The sight of Vedad Ibišević and his teammates driving around in a golf cart after training has been anything but a rare sight recently. The atmosphere in and around the team has been excellent recently and according to Ibišević, it does not matter that he hasn’t played since the beginning of February. In an interview with Herthabsc.de, the ‘Vedator’ speaks about the upcoming game against Mainz 05, the U19’s adventure in the UEFA Youth League and about Bosnian hip-hop.
Herthabsc.de: Would you say you’re a balanced person?
Ibišević: I would say so, yes.
Herthabsc.de: You were suspended for the game against FC Bayern last week and you watched it from your sofa. Do you stay relaxed or are you still nervous when watching the game at home?
Ibišević: I am very emotional. Fortunately on Saturday, there was no real reason to be upset. It was a good game. It was clearly unlucky that we lost and that annoyed me a bit – but all in all it was good.
Herthabsc.de: You will be in the squad again for the game against Mainz 05 this weekend. You are facing a big game as they sit just behind you in the table.
Ibišević: In the last year, games against Mainz 05 have never been easy and it will be the same this Saturday. Mainz beat Schalke 04 last week and so will be confident coming to Berlin. I am expecting a difficult game that will definitely work us hard. However, we need a win!
Herthabsc.de: At the beginning of the second half of the season, you played upfront with Davie Selke in a two pronged attack, but recently Salomon Kalou has taken your position. How well does the system work with two players upfront?
Ibišević: We are getting better each week with two strikers on the pitch. It is not only myself and Davie who are working well but also Sala and Davie. That is important for us; because it means that we are more flexible in games and have several options to change to during games. We have definitely taken a step forward in that department in recent weeks.
Herthabsc.de: Just over a week ago, Hertha U19s took a big step forward, with Michael Hartmann's side beating Paris-Saint Germain in the UEFA Youth League. Like a lot of the Hertha players, you watched the game live from the stadium.
Ibišević: It was really good. At the start of my career I also played for PSG for a little bit. It's good to see how the team has developed since then. The fact that our U19s won coming from behind is a superb mental victory and I enjoyed it a lot!
Herthabsc.de: The players are travelling to Barcelona in the middle of March for the last 16. What do games like that mean for young players?
Ibišević: Above all, I hope that the players enjoy the experience. I think that they'll win it! But they should keep their feet on the ground. A few of the boys train with us from time to time. It'd also be a problem if they pushed themselves too much. They're not playing against the 'real' FC Barcelona just yet (laughs).
herthabsc.de: Even though you haven’t played since the beginning of February, you’ve still been enjoying team training sessions. But recently you’ve been jumping on the “Freddy Mobile” rather than jogging between the changing room and the pitch.
Ibišević: At the beginning, our physio Freddy [Syna] used to get a little bit stressed, but we carried on doing it anyway and he got even more annoyed and eventually he just started to let us use it. But now that he doesn’t mind us using it, it isn’t as fun - he needs to start worrying about it again (laughs)!
herthabsc.de: In order to get you going before a game, you like to listen to music, like a lot of other players do. Which songs can you not go without on game day?
Ibišević: A range of songs, even sometimes Bosnian folk music. (laughs) But most of the time, Bosnian Hip-Hop. Frenkie is my favourite Bosnian rapper and I also know him personally. He has some cool songs that I like to listen to and play before a match. Apart from that, I listen to more mainstream Hip-Hop like the other guys do, but it gets boring sometimes. People need to listen to the Bosnian stuff(laughs).