hard to swallow and especially in the Cup as, unfortunately, it meant we were knocked out. We tried to shake off that setback by focusing on our Bundesliga encounter, though. We wanted to prove what we were capable of and we did that well as a team.
bundesliga.com: Despite the fact that many of RB Leipzig's players were taking their first steps in the Bundesliga, you managed to go toe-to-toe with Hoffenheim and secure a point. How much do you respect the Bundesliga?
Kaiser: We have very few players who have previous Bundesliga experience. In fact it was, for many, their first taste of German top-flight football. We proved in Hoffenheim - and I was certain of this prior to the game - that we have the players capable of competing against Bundesliga teams. Yet we also noticed - especially in the first few minutes of the match - that the Bundesliga is real a step up. In the opening stages, and again with their second goal, we saw that errors will be punished and can lead to you losing games. Nevertheless, it was a good start and we'll take confidence from it while knowing that we still have a lot to do.
bundesliga.com: How dangerous is this early praise for your team and the expectations that the side might soon be ready to challenge for European places?
Kaiser: I haven't heard much about that sort of thing, really. We're a newly promoted team and we know what our qualities are, qualities that we have developed on an individual and collective basis over the years and that can serve us very well. Our goal is to establish ourselves in the Bundesliga, regardless of what is being said elsewhere. We want to focus on our performances and to start well in the opening weeks of the competition. After that, we'll see what happens.
bundesliga.com: You were in the regional leagues five years ago with Leipzig and have come from the fourth tier right to the Bundesliga with the club, a feat only previously achieved by Andreas Lambertz with Fortuna Dusseldorf.
Kaiser: Yes, that’s right, and with my goal against Hoffenheim I managed the same achievement as [Lambertz] did before me - scoring in every league. I am thrilled that things with Leipzig have developed so positively after I took the plunge to compete with them in the regional leagues almost five years ago. It wasn't an easy step to take back then but, in retrospect, it was definitely the right one. The fact that I have been able to grow and improve my performances year on year makes me very pleased. Now my hope is to help my team in the Bundesliga.
Tobias Gonscherowski/Paul Bryan