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Daniel Farke on Germany, fitness levels and Wolfsburg

19 July 2018

With Norwich City's pre-season tour of Germany approaching it's climax, caught up with Head Coach Daniel Farke.

Here he talks about the atmosphere in the City dressing room, how the players are coping with the heat and double sessions and the final tour match against Wolfsburg on Thursday evening.

DF on Wednesday's recovery day, following the match with Union Berlin...

"To be honest, we kept the intensity down in the morning. For me it was session of high load but for the lads, it was a session of low intensity so I could join in most parts of the session.

"It was just slow jogging and we played some boxes for the lads who played nearly 90 minutes yesterday. We also played some head-tennis and some of the other lads had a bit more intensity to do but it was a pretty relaxed session and it was necessary after many days in a row with double sessions.

"Sometimes you have to calm down to give the body a chance to adapt - for that, I think it was good. 

"It was the first afternoon off. The lads were able to recover a little bit and they had some time in order to lay in the sun and have a short swim together and speak about some other topics.

"It's quite important for the group and for the togetherness, especially for the new lads to talk a bit about their private things, their family, their surroundings. It's quite important for the togetherness that in the evening we had a little funny event. All these things are quite important to do during a training camp."

DF on the pre-season camp so far..

"We have brilliant conditions. The hotel is very nice, the pitches are good and the weather is outstanding. The attitude, commitment and togetherness of the lads is good. We are working very hard on the training pitch - we had some really good tests and some tough tests but we were there with good performances and were pretty competitive.

"We had a brilliant win against Paderborn after being down at half-time and also I think a more than solid performance against Union Berlin. We had two unlucky goals conceded and we could have easily won this game.

"The performances have been good, the mentality is good and the togetherness has increased. I'm very pleased at the moment."

DF on the current fitness levels of his players...

"Most of the lads will be pretty much prepared because the first four weeks of pre-season were unbelievably tough. We had double sessions each and every day and we are in the fourth week and many, many lads were able to join in each and every minute on the pitch and during the training sessions also.

"For them, they are 100% prepared. For the next two weeks, it's still pre-season but we will focus a bit more on the detailed stuff and finding a starting eleven for Birmingham and also to calm the intensity down a bit so they are really fresh and highly motivated and greedy for the first game. 

"I think most parts of the group is 100% ready - okay, there are some slight injury problems and there are some players in the rehab stage. They are working really, really hard and I hope to have them back pretty soon. The biggest part of our group will be 100% prepared."

DF on how the new players have settled in...

"I know I've got a group of players who have been here over the last year that I can totally trust. For professional football, there is an outstanding atmosphere in the dressing room and before we signed the new players, we had many meetings with them and we spoke with people who knew them in order to know a bit more about their personality.

"For us, it was not just important about what they can offer on-the-pitch, also off-the-pitch. In personal terms, we signed some really outstanding characters and I knew it would be easy for them to be involved in our group and it's exactly like this.

"So, I think for this moment - normally in pre-season there is lots of competition and everyone is a bit nervous and it's important to have this - but for this moment we are there with a really good togetherness and that's quite important for the season as well."

DF on how happy he is with the make-up of his squad...

"In general, a lot of business is done and we're happy with this. So there's always interest in football and there are some crazy things - I wouldn't say: 'Okay, there is a line under this transfer window.' It could be that there are one or two clubs interested in players who are already part of our group.

"It could be that one or two of our players will leave in the future. It could also easily be that we will have one or two new signings. But in general, I think most of the business is done and especially early in this pre-season, it's important that all the players can settle in and can adapt to our way of playing and this group and that's quite important.

"If we are able to be there with one or two details to strengthen the squad a bit, that would be perfect but there is not big pressure on us because I'm totally pleased with our group at the moment."

DF on Thursday evening's final pre-season tour match against Wolfsburg...

"It will be a tough test, I think probably the toughest test of this pre-season. Wolfsburg are a massive club here in Germany, a few years ago they were German champions. They are normally fighting for Europe and have a massive sponsor in Volkswagen so they are able to sign really quality players. 

"We know it's one step above Paderborn and Union Berlin but it's a game we are looking forward to. So we want to be there with a good performance and we want to be competitive. We are greedy to get the best result we can get - we know that it would be a big surprise but we won't win any point for the Championship which is more important.

"If it's just a draw or if we lose the game, it would be quite normal. I don't care so much about the result, I just want us to pretty brave and with a good performance and hopefully a good result."

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