Speaking extensively to Borussia Mönchengladbach’s official website, defender Stefan Lainer discusses returning to training amid the on-going COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for the Bundesliga’s return, which has yet to have a start date.
What is it like to be back in training this week, albeit in small groups?
“It feels like a big step towards eventually returning to team training. You see several of your teammates again and are back on the pitch with the ball at your feet. That dressing room atmosphere and that team spirit is back, even if it is a bit different due to the conditions in place. The intensity of the training sessions is also completely different compared to just going for runs on your own at home. It’s important for us and for our fitness levels that we’re back on the pitch.”
What are your training sessions like at the moment?
“I don’t think it’s that bad that we’re training in small groups right now. We’re separated by position, so I’m in a group with the other defenders. We’re able to practice those runs and plays that affect us defenders. That allows us to work on an individual level and to focus on things that you might otherwise not be able to do in team training.”
How does the team communicate during training?
“We’re spread out throughout the stadium. So I’m usually only in direct contact with one, two players at a time. When it’s time to train, the entire team meets up on the pitch. We’re trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy, but are still very diligent about observing the hygiene measures in place to prevent the spread of infection. That continues to be our priority at the moment.”
What does it feel like to be preparing for something without knowing when and how it will take place?
“It’s definitely strange. You train and train and then you have two days off on the weekend. So, it’s like you’re working towards those two days you have off. It’s definitely an unusual feeling. But, in the end it’s like during preseason, even if you have a few friendlies thrown in the mix then. It’s about getting familiar with each other, getting comfortable on the pitch and finding your rhythm. For us, after preseason and the winter break, it’s a bit like we’re preparing to start the season for the third time. This third time will definitely be the most important one of the three. That’s why we need to be well prepared for it.”