Wolfsburg – After winning the DFB Cup and 2015 Supercup in his first year at VfL Wolfsburg, there is nowehere else Josuha Guilavogui would rather be.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the ambitious French midfielder outlines his aims for the coming campaign, talks up German Player of the Year Kevin De Bruyne and new Wolfsburg striker Max Kruse and explains what makes the Bundesliga so special.
bundesliga.com: Josuha Guilavogui, are VfL Wolfsburg all set for the new season?
Josuha Guilavogui: The preparations have gone really well. We've worked a lot on the physical side of things and our training sessions at our training camps were very intense. We trained practically twice a day and also spent a lot of time working on pressing and sprints in order to improve our defensive work.
bundesliga.com: The performance against FC Bayern München in the Supercup looked very promising…
Guilavogui: I agree, even though I also noticed that we can get even better and that we we're not yet at 100 per cent of our potential. We've still got a lot of room for improvement, but I'm pretty confident that we'll have a successful season. We're ready.
bundesliga.com: What would a successful season be for Wolfsburg?
Guilavogui: We want to defend second place in the Bundesliga and qualify directly for the Champions League again. Not a lot's changed within the squad, so we already know each other really well and know how we all tick. That could definitely be an advantage for us over other sides.
'I'm lucky to be able to train with Kevin every day'
Guilavogui: It's a hard, but fair battle. I've never been afraid of competition. Each one of us has his own strengths and weaknesses and in the end, it's down to the coach to decide who will play. Personally, I see myself as being on a par with Luiz and Max.
Guilavogui: I'm lucky to be able to train with Kevin every day; what he can do is simply amazing. He's world class, there's no doubt about it. He's got a knack of always being in the right place and is fantastic at shifting the play. He's our magician. Without Kevin, it would be different because he gives us our edge.
bundesliga.com: What impression do you have of new signing Max Kruse?
Guilavogui: I played against him twice in the Bundesliga last season, so I already knew that we'd gained something extra for our attack. He's technically strong and can play in many different positions. Considering he can hold the ball up well while also being a cool finisher, we're only going to be stronger with him.
bundesliga.com: How would you summarise your first year in Germany?
Guilavogui: I feel great in Wolfsburg. I've integrated well and I've been lucky to be part of a great team with a remarkable character. It was all new for me in the first few months, but now I really feel at home here.
bundesliga.com: And what would you say about the Bundesliga?
Guilavogui: I'm delighted to be playing here. It's a very attractive league. Every game is a sell-out and the stadiums are nice and modern. The atmosphere's great here and it's really intense, and there are a lot of goals scored too.
bundesliga.com: Which stadium do you like the most?
Guilavogui: That's not an easy question because all of the stadiums are great, but Hamburg was probably my favourite away game - also because I scored my first Bundesliga goal there.
Interview by Alexis Menuge / Translation by Ben Gladwell