Berlin - It’s been a whirlwind of a week in Berlin so far. Partly because of Storm Sabine, which has been circling around the capital since the start of the week, but also because of Jürgen Klinsmann’s shock resignation as head coach. Matheus Cunha, however, has been watching both from afar. This is because the winter signing has been away with the Brazilian U23 national team over the past few weeks, securing their qualification for this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. The former RB Leipzig attacker played a key role in their success in the qualifiers, scoring five goals in total. However, attentions now turn towards the rest of the Bundesliga season for the 20-year-old, as he touched down in Berlin on early Wednesday afternoon to begin his career in the capital.
It was a busy day for Hertha’s new #26, as he travelled straight to the training ground to meet his new teammates, and get used to his surroundings. herthabsc.de wasted no time in sitting him down for his first ever interview at his new club, asking the Brazilian about his short-term goals, his favourite position and his first impressions of his new home.herthabsc.de: Matheus, you’ve spent a lot of time sitting on planes over the past few days. Could you feel the effects of the storm? Cunha: That’s true (grins). I played my last game with the U23s on Monday night. I then flew from Colombia to Rio de Janeiro to say hello to my wife’s family. We stayed there for ten hours or so, but I spent most of the time sleeping (laughs). I then flew over to Frankfurt, before finally making it over to Berlin. I heard about the storm but luckily my flight was very quiet.
herthabsc.de: Despite what the table says, you made the decision to join the Blue-Whites over the winter break. Tell us, why is Hertha BSC the right club for you?
Cunha: It’s a club with a lot of history! The conversations I had with the club gave me a really good feeling, and I’m convinced by the project and what they want to achieve. It was an easy decision after that; I wanted to play for Hertha. I also really like Berlin as a city!
herthabsc.de: ...a place where some of your fellow countrymen have already left their mark. Gilberto, Alex Alves and Marcelinho have all previously served the club for many years, scoring some memorable goals.
Cunha: Yes, I know that a few Brazilians have played here in the past. I always really liked Marcelinho as a player. We come from the same area, and now we’ve both played for two of the same clubs in FC Coritiba and Hertha BSC! I hope that I will score as many amazing goals as he did (grins). The most important thing is that we are successful as a team; the team always comes first. However, at the end of the day I am a striker and I would like to score as many goals as I can to help the team.
herthabsc.de: A striker that can also play as a false nine, or on the wing. Which position do you feel most comfortable in?
Cunha: I don’t really have a favourite position; I just play where the team needs me to, and where I can be the most valuable. I think in German you call it ‘flexibel’? (smiles)
herthabsc.de: From Curitiba in Brazil, to Sion in Switzerland, and finally from Leipzig to Berlin. You’re already very well travelled for such a young age. To what extent has that helped shape your personality?
Cunha: I moved to Sion as a 17-year-old, before then moving to Leipzig a year and a half later. As a result, I grew up really quickly and gained lots of useful experiences. Whenever I move to a new area, I look into the culture there and pay attention to how people live so that I can adapt myself to it. In my opinion it’s really important to learn the language quickly, and to master it, so I’m working really hard on my German at the moment. I also learnt French when I was in Sion. Communication is important, both on and off the pitch.
herthabsc.de: Berlin is now your new home. What do you already know about the city?
Cunha: I love Berlin; I’ve come here a lot in the past whenever I’ve had a few days off. There are lots of good restaurants and Brazilian supermarkets here. I really like that (smiles). I’m really happy that I’m able to live here now. I also love the Olympiastadion; I scored my first ever Bundesliga goal here. Hopefully that will be the first of many!