The start of the season was not easy for Mathew Leckie. The winger has had to take it step-by-step to get back into the starting XI having suffered from a twisted knee during the start of the season. However, the Australian made his comeback against TSG Hoffenheim 1899 and was able to score a goal as well as put in a strong performance and was then awarded with another start a week later against Hannover 96. In an interview with herthabsc.de, Leckie talked about his current form, personal connection with Frankfurt and the upcoming game against Eintracht Frankfurt (08/12/18, 18:30 CET).
herthabsc.de: Mathew, the away victory in Hannover ended a winless streak of six games. How important was this victory before the upcoming games before Christmas?
Leckie: It was definitely an important win, especially as we had to wait a while for three points. We wanted to win, after our recent bad patch of form. It was a well contested game, against an opponent who also wanted three points, so it was very important for us that we won.
herthabsc.de: After conceding ten goals in three games, you were able to keep a clean sheet in Hannover and the team seemed to be very compact defensively. What were the deciding factors for this?
Leckie: Everyone in the league knows we are not easy to play against, if we defend with discipline. We showed this against Hannover and at the start of the season. We all worked for each other again against Hannover and we didn’t give them many chances. We need to keep doing this!
herthabsc.de: After your comeback to the starting XI against Hoffenheim, you were also in the team for the game against Hannover. How have the past two games for you been personally?
Leckie: I played against Hoffenheim without putting any pressure on myself. Prior to the game, I had a good feeling, wanted to give everything for the team and work hard. It was nice that I could score a goal as well. It was an excellent game for the neutral and for us offensive players (grins). Hannover was more of a physical game. We should have probably scored more goals.
herthabsc.de: The start of the season was difficult for you as you picked up an injury after the World Cup. Do you have the feeling that you are gradually returning to your best form.
Leckie: I am simply trying to get back to my best step-by-step. I was very happy that I started both of the last two games and know that I need to use these chances. I need to show everyone what I can do in order to cement my place in the team. I need to focus on each game as they come and try and play the best I can.
herthabsc.de: You have lived in Frankfurt before when you played for Eintracht’s local rivals FSV for two years. Do you still have a connection with Frankfurt?
Leckie: I know the airport very well as I always travel from Frankfurt to join up with the national team (smirks). My closest friends from that team play elsewhere now so there is no real connection with Frankfurt. However, I enjoy thinking about my time back there, it’s a great city.
herthabsc.de: You were promoted with Ingolstadt alongside Frankfurt’s Danny da Costa. Are you still in contact with him or the team?
Leckie: We have spoken in recent weeks but we are both still in a WhatsApp group where all our ex-teammates from Ingolstadt are in. However, it would be nice to see each other on the pitch on Saturday. It is always good to come up against ex-teammates (laughs).
herthabsc.de: You will play against Eintracht Frankfurt at the Olympiastadion this weekend. What kind of game are you expecting and how do you think you can get the three points?
Leckie: Err...I think that Pál Dárdai can answer this question better than me (laughs). We have to prepare well, as we expect a very tough opponent. Eintracht have improved hugely since my time in Frankfurt. They have a very stable team that is competing with the best teams in the league. I can definitely say that they will want a good response after losing to Wolfsburg. Their offensive trio is especially strong and we will need to be a team against them. It is equally important to play our own game. We want to put in a good performance in front of our fans and hope they get behind us so we can put the opponents under pressure early on. Then three points is possible. We want to win!