Kevin Volland has hit the ground running since swapping TSG 1899 Hoffenheim for Bayer 04 Leverkusen, with five goals and an assist in four pre-season games to date.
bundesliga.com sat down with the Germany international to talk about his role in the team, Die Werkself's ambitions, and making music on and off the pitch...
bundesliga.com: A player of your class probably had a lot of choices this summer. What was the deciding factor for Bayer 04 Leverkusen?
Kevin Volland: It was a long process. Last year I had good conversations with [B04 sporting director] Mr. [Rudi] Völler, with [general manager] Mr. [Jonas] Boldt, and of course with the coach, Roger Schmidt. So I felt very welcome here from the first moment. Also, for my development Bayer are the ideal team: an excellent outlook with a very good coach and great players. The style of play suits me, because it certainly has similarities to that of Hoffenheim. But I'm learning every day and trying everything to absorb new information. Therefore, the pre-season and upcoming training camps are worth their weight in gold.
bundesliga.com: You also had very good players alongside you at Hoffenheim. Are players like Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez another step up in class?
Volland: Absolutely. Whether it is Chicha or Karim Bellarabi we have incredible quality in every position. We have a season in which we want - and need - to play well in the Champions League. In such games knowing that you have teammates who have been there before and have such quality gives you a feeling of security.
bundesliga.com: Speaking of Karim Bellarabi, your Bundesliga record goal vs. FC Bayern München last season was 0.3 seconds quicker than his previous quickest goal…
Volland: ...the fastest Bundesliga goal of all time...
Watch: Volland's record nine-second goal against Bayern:
bundesliga.com: Does this record mean a lot to you?
Volland: Not so much. What I liked a lot that day was scoring against Bayern München. That's always something special. But if I score after nine seconds or in injury time - as was the case against 1. FC Köln - it's equally special for me. Of course I'm aware that I scored the fastest Bundesliga goal, against Bayern, but I don't think about it every day.
bundesliga.com: You have not taken long to open your account for Leverkusen in recent friendlies…
Volland: It's always nice to score goals and win games, but I appreciate that we have not yet taken on opponents that have the quality we'll come up against in the Bundesliga or the Champions League. Nevertheless, we can learn a lot from these friendlies.
bundesliga.com: Bayer have begun to look like the third force behind Bayern and Borussia Dortmund in recent years. Can you achieve even more?
Volland: It'll be important to get the season off to a good start. If we don't manage that, I still think our team has a lot of quality once we get going. I think a lot is possible. We want to close the gap on BVB, which was quite large last season. We have to play consistently and start a winning streak as soon as possible.
bundesliga.com: Kevin Volland the musician around the evening campfire will not be there, then?
Volland: I'm not completely sure (laughs). About two years ago I thought about what leisure activity I could take up. Playing the guitar is something else to do, like playing golf. But I only play at home for myself, songs that I like to listen to. Although I have long way to go, perhaps I could now play in public without being embarrassed - but this will almost certainly not happen!
Andreas Kötter/Stuart Telford