bundesliga.com caught up with the former Borussia Mönchengladbach man to discuss life back in the Bundesliga, working under one of the coaching world's brightest talents and Sunday's trip to Wolfsburg...
bundesliga.com: Havard Nordtveit, we're almost a quarter of the way through the season and Hoffenheim once again occupy fourth place. Are you pleased with how things have gone so far?
Havard Nordtveit: I think it's always tough for a team to build on a good season like Hoffenheim had last season, but it was important for us to start this campaign well, which we have. Looking back at our games so far, 15 points is fair enough, but we could have more on the board.
bundesliga.com: Like last weekend against Augsburg, for example? You were denied victory by a last-minute own goal. Is that bad luck or perhaps even a lack of match management?
Nordtveit: With such a high level in the Bundesliga, it's those little things that can decide matches. If your performance levels drop even slightly during a key stage, then you run the risk of conceding. That's how it is. It has nothing to do with footballing quality, but being fully focused for every second of the game. We train hard every day to prevent moments like that against Augsburg.
Watch: Hoffenheim twice surrendered the lead against Augsburg
bundesliga.com: There is a small group of former Borussia Mönchengladbach players in Sinsheim now with you, Nico Schulz, Eugen Polanski and Lukas Rupp. Did that help you to settle in at the club?
Nordtveit: I feel I'm a person that people can talk to easily, but you're probably right that it definitely doesn't harm when there are familiar faces around you. Whether it's Nico, Lukas or one of the other lads, they all made me feel welcome from the first minute and I’m pleased I can now play for Hoffenheim.
bundesliga.com: Until now you had mostly had older coaches such as Lucien Favre or Arsene Wenger. On the other hand, your current coach Julian Nagelsmann represents the younger generation of football coaches. Are there differences between Nagelsmann and coaches such as Favre and Wenger, or is football football no matter what?
Nortdveit: Let me start by saying that Arsene Wenger is a legend. And I think he shares a very similar outlook on football as Lucian Favre. I worked under Lucien Favre for five years. He’s an exceptional coach, who knows everything about football and each one of his players. Football is never static, though, and that applies to clubs, players and coaches – you always have to progress. I have the same feeling about Julian Nagelsmann as I do Lucien Favre. Julian appears to know everything there is; at no point to you get the feeling he's only 30. I'm convinced he has a great future. As a coach, he has everything needed to enjoy tremendous success in football.
Watch: Julian Nagelsmann's tactical wizardry
bundesliga.com: Has there been or is there anything in training that you can’t quite get your head around?
Nordtveit: A lot! (laughs). Preseason at Hoffenheim was really demanding. Not so much physically as mentally. I've never had to get my head around so many drills. We meticulously played out all manner of in-game situations.
bundesliga.com: What are the differences between the Bundesliga and Premier League in pure football sense?
Nordtveit: The pace of the Premier League is pretty frenetic. It's very physical, whereas Bundesliga teams are very well schooled tactically. It's paid off when you think about how strong the Bundesliga has become in recent years, and what role it plays on the European stage.
bundesliga.com: Up next, you've got a Wolfsburg side long-overdue a win...
Nordtveit: That doesn't mean anything. There are no easy games in the Bundesliga, regardless of what shape the opposition's in. I learned from my experience at Borussia Mönchengladbach that it's never easy to play at Wolfsburg. That's why I'm expecting a tough test, and hoping that we outscore them and go home with all three points.
Havard Nordtveit was speaking to Andreas Kötter
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