Dominik Kupilas sits down with Junuzovic
Zlatko Junuzovic celebrated his comeback against Hamburg after a lengthy absence through injury, making his first appearance of the season. The Green-White captain used the international break to get himself back to full fitness. The 30-year-old wants to start collecting points as quickly as possible - starting this Sunday. WERDER.DE sat down with the midfield engine to talk about the current season, his fitness and about what can be improved.
WERDER.DE: We’re back to Bundesliga football this Sunday. After your comeback against Hamburg you’ve been able to work on your fitness during the international break. How are you feeling?
Zlatko Junuzovic: "The international break was a good time for me to work on strengthening my foot. I did that. We also had a friendly which I coped with well. So I’m optimistic for Sunday’s game against Gladbach, but I obviously need to wait and see how the game pans out and what the coach decides to do."
WERDER.DE: International breaks are often quite unpopular, because you lose your rhythm. This one came at just the right time for you though didn’t it?
Zlatko Junuzovic: "There was enough time after the Hamburg game to test it a bit more and see how the injury felt, how my foot coped with the strain and whether there was any potential for a negative reaction. Fortunately, there was no negative reaction. Obviously it tinged a little here and there, but it wasn’t bad and we managed to get it under control with appropriate training methods. So yes, the break was ideal, especially since I was actually able to get some game time under my belt against Meppen. It’s all going really well.
WERDER.DE: What isn’t going so well is Werder’s Bundesliga campaign. You can’t be content with four points from seven games. What’s the atmosphere like within the team?
Zlatko Junuzovic: "The atmosphere is positive, despite all that. Obviously no one is pleased or happy with the situation, but if you look back on each of the games individually, there was always more in it. We had chances which we didn’t take; we lacked efficiency, but we still put in decent performances. That makes it all the more gutting to have so few points."
Efficiency has been the main problem in our last few games.Zlatko Junuzovic
WERDER.DE: And to be under pressure again from the start...
Zlatko Junuzovic: "Pressure is completely normal in this line of work, but if you have to deliver, the pressure increases. Obviously this is a familiar situation to us, one that we can handle. That gives me a good feeling about it. Of course, we’d rather not be in this situation though. We need to start picking up points, that’s all that counts."
WERDER.DE: As you mentioned just before, the team has been lacking efficiency recently. Is that all that needs to change? Or what else needs tweaking in order to get the win on Sunday?
Zlatko Junuzovic: "Efficiency was definitely the main problem in the last game, but obviously a lot of things aren’t perfect, no one’s saying we’ve been outstanding and have only been missing the goals. We have identified things that we can do better or differently and we work on these on a daily basis. For example, we often lack consistency: we’ve had control of the game for a bit, then lost control for a bit. The balance between defence and attack needs to be better as well. We will analyse it, talk about it and try to improve it. We will do that internally."
WERDER.DE: Werder’s record against Gladbach at the Weserstadion has been quite good in recent years. Last time out, however, it ended in narrow defeat. Will there be anything at the back of your mind going into the game?
Zlatko Junuzovic: “What’s in the past is in the past. Things are different now. Last year’s game came after the bitter loss to Augsburg, when we dominated the game and went up 2-1, before conceding two late goals. It was a really important game, and we let it slip. I can remember clearly how our heads dropped after that. And then you have to go up against Gladbach, where you want to play well, but you just can’t. All of us were at a bit of a loss after the game as to how we played like that. That won’t happen on Sunday, because we have a clear plan of what we have to do and the structure we need to play with.
WERDER.DE: The last time you beat Gladbach after an international break was also on Matchday 8 of the 2012/2013 season. You got yourself on the scoresheet that day...
Zlatko Junuzovic: “We won 4-0 that day. But statistics like that don’t mean anything in all honesty. But you are always well aware of the opponents you’ve played against, and how you’ve played against them in the past. We played really well in that game, going into halftime with a 2-0 lead. A game like that wouldn’t go amiss this Sunday.”
WERDER.DE: Jannik Vestergaard wouldn’t be best pleased if things turned out that way. He returns to the Weserstadion with Gladbach on Sunday. Are you looking forward to seeing him again?
Zlatko Junuzovic: “Yeah, definitely. We got on really well when he was here. He was a big personality in the dressing room, played very well for us, and fully deserved his move to Gladbach. I hope that he holds back a bit on Sunday though, because I know all too well how strong he is when he tackles. We’ve had a few battles in the past, and I hope to come out on top when we meet again on Sunday.”