WERDER.DE: From the outside, you’re seen as a very quiet person. Is that the case in the changing room, too? Or do you sometimes get loud in such a situation?
Christian Groß: “In terms of communication, I prefer to focus on the facts and am generally quiet, but this isn’t always the case. I can be loud in a match or during training, I also have that ability. It doesn’t happen too often, but it can definitely happen. However, I don’t think that should happen too often. One of my strengths is being able to see things objectively and to recognise and react to them promptly.”
WERDER.DE: You have not had a ‘normal’ career path in general. Would you say that’s given you a different view of football, or perhaps has meant you can give the rest of the team perspectives that others might not have had?
Christian Groß: “Yes, for sure. I see some things differently because I learned about them in a different way. The lower leagues are completely different to professional football, no matter if you look at the infrastructure, the training camps or any other thing about the matches. I think it’s an advantage for me to have experienced a wider variety of things. I can help the players get used to certain things – I might say ‘Hey, lads, it’s never over until it’s over, things can always change. Nobody ever constantly keeps improving: every career has highs and lows.’ I think my experience helps me a lot in that respect.”
WERDER.DE: Are there also things which perhaps affect you in a different way, because you did not start your journey to professional football as a child?
Christian Groß: “No, I don’t think so. I think I’m a bit more relaxed and calm because of it. I think someone who has been through the whole journey from a young age reacts differently to things in general, because they’ve had a completely different set of experiences. I came into it a lot later, and didn’t know a lot of things, like the scale of our support. I’m very relaxed about that kind of thing.”
WERDER.DE: Could you describe how you share your experiences with your younger teammates?
Christian Groß: “I always try to give hints and tips when they need them – that’s one of my main roles as one of the senior players. I’m also the oldest player here though, so it’s my job to cheer players up and support them. Things like that come about easily in a healthy squad like ours. Even when everyone’s in a good mood, like after the Schalke game, I look to talk to the younger lads and celebrate with them.”
WERDER.DE: Playing for a big traditional club like Werder Bremen means there is also a large, loud and opinionated set of fans behind you to spur you on. What do you think of the fans – are they always motivation for you, or sometimes a source of pressure?
Christian Groß: “It’s pure motivation for me, especially for home games but when we go away as well. Even looking back on this season, with things like the celebrations after derby win against HSV, or the win at Schalke, or even the welcome they gave to the team bus on Friday – these are all special, special things which not every club can be proud of having. That gives every footballer a spring in their step. The fans and the emotions belong to football; they are what makes football special for me.”
WERDER.DE: You were able to experience a promotion race when you played for VfL Osnabrück. What experiences were you able to take away from that time?
Christian Groß: “No matter what league it’s in, a promotion is a promotion. From that time, I learned that a season is extremely long and you have to keep performing at a consistently high level and scoring points to see it through. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We ran out of steam a bit in Osnabrück, especially us at the back, but you have to play consistently throughout the season.”
WERDER.DE: One final question: What would it mean for you personally to be back in the Bundesliga?
Christian Groß: “I’d rather answer that question in two weeks. Now, it’s only about winning our remaining games, and I hope we can achieve our goal.”