Bild: citypress

"It’ll be interesting to see how I feel!"

In this interview, Lukas Klünter talks about his imminent return to the 'cathedral city', old friends, the difficult start to the season and his study plans.

After a difficult time starting out at Hertha BSC, Lukas Klünter earned his place in the squad during the second half of 2018/19 and went into the new season with an equally high degree of self-confidence. He’s got his reward for his good performances, having played the full 90 minutes in the four of the six games so far this season. "In terms of the whole environment, I felt very comfortable in Berlin relatively quickly. It was like I’d been here for ages," recalled Klünter. "Since the middle of last season, I’ve really picked up in my performances and I feel like I’ve really arrived here now. Of course, I would like to develop my game even further at Hertha, and that's only possible through playing games." Before the duel with the 1. FC Cologne on Sunday (29/09/19, 18:00 CEST) the 23-year-old spoke about the imminent return to his old workplace, a reunion with old acquaintances, the difficult start to the season and his study plans.

herthabsc.de: Lukas, you return to 1. FC Cologne for the first time on Sunday, the club where you turned pro. Have you managed to escape the thousands of ticket requests from family and friends?

Klünter: It’s actually not been that bad up to now. But of course, some of them want to come so I'm looking forward to that and above all, I'm curious to see what it will feel like to be an opponent in Cologne.

herthabsc.de: In 2018 you made the move to the 'Effzeh' at the age of 18, and at 19 you made your Bundesliga debut for the 'Domstädter'. What memories do you have of your time in the Rhineland?

Klünter: When I think back to Cologne, I can only recall great things happening there. In terms of the club and the whole environment surrounding the place, I only associate my time there with positive things. Cologne is my home - the 'Effzeh' is a huge part of that! At that time, there was no other option for me, I knew that if I was going to make it as a footballer, I would only be able to do it on 'Effzeh'. I'm looking forward to seeing familiar faces again in Cologne – it’s been a relatively long time since I was there.

herthabsc.de: A lot has changed in the last few years, not just for you personally, but also at 1. FC Cologne. However, there are still some players in the 'Geißböcke' squad that you played with - Anthony Modeste, for example. Is he someone you look forward to seeing again –or is it the opposite?

Klünter: Anthony is a good player. Luckily, if we were both to play, I wouldn’t be the one marking him, but of course I know some guys who are still playing for Cologne. I see a few of them at events every now and then because we are part of the same consulting firm (for example Timo Horn, Simon Terodde and Marcel Risse). I also have regular contact with Jannes Horn and Salih Özcan - but they have not played for Cologne since this season. During my time in Cologne, I generally got along well with all the guys, there was nobody I didn’t like. That’s what made us a great team, and it’s a similar situation here in Berlin - we are a real team.

herthabsc.de: Before you moved to the capital you were studying at the German Sport University in Cologne. In your first interview after signing your contract with Hertha, you said that you would like to get keep up your studies in Berlin as well. Has that worked out? Or do you spend more time in front of a console?

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"If we want to grab a win there, we have to build on last week’s win and be first to every ball. If we do that, I'm sure we'll get the three points."

Lukas Klünter

Klünter: No, thankfully I don’t. In fact, I even enrolled at SpoHo because I wanted to start up my studies again. Honestly though, I think it’s going to be difficult because there’s no proper solution for distance learning. I would like to continue my studies though and I will look to do something new next semester. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do much in the way of studying lately.

herthabsc.de: Against SC Paderborn you managed to grab your first victory of the current Bundesliga season. Javairo Dilrosun said after the match that "hopefully this will kick off our season,” and after the final whistle, the Ostkurve was aptly singing "Now let’s kick on!"

Klünter: The three points against Paderborn have done us good. We didn’t get off to the best start; we all imagined the season going differently than it has so far. Now we hope all the more that this first win has broken the duck, but if we’re being honest with ourselves, we didn’t put in a great performance against Paderborn either, despite the win. Nevertheless, we are relieved to have finally got the first three points of the season. We want to keep riding this wave now, but we will have to prove how much we want to win when we visit Cologne, if we want to stand any chance of getting the victory.

herthabsc.de: Cologne have had a similarly difficult start to you. As a newly promoted side, they began the new season with a lot of hope, but have lost four of their first five league games. They are still waiting for their first home win so they will be eager to change that on Sunday evening. What type of mood are you expecting at the Müngersdorfer Stadion?

Klünter: It will definitely be an intense battle! I expect a very competitive game, especially since Cologne haven’t picked up many points yet, we have to be wary of them. Nevertheless, they haven’t played badly, even in Munich. If we want to grab a win there, we have to build on last week’s win and be first to every ball. If we do that, I'm sure we'll get the three points.

herthabsc.de: As a right-back, you're not primarily responsible for the goals, and you're still waiting for your first competitive goal for the ‘Alte Dame'. But you already know how to score Bundesliga goals in the Cologne stadium. Will you celebrate if you score on Sunday?

Klünter: Probably! Of course if you’re asking me in this setting I would say no I won’t celebrate, but out on the pitch I can’t guarantee anything. I can still remember scoring those two Bundesliga goals for the 'Effzeh'. I couldn’t think straight after the ball went in, so for now, I’m going to say no comment. Either way though, it would be nice if I did actually score.

Teams, 25.09.2019