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?