It hasn’t been easy for Mathew Leckie so far this season. The winger missed the first few games of the season due to injury, but moved closer and closer back towards the team. Towards the end of last year, he then suffered a muscle injury, and then missed even more games due to the Asian Cup. However, Lecks kept his head up and got some minutes under his belt against Freiburg and BVB, with more set to follow.
Herthabsc.de: Mathew, you were playing video games with friends and streaming in your latest Instagram story. Would you describe yourself as a gamer and, if so, what are your favourite games?
Leckie: (laughs) Yeah I play on the console now and again, mostly online in a group or with friends. My old teammate Anthony Jung started his own stream and so I thought that I’d try to help him build his community a bit. I like to play shooter games the most, FIFA is always good too, but I’m not the biggest fan of the latest one.
Herthabsc.de: Away from the console, you’ve overcome your injuries and you got your first competitive minutes of 2019 for Hertha in the last two home games. You also got some minutes in the friendly against Kiel. How are you feeling at the moment?
Leckie: I’m feeling good. It’s important for me that I’ve had three or four weeks training without problems. The 70 minutes that I played against Kiel were very important after that length of time out. I’m obviously not back to being 100%, but it will come with time. I’m just hoping to get minutes and to help the team with some good performances. It’s important to get a lot of match practice if possible and competitive fitness – there’s a big difference between training and a game.
Herthabsc.de: You managed this well in the Hinrunde. You came back strongly from injury and put in some important performances in Hertha colours. What makes you optimistic that it’ll happen this time, too?
Leckie: I’ll work hard in training to come back and play with a good feeling and confidence in the games. Having laid this foundation, I can always help the team by putting the opponents on the defensive with my speed. It worked well last time against Hoffenheim, I got into the game and scored. I will be patient and keep working hard.
Herthabsc.de: Several of your teammates are returning to the club after their international matches this week. You, on the other hand, have said that you’ll only play for Australia again from next season. How important is it for you to stay here in Berlin for a long time?
Leckie: The coach wants to give some players a break after the Asian Cup, and I think that’s a good thing. The trip to Australia is obviously exhausting for your body, but thankfully we’re going to be playing more friendlies in Europe, so I’ll have similar travel times to my teammates. It was definitely good to be here and concentrate on working with my teammates, especially since it’s the first time I stayed here. Of course it was strange with only a handful of players from the starting XI, but we worked well. I also got some important match practice in the friendly and had three days off – I haven’t had that for a while (smiles).
Herthabsc.de: After the days off, you have the final sprint. There are eight games left – what do you think about where Hertha stand?
Leckie: We’re currently mid-table and we need some good results if we want to climb up again. As a team, we always go into the game with the aim of getting three points. The coaching team also encourages us not to settle for one point before the game. If we want to maintain our outside chance of Europe, we have to win four or five of the remaining games. Of course this is a big challenge, but there are still games left where we can and have to get good results. The chance is still there!
Herthabsc.de: You face RB Leipzig away on Saturday. What kind of game are you expecting and how can you make it a successful one?
Leckie: It’ll be a difficult game there. Leipzig have a good, steady team and play very aggressively and press highly, especially at home. We have to be wide awake right from the start to get anything there. It will also be very important to use our first one or two touches after we win the ball back well – we’ll definitely get room there as they press so high. Last season we proved that we can deliver there with our away win. It won’t be easy, but it’s definitely possible for us to get three points!