With four goals in 11 Bundesliga appearances already this season, Liverpool loanee Divock Origi has hit the ground running at Wolfsburg. Bundesliga.com caught up with the Belgium international to discuss life in Germany’s top flight, playing with Mario Gomez, and his personal goals for the months ahead.
bundesliga.com: Divock Origi, you only came to Wolfsburg on deadline day of the summer transfer window and it hasn’t taken you much time to adapt. How did you manage to integrate so quickly into the team?
Origi: It's not the first time that I've moved to another country. At the age of 15, I switched from my native Belgium to France to Lille and had to learn a new language there. Then I went to England. In Liverpool, it helped me a lot that I had a German coach in Jürgen Klopp, who brought me a bit closer to German culture. I am also a very open type and always try hard to work. That attitude is appreciated in Germany.
Watch: Origi was on target in a six-goal thriller between Wolfsburg and Hertha!
bundesliga.com: Together with Daniel Didavi, you’re Wolfsburg’s top scorer with four goals. Your coach believes you can score at least 10-12 goals. What is your objective?
Origi: I have a personal goal of how many goals I want to score, but I’ll keep that to myself (laughs).
bundesliga.com: Are you satisfied with your current tally and your performances in the first 11 games?
Origi: I always try to set very high goals and raise the bar very high. I'm never 100 per cent satisfied with myself after a game. I always want to improve.
bundesliga.com: After your Bundesliga debut you revealed that you can play anywhere in attack. In the first few games, you played as a striker. Now, after the return of Mario Gomez, you’re playing on the right wing. Which position do you prefer?
Origi: Just as I said at the beginning of the season, I can play in any position in attack. In the future, I see myself as a No. 9. Playing on the wing is certainly good for my development, though. It’s always important to be able to play in different positions. My first game on the right wing went very well. In the 3-3 draw against Hertha, I scored a goal and set one up.
bundesliga.com: What are your personal objectives with Wolfsburg until the end of the season? A relegation battle is certainly not on your mind, right?
Origi: On a personal level, I want to develop – always go that step further. I realise that I’m getting better and better. For me it’s positive that I scored my last four goals from different positions. Furthermore, I want to be an important part of the team. I know that the team spirit is getting better and better and we’re believing in ourselves more and more as a team.
bundesliga.com: You’re only 22 and have already played in three top European leagues [France, England and Germany]. How would you characterise the leagues? Where is the Bundesliga?
Origi: In France, the technical side of the game is slightly more pronounced than in the Bundesliga. Here in Germany, it is more about attack, it is a bit more physical and there are plenty of stars in the league. In England, it’s a bit more physical than in Germany and there are of course a lot of high-profile players. They’re three top leagues, and I’m happy to be playing in Germany at the moment. I’m pleasantly surprised by the Bundesliga.
bundesliga.com: In what way are you surprised by the Bundesliga?
Origi: Let's put it this way: I like the soul of the league. Football is a way of life here, there are fantastic fans and great stadiums. The atmosphere is unique. The league is very well organised. That impressed me a lot.
Watch: Origi scored his an injury-time equaliser against Schalke on Matchday 10!
bundesliga.com: Wolfsburg almost made it a Bundesliga record eight successive draws, but then won at home against Freiburg on Matchday 12. Have you ever experienced seven draws in a row in your career?
Divock Origi: No, I’ve never seen so many draws before. There were mixed feelings. Getting a point is usually not a bad result, but obviously we wanted to win those games. It was not enough overall, but I think the team has now taken another step forwards. Fortunately, we finally won against Freiburg.
bundesliga.com: How important was your coach during this phase? Martin Schmidt always talked about the strength of the team and spoke of an unbeaten run of games, not of a winless run. He said the team should be hard to beat.
Origi: Exactly, that was the point. It was a difficult situation for us. In addition, we had some very tough away games in Munich [2-2] in Schalke [1-1] and in Leverkusen [2-2]. We showed character in these games. In some games, we just lacked that bit of luck. The team has taken the positives from that run and we are now on the right track.
bundesliga.com: How is your relationship with Mario Gomez on and off the pitch?
Origi: Mario Gomez has proven in the past that he’s a great striker who can score many goals. You can see every day in training that he has a lot of experience. I'm glad he's playing for Wolfsburg. Of course, he knows where the goal is and the whole team benefits from his abilities, me included.
bundesliga.com: There are still four games left before the winter break. On Sunday, you go up against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Then you’ve got Hamburg, RB Leipzig and Cologne. How many points should you be aiming for from those games?
Origi: We need to be ambitious. I think we can get some good results. We’re playing against top teams, but we have the quality, too. Of course, I can’t say how many points we'll get in the run-up to Christmas, but we want the maximum and we'll do anything for it.
bundesliga.com: At Wolfsburg, you wear the No.14 shirt, which was also worn by your compatriot Kevin de Bruyne. Was it intentional to take his number?
Origi: Actually, my favourite number is 27, but that was already taken [by Max Arnold] - as was No.17 [Felix Uduokhai] and No.27 [Paul-Georges Ntep]. So then the club offered me the number 14. But they only told me later that it was Kevin de Bruyne’s old number. Kevin is a completely different player to me, but it's good to be able to wear "his" number.
bundesliga.com: Together with de Bruyne you’ve qualified for the World Cup with Belgium. Many experts see Belgium as a hot favourite. What do you think?
Origi: Obviously we have a lot of quality in the squad. Unlike the previous World Cup, all the players have four years of experience and all play at a very high level in Europe’s top leagues. Some players have gone up a level. We can definitely go to Russia feeling very confident. But I can’t say if we will win it or not. We’ve got a decent chance.
bundesliga.com: When did you last talk to Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp?
Origi: I spoke to Jürgen Klopp for the last time shortly before my move to Wolfsburg, but I'm in close contact with the club.
bundesliga.com: Wolfsburg has loaned you for a season from Liverpool, but you might want to stay even longer. Can you imagine playing for Wolfsburg next season?
Origi: Yes, sure. Anything can happen in football. The agreement is for the loan to expire at the end of the season. Then I’ll return to Liverpool because I have a good relationship with the club and also with the fans. But as I said, you never know what will happen. Right now, I am very happy at Wolfsburg and I’m developing well. It’s a great fit.
Divock Origi was speaking to Alexander Barklage