FC Schalke 04's season may not be going according to plan, but that has not changed Abdul Rahman Baba's conviction that he made the right choice in joining them this summer from Chelsea FC.
The former FC Augsburg defender is delighted to be back playing in the Bundesliga, and convinced the Royal Blues will turn things around. In this exclusive bundesliga.com interview, the 22-year-old reveals all about his first few months back in Germany.
bundesliga.com: Abdul Rahman Baba, after your courageous performance against FC Bayern München and convincing UEFA Europa League win against OGC Nice, it looked like Schalke were heading in the right direction, so how do you explain the latest setbacks?
Abdul Rahman Baba: That's a tough question. We picked up a lot of self-confidence from our games against Bayern and Nice, yet we still weren't able to play how we know we can – and had already shown – in the first half against Berlin. Given we had Thursday's game still in our legs, it then became difficult for us to recover after going two goals down.
"I've got to say that I've never experienced such enthusiasm as there is here in Gelsenkirchen." Abdul Rahman Baba
bundesliga.com: You know your coach Markus Weinzierl from your time together at FC Augsburg. How is he responding to this difficult situation? Has he changed?
Baba: I'm seeing the same coach I remember from my Augsburg days. He's always got time for all of his players, if ever you have a problem. Of course that's particularly important for me because he gives me the feeling that he totally believes in me, and that's very important, particularly for a young player. Just like at Augsburg, he places a lot of the emphasis on playing down the flanks and that's something I'm particularly suited to, given that I'm an attack-minded full-back.
bundesliga.com: You've now been back in the Bundesliga for quite a while. You don't seem to be having any problems settling back in…
Baba: That's true. It was and is a bit like coming back home for me, when I run out in places like the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt or the Olympiastadion in Berlin. And being able to experience the VELTINS-Arena in a Schalke shirt is of course a highlight.