Lasse, at FC St. Pauli you were a regular and in plenty of games, also a captain. Despite that, you let your contract run down and transferred to FC. Not a step to take for granted.
I knowingly came to this decision. It wasn’t only about “Köln or St. Pauli”. Köln had particularly interested me from the first moment. FC are great, and one of Germany’s biggest clubs. It also happens that my brother and a few friends live here, my sister also lives in Düsseldorf. My biggest incentive was that I wanted to play in the Bundesliga. And for a club that would, ideally, not just be a one-year adventure. I’ve had that goal for a long time. FC have, for me, always had Bundesliga ambitions. That passed perfectly with me.
Up until Matchday 9, everything was going well in a sporting sense. The broken toe, however, certainly didn’t fit into your plans.
Injuries never come at the right time, but I felt really good in this phase. I’d played myself into the team and we were beginning to find ourselves. In a situation with relegation, new players, new head coach it doesn’t happen overnight. That I then broke my big toe, was more than unnecessary. But to get annoyed by that for a long time doesn’t bring anything. I know that I managed to play myself into the team once and that I can do that again after the injury. If I had only sat on the bench beforehand, then it would have definitely been harder.
At the time of your decision, to move to Köln, relegation was not yet confirmed. How did you follow the situation?
I signed on regardless of the league, but obviously the games were on TV and I followed them. There was a reason to be hopeful at a point, but unfortunately it didn’t work out in the end. Although I found that the team did very well until the end of the season. Now we’re putting everything in, to return to the Bundesliga.
With Greuther Fürth and HSV, you’ve already got some Bundesliga experience under your belt. You’re also a Bundesliga champion.
I was in the Borussia Dortmund squad for the 2010-11 season, but didn’t make an appearance. Therefore, I don’t see myself as a champion. But I did still get to join in the celebrations. In Dortmund, the fans are just as passionate as in Köln- it was a quite special experience. I at least got to hold the Meisterschale in my hands.
You were born in Schwerte and grew up just a few kilometres from Dortmund. Was a move to the BVB youth academy a given?
In my family, everyone is a BVB fan and I was as well. When I was 12, I received offers from Schalke, Bochum and Dortmund – the decision went quite quickly (laughs). I was with Borussia Dortmund for 10 years and I still follow how things go there.
But you weren’t always a defender.
No, I started off as a striker. Moving from the under-16s to under-17s, then I ended up as a defender due to a lack of players and the coach wanted to try me out. I didn’t really want that, but you don’t go against the coach – especially not at this age. Just before I had a growth spurt. The experiment unfortunately worked out quite well (laughs). Between times I also played as a defensive midfielder, but in the under-17s and under-19s, I established myself as a centre-back. Sometimes I miss the striker's life. Scoring goals is the nicest thing in football. But that is the fate of many defenders.
created by Frederic Latz