“We know what’s at stake”

Anthony Jung on his suspension and the upcoming game against VfB Stuttgart

Tony Jung on the pitch.
Anthony Jung is itching to get back out on the pitch (Photo: W.DE).
First Team
Thursday, 18.04.2024 / 11:00

At 32 years old, Anthony Jung is one of the most experienced players in SVW’s current squad, and the defender has showed that he’s still got a lot to give over the course of this season. Jung has found himself playing in a new role after shifting from a full-back to central defence. He’s thrived in the new position so far, having racked up over 2,000 minutes in the Green-Whites’ backline this campaign. Werder’s Mr. Reliable had been named in the starting XI by Ole Werner for every game since matchday 7, until his streak came to an end due to suspension. After sitting out of SVW’s last two matches, Jung can’t wait to get back out on the pitch this weekend against VfB Stuttgart.

The red card was a first for Jung, as he had never been sent off in a professional match before Werder’s matchday 27 clash against Wolfsburg. The break from playing was also new to him. “It was strange to have to watch the team on TV. It felt weird to be unable to have a bearing on the action,” said Jung, looking back at the Green-Whites’ last couple of games. “To be honest, I could do without having to go through that again.” This is especially true given that the hiatus knocked Jung off his stride. “I was in my groove and then suddenly I wasn’t, which was all my own fault. That made the situation even more annoying,” explained Jung. That being said, Werder’s number 3 noted that the two weeks away from playing hadn’t gone to waste. “I used the time to recharge my batteries a bit. I want to get back into the swing of things this week and start helping the team out on the pitch again as soon as possible.” 

Standing firm and keeping calm

Jung’s return is a real boost not only for himself, but for the team as a whole. The Green-Whites are currently going through an injury crisis, with eight players sitting out of the game against Bayer Leverkusen. The 32-year-old was keen to stress that the team can’t use this as an excuse for poor performances, however. “We’ve got to make sure we focus on the things that we can control,” stated Jung. He continued by saying that the training sessions during the week and preparation for the upcoming game falls under this umbrella. “We’ve got to perform to the best of our ability when we’re out there on the pitch in order to start picking up points again.” The last time the Green-Whites came away from a game with three points was the 1-0 victory in Cologne on matchday 22. “We’ve definitely not gotten what we’ve wanted from our recent games,” noted Jung. “We’re fully aware of the predicament we find ourselves in and know what’s at stake.” Jung added that “keeping calm in this tricky period” and “not panicking” is crucial, especially when Werder face off against this season’s surprise package VfB Stuttgart at the wohninvest WESERSTADION at the weekend.

After the Swabian side only just survived relegation via a play-off last season, head coach Sebastian Hoeneß’ team are on course for a Champions League spot this campaign. “We’re facing a strong opponent in VfB,” said Jung. “Stuttgart have built up a huge amount of confidence and play with a completely different identity.” However, he also emphasised his team’s own qualities. “If we put in our best possible performance on the pitch, it won’t be easy for Stuttgart.”

In order to achieve that, the defender wants to build on Werder’s good performance in the first period in Leverkusen. “The first half was good in terms of our approach and the spirit we showed, and we were also solid at the back from the start. We did a good job of focusing on our own performance,” said Jung. That’s why he doesn’t want his team to just roll over against Stuttgart. “We have to take our chances and play with confidence, both in defence and attack.” Jung also thinks the crowd will provide crucial support. “If we harness the energy that the fans create in every home game, that can drive us,” explained the centre-back, who is confident about the game against VfB. “It’s time for us to pick up some points. Why can’t we do that on Sunday?”

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