Mönchengladbach - What with the fitness tests, medical checks and constant running, plenty of footballers dread pre-season training. New Borussia Mönchengladbach signing Josip Drmic isn't one of them, though. In fact, the 24-year-old cut his holiday short in a bid to hit the ground running with the Foals.
"That was an agreement I made with [head coach] Lucien Favre," the striker told borussia.de, the club's official website. "We both thought it would be good for me to start training a little bit earlier [than the rest of the club's international stars] in order to get to know my new team-mates and surroundings as quickly as possible. I'm using the time to get to know the team. I'm delighted to be here."
'Can hardly wait'
It comes as no surprise that the Swiss international is keen to impress after enduring a stop-start season with former employers Bayer 04 Leverkusen in 2014/15. He was signed from relegated 1. FC Nürnberg amid great fanfare last summer, yet only made ten starts in all competitions under Roger Schmidt. "Everyone knows I didn't play very much last season," he continued. "For that reason, I can hardly wait to be out there with the boys on the field."
The conditions at Gladbach, however, seem far better suited to reaping Drmic's considerable talent than they ever were at Leverkusen, where Stefan Kießling stood in his path to becoming first-choice striker. Firstly, there is the sizeable Swiss contingent developing at the Borussia Park. "Granit [Xhaka] (l.) and Yann [Sommer] are friends of mine," he explained. "So I'm delighted to play at the same club as them. Both will be able to help me settle in and offer support."
Another advantage for Drmic is that with the departure of Max Kruse to VfL Wolfsburg, Drmic has the opportunity to establish himself as the club's first-choice frontman immediately. Without Kruse the Foals will be relying on him reproducing the form which saw him plunder 17 league goals for a struggling Nürnberg in 2013/14. Indeed, even taking into account his struggles to impose himself at Bayer, Drmic still netted once every 134 minutes in Leverkusen; an impressive strike rate.
A first opportunity to underline that talent for his new employers comes as soon as 12 July, when Gladbach face Hamburger SV on home turf in the Telekom Cup pre-season friendly tournament. "I want to play as often as possible," he concludes. "I'm going to enjoy every minute out on the field and we'll see if I make my debut on Sunday. It’s been an intense week of training." What is certain is that Drmic will give his all to be in the side.