| 05/04/2020


Calling: Elvis Rexhbecaj

The 1. FC Köln players have been spending the majority of their day at home, just like the rest of us. Elvis Rexhbecaj tells us how it is at his house. An interview over training at home, cleaning and the consequences of the Coronavirus.

Hi Elvis, what are we taking you away from?

I’m watching series at the moment, what else is there to do? I’ve almost finished Orphan Black, that’s very good. Now, I’m going to watch the new series of Money Heist. I’ve waited a long time for that, and I’m going to binge-watch it.

Until the next episode of 24/7 FC, right?

Exactly (laughs). After I joined FC, I watched everything on one night, without a break, until about 1am.

How do your days look?

I’ve been running, and I’ve kept to my running plan. Then, it’s time to head for the balcony and do my weight training. Before I do that, I’ve normally had breakfast. Nothing more, nothing left. You can’t do much more than that. Beside shopping and cooking. And cleaning.

And how does it work with training at home?

Our fitness coach has done a good job, and he’s given us a hard programme to follow. We’ve got to do what we have to do. And I’m lucky: my brother had moved in for a while. Until I joined FC, we lived together with my parents in the same room. He’s doing a car mechanic apprenticeship, which is now on hold, and now he’s with me. He goes running with me and does the weight training as well. It’s better than going through it all alone.

What’s on the programme for you?

Today, there is circuit training on the plan. In intervals. 12 seconds effort, 12 seconds of pause. 15 reps, three times. Tomorrow, there are spints on the cards. 20 seconds high tempo, then 10 second pause. 10 times per set. With warm up and cool down, it’s about 50 minutes of work. After that, it’s the weights. That changes between upper-body and lower-body. We have medicine balls, kettle bells and everything that we need. There’s also mobility training, so we’re kept busy.

But with the training, there is something missing: the ball.

Oh yes, the first week with the fitness programme was still okay. But the second week was no fun. Therefore, I’m looking forward to being back at Geißbockheim training again. Even when it’s in small groups, it’s more fun to be training with the ball.

When was the last time you touched the ball?

Pff, when was the game against Gladbach? More than three weeks ago? I’m not sure. Not long after that, training was called off and everyone had to go home. That was the last time.

Have you ever not touched the ball for so long?

No, never, not since I can remember. Even in the summer or winter break, you always go for a kickabout with friends. But we can’t do that any more at the moment. You can’t do that, because it would only encourage others to come to the park and do the same. But it’s a lot more empty in the parks at the moment. A few weeks ago, they would have been absolutely full with people grilling and whatever. Thankfully, that’s not the case.

After you thinking about the Coronavirus and the consequences or are you trying to blend it out?

I always watch the news in the morning to keep myself informed about what happened over night, what happened that day and what the current figures are. And I also watch the press conferences from Robert-Koch-Institute and the government. I don’t keep myself busy 24/7 with it, otherwise I’d go daft.

Are you worried about it?

Yes, for example, about my parents. They’re around 50, and not yet in the risk groups. But you also read about younger people, where the virus has also taken a toll on them. Even without previous illnesses. And that doesn’t just hurt society, but also the economy. I live in the centre of Köln and was always amazed at how much goes on here. But now it is a ghost town. The shops are closed, the hotels and smaller businesses. As a footballer I’m fine, I don’t worry about my existence, even when I’ve not been a professional for that long. But what do the people do, who have to go from month to month not knowing? What does someone do who just opened up a shop, and now has nothing? I’m sorry about that. Many friends of mine were put on furlough leave. I really hope that we get Corona under control as soon as possible and everything can go back to normal. Not just in football, but overall.

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