There is snow as far as the eye can see, but Rune Jarstein is more used to that than most in Berlin thanks to his Norwegian roots. Jarstein’s kids are certainly enjoying the snow this week, although the family man has more mixed feelings as he surveys the otherwise green pitches. “I like winter and the snow too, but not when I have to play football,” says the shot-stopper with a grin. The weather hasn’t stopped the squad from cracking on with preparations for this Saturday’s trip to face VfB Stuttgart (13/02/21, 15:30 CET). Jarstein and co. want to build on their good performances in recent weeks, but this time they want to change one thing in particular – the result. “We all know that we can only get out of this situation as a team, because you can only get the points that we need by working as a group. In training and in matches I see us as a team, which makes me optimistic,” said the 36-year-old. Jarstein speaks to herthabsc.de to discuss the mood in the dressing room, keeping warm at Schenckendorffplatz and upcoming opponents VfB Stuttgart.
herthabsc.de: Rune, there’s been plenty of snow in Berlin this week and the cold weather shows no sign of relenting over the days to come. Are you enjoying the wintry conditions?
Jarstein: I’m happy for my kids because they love the snow and can have a blast playing outdoors. That’s really good for them at this time. I actually like winter and the snow too, but not when I have to play football (laughs). Training is pretty unpleasant right now...
Training in the snow!
Training am 09.02.21
herthabsc.de: You’re training hard nonetheless. How are things shaping up on the training ground?
Jarstein: We started the week by training indoors and then on Tuesday we played in the snow, which was a lot of fun (grins). It was a bit slippery and us goalkeepers have wet gloves all the time. I have a hot water bottle with me that I’m always passing from hand to hand, but obviously we have to stay focused and concentrate on preparing well. The weather is what it is and all the other teams have to deal with it too. It hasn’t affected our mood or our professionalism in training.
herthabsc.de: It’s been a few days now since the narrow defeat to Bayern Munich. There were no hot water bottles in sight when you were stopping Robert Lewandowski’s penalty. Have you been replaying that incident in your head?
Jarstein: Not really. After the foul I was just completely focused on the penalty. I decided to dive to my right before Lewandowski even started his run-up. I always have a look before the games to see which way the opposition taker usually hits his penalties, but Lewandowski switches things up so much that you can’t really guess. But like I said after the match, it’s obviously a great feeling to save a penalty, especially against the world’s best striker. But it would have been nice to have ended with some points.
herthabsc.de: It would have been thoroughly deserved after that performance. Can you still take some important lessons from the match?
Jarstein: For sure! We had already put in a good performance against Eintracht and against Bayern it was a little bit better again. Unfortunately we didn’t get any points but we had fun and played with joy. Even more importantly, we looked like a team that fought with passion and gave it everything. If we keep that up then the results that we are all hoping for will soon follow. We have to keep believing in ourselves.
"We’ve had plenty of discussions in recent weeks and we all know that we can only get out of this situation as a team."
herthabsc.de: How important is it not to lose that belief in a tough situation like this?
Jarstein: I’m not worried about that. Quite the opposite, I have noticed that the togetherness is still there in the dressing room. Even when we have lost, the atmosphere is still good. We’ve had plenty of discussions in recent weeks and we all know that we can only get out of this situation as a team. We can only get the points that we need by working as a group. In training and in matches I see us as a team, which makes me optimistic.
herthabsc.de: It’s the sign of a good squad when players prioritise the team ahead of their own individual wants and needs. Those concerns often involve playing time. You have had to remain especially patient this season since there is only room for one goalkeeper on the pitch...
Jarstein: (grins) I always want to play, like every professional, but the team is obviously the number one priority. So it was important to support and push one another as a goalkeeping team, and that remains the case. We have a good bunch of lads who do exactly that. For me, I already knew back in summer that I just had to train well and stay positive. That worked out really well. I simply wanted to be ready in case I got the chance. When the chances came in Frankfurt and then against Bayern, I was ready. It’s nice to be back playing because I missed standing between those posts in the Bundesliga.
herthabsc.de: It’s looking likely that you’ll get another chance on Saturday (13/02/21, 15:30 CET) against VfB Stuttgart. The newly-promoted side have shown plenty of quality so far this season, though they were beaten comfortably in Leverkusen last time out. What do you expect of them this weekend?
Jarstein: Stuttgart are a strong opponent with lots of good individual players who want to play football and show how good they are. But we have quality too. It’s important that we take the game head on, keep going and always give 100%. Then we can take something from the game. That’s the plan.