With Olympic, Bundesliga and UEFA Champions League football on the horizon, Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Julian Brandt has much to look forward to.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the 20-year-old midfielder previews what he hopes will be a productive campaign for club and country.
bundesliga.com: Julian Brandt, Bayer 04 Leverkusen have been back in pre-season training for a while now and during the week drew 1-1 against FC Porto. What did you make of the game?
Julian Brandt: In friendlies like these, you get a really good idea of what's still missing. A lot will happen in the weeks ahead and at the training camps.
"Kevin Volland has scored a lot of goals in friendlies. It's a signing that'll definitely pay off."
bundesliga.com: Former Hoffenheim striker Kevin Volland now plays for Leverkusen. What's he like as a person?
Brandt: He's a good guy. He's integrated well and has scored a lot of goals in the friendlies. He's a good young signing for us and one that'll definitely pay off.
bundesliga.com: He's also said that he can envisage winning titles with Leverkusen. Hertha head coach Pal Dardai has also tipped Bayer 04 to win the Bundesliga title. What do you make of those declarations?
Brandt: It's no secret that Leverkusen long for a title, but you have to be realistic. Bayern and Dortmund are in a very good place right now, but so are we. I think the DFB Cup is always on the agenda for us. We were unlucky to go out last year. We have to learn from that.
"We want to win a medal at the Olympics."
bundesliga.com: You've always qualified for the Champions League with Leverkusen - last season you did so directly after finishing third. Is that also the target for the coming campaign?
Brandt: Yeah, that should be our aim - preferably directly by finishing third. That would fulfil expectations at Leverkusen.
Interview by Tobias Gonscherowski