"I’ve already had a lot of laughs"

New signing Dikeni Salifou’s first interview

Dikeni Salifou has felt right at home in Bremen so far. (Photo: werder.de)
Dikeni Salifou has felt right at home in Bremen so far. (Photo: werder.de)
Monday, 20.06.2022 / 16:20

Sunday saw the start of pre-season preparations for SV Werder Bremen, with most of the squad back on the training pitch. Among the players returning from their summer breaks to the wohninvest WESERSTADION, there was a new signing: Dikeni Salifou. The 19-year-old has just joined the Green-Whites from FC Augsburg and has started his pre-season with the first team. The defensive midfielder, most at home in the number 6 role, has an exceptional turn of speed and dynamism.

WERDER.DE sat down with Dikeni for the first time since joining the club, speaking to him about his arrival in Bremen, his goals for the 2022/23 campaign and the Werder fans.

Hey, Dikeni! How have your first few days in Bremen been?

I love it here already. I already got an apartment sorted out, and I moved in with my dad for the first time. It’s a great area, and I was welcomed really kindly by the landlady and all my neighbours, as well as the team. Everybody’s been super friendly to me so far – I feel great.

Have you been able to get to know the city so far?

I visited with my parents in December, and Frank Baumann took us around to see the sights. The first impression was really good.

You were born in Munich and spent your most recent years in Augsburg. How big is the difference from being in the south of Germany to the north?

It’s a pretty big change, especially with the weather. My sister told me that back down south it was 35 degrees Celsius yesterday, but here in Bremen it was rainy and cold (smiles). Despite that though, I feel good.

How were your opening days with the team?

I haven’t met any of the lads before, so it’s all new ground  for me, but the team gave me a great welcome. The lads are all hilarious, which is something I didn’t expect – you always have an idea of how people are, but it was completely different here. I’ve already had a lot of laughs with Duckschi and Felix Agu.

Will this be your first pre-season training session with a first team?

Yes, this is my first pre-season with a professional squad. I trained a few times with Augsburg’ first team and they named me in the squad, but this is my first pre-season. I’m expecting the jump up from U19s to first team  to be big, but I’m optimistic that I can hold my own.

Looking forward to the Werder fans

You have been in a Bundesliga squad before, but you’re yet to make your debut. How excited are you for that?

I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve been in the squad four times already, but haven’t had the chance to show myself in the Bundesliga so far. I’ve been hungry to play the whole time, working hard, and I really wanted to make my debut, but I’ll learn from that experience and give my all so I can get my chance soon.

In a few days, after training gets into full swing, we’ll make a trip to Zillertal in Austria for our summer camp. What are you looking forward to there?

I’m looking forward to getting to know the lads better and spending time with the whole squad. The training sessions are also something I’m looking forward to, so I can show what I can do.

I saw just how much the city loves the club – it’s crazy, and so cool. It motivates people to give that extra bit more.
Dikeni Salifou

Why did you decide on a move to Werder?

The main factor that convinced me was that I saw a different perspective of things in Bremen. The coaching staff, Frank Baumann and Clemens Fritz showed me that I have the chance to break through here – that persuaded me to come. I also saw just how much the city loves the club – it’s crazy, and so cool. It motivates people to give that extra bit more. Those are the things that made me sign here.

The transfer was confirmed a few months ago now – did you follow the team’s run to promotion back to the Bundesliga?

Yes, I followed the promotion run. When I made the decision to sign for Werder, the club was eighth in the Bundesliga 2, but then I kept watching the fantastic improvement. When I  watched the final game and the club get promoted, it was fantastic to see how many fans there were in the city and how they invaded the pitch to celebrated. It was unbelievable and I’m already looking forward to being on the pitch in front of so many fans.

What are your goals for next season?

The main priority and the most important thing for the squad is to stay in the league. Personally though, I want to collect as many minutes as I can, integrate myself into the squad and improve as much as possible. There are a lot of areas where I can improve, and I need to bring my weaknesses out whilst also growing my strengths. Those are my goals for next season.

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