Bad Saarow – They are two of the more experienced members of the team, two of the old hands. They've many a pre-season behind them, seen many a training camp. Perhaps that's why they appear so calm - they've seen it all before. The Hertha duo of Vedad Ibisevic and Salomon Kalou get on very well off the pitch, as well as on it. The two attackers are also used to the media and they spoke to us about the upcoming season, the squad and their careers. We've summarised their thoughts.
Kalou und Ibisevic on…
… the training camp:
Kalou: This is my 14th season as a professional. I feel fresh, I had a good holiday and I'm highly motivated. We were given a training plan to take with us on holiday. I did a lot of water jogging and that helped my muscles to relax. At the moment I'm sleeping a lot. After morning training I have something to eat and then take a nap for about two hours. Then I sleep for about six hours at night, so in total eight hours a day. This week has been really challenging. I thought last year was hard, but this year is even tougher. It feels as if we've been here for three weeks (laughs). Henrik Kuchno will have a few exercises for us in Berlin, but it should get easier for us after the training camp.
Ibisevic: The training camp has gone well. Almost everyone has taken part in everything. It's a shame that Jordan got injured and we're all hoping that he comes back quickly. The intensity has been similar to in previous years, perhaps the last conditioning session was harder. But that's good because we'll need it this season. I'm looking forward to a day off and then being back on our training pitches, as then we're do more ball work (laughs).
… the upcoming season in three competitions:
Ibisevic: I think it'll be a difficult season. In Stuttgart I noticed how hard fighting on three fronts can be. You need to find a rhythm. But we need to go into it with a positive attitude. It was our aim to play in Europe and we want to enjoy it. Only we can determine what we make of it. We have little experience of playing in Europe and need to quickly learn how to deal with it. It's up to the whole club, not just the players who have played in Europe before. I will try, with my experience, to give everything I can.
Kalou: The daily routine is different when you play in the Europa League. You have little time between matches so less time to recover. I've missed playing in Europe, but now I've reached this goal with Hertha.
… the squad:
Ibisevic: We're looking good with the squad we have. Now it's about integrating the new lads that we have. Of course, they will need a bit of settling in time, but they're all boys who are used to living in Germany. I don't think it's an easy job putting a squad together. But anyone who can help the team is an asset because, as I said, it's a long season.
Kalou: This year we have a few new players. Nearly every position has two options. Mathew Leckie can play in different positions. Davie Selke in attack. I'm motivated by the competition in the squad. I think it only makes you better.
... the fight for a first team place:
Ibisevic: In Salomon, Davie, Julian and myself we have four number nines in our squad. But ultimately it will come down to the system. It could be that two or more of us are on the pitch at the same time. I compare it to having two centre-backs. When they don't play well together, then the overall understanding isn't good. I think it's exactly the same in attack. It's a question of chemistry.
Kalou: We have lots of different players in the squad. Vedad and I have a good understanding and we've improved together. I enjoy playing with him. I think we can use different systems. I can also play in the number 10 position. I've done that lots of times before.
… Davie Selke:
Ibisevic: Davie Selke needs to learn (laughs). When I was a young player, I watched the older players. I wasn't always happy, but I kept my head down and waited for my chance. Sometimes you have to accept the nature of your job. But a young player also has to contribute with goals. I've come across a lot of players in my career who were talented, but didn't want to learn and hence didn't make the most of their talent. I'll do everything I can to ensure Davie comes good and feels at home here. We'll all try and do that. He's a huge talent and has a lot of potential.
… their careers:
Kalou: I feel good as one of the older players as I have a lot of responsibility. We need to set a good example. We try to help the younger players. It's always good to have the right mix of young talents and experienced players. Everyone is different and every season is different. This season we're in three competitions so the younger players will definitely get their chance.
Ibisevic: I'm very happy with my career up to now. It wasn't always easy, but I'm not someone who looks back or complains. I'm happy and want to enjoy the years ahead of me because sometimes I've forgotten to do that in the past. That was definitely a ripening process. You also need to one or two experiences in life, in order to put things into perspective. Time is precious for a footballer because you never know when it'll all be over.