Bremen – Ole Werner allows his competitors to suffer, during the preparations he adds heavy running units. In Austria it will be no different than on Thursday. Anthony Jung is right in the middle of it, he is now in his sophomore at Werder Bremen and tells us in an interview which training camps he had to suffer the most.
Which party was actually better? Last year’s celebration of the championship with Brondby or a break in the promotion at Werder?
Despite the pandemic, Bröndby was also in a state of emergency, but here in Bremen the trip to the Osterdeich turned out to be its crowning achievement.
So you haven’t experienced anything like this before?
Absolutely not. In the stadium and on the pitch you could always tell how strong the fans were, but having it all back in shape was impressive.
Werder Bremen pro Anthony Jung: With your wife and child at home “you are a little calmer”
How long did you last at the festivities?
At first, you are a bit in a trance as a lot of you fall and relief appears. You feel like you are in an in-between zone. The lights went out at one point, just as it was getting light outside.
Are you generally a party beast?
Let me put it this way: if there’s something to celebrate, I’m glad to be there. But now I am 30 years old, I have a wife and a child at home. It also makes you a little calmer (laughs).
But on a recent trip to Majorca, it wasn’t just tea, was it?
You can assume that.
As you probably know, Bremen is right three times – so after the championship and promotion, the next event is coming next summer. What can we expect?
Hopefully we’ll stay on our feet, that’s of course our priority. As a climber, this is certainly a legitimate goal.
Anthony Jung from Werder Bremen in an interview on the preparations: “There was no football far and wide in Denmark”
Now it is necessary to lay the groundwork for it. Following a friendly defeat to Oldenburg, head coach Ole Werner announced that things are now “getting into a hotter phase” and that the team will “get a little more in the athletics zone.” Sounds like tiresome days and a bit of pain in Austria …
You know it and prepare yourself mentally for it. This is also not the first preparation I’m doing. If you have to be able to do one thing in this league is run and walk. You just have to put these basics on the pitch. Of course, these are the things a soccer player usually doesn’t like to practice in setup – especially if it’s just clumsy runs or drills without the ball. But here in Werder, we try to keep the ball at our feet as often as possible. I’ve seen worse.
What do you mean?
I had clean running sessions in Denmark. For the first two weeks, we spent every other day in the woods wearing running shoes. There was no ball far and wide.
Was it typical of Denmark or is the preparation there different from that in Germany?
No, not that. When I came to Brondby, I trained under the tutelage of German coach Alexander Zorniger, whom I knew from my time in Leipzig. Each trainer has their own methods, but from the mental point of view it was of course especially difficult.
Are you generally someone looking forward to training camps? Or maybe you belong to the faction of those who do not enjoy hard everyday work?
Such a training camp is simply part of it, and it must be. This is necessary to integrate new players and strengthen the team structure. It always depends on how long you’ve been doing something like this. At one point, the cabin fever starts, but that’s part of it too.
Werder Bremen pro Anthony Jung: “It’s an honor for me to be able to play in the Bundesliga”
Your memories of Zell am Ziller may not be the best. Shortly after moving to Werder last summer, you only managed to complete a few sessions with the team there because of a flu infection. Do you especially think now that everything works as perfectly as possible this time?
That would probably be exactly what not to do. It was very annoying at the time because as a new player you want to use the training camp and the sparring. Well, maybe I’ll check again that in the morning I have another or two lemons (laughs).
A year ago you said in an interview with DeichStube that Bundesliga is another big dream for you. What is it like when dreams come true?
It’s crazy when you look at it now. It’s an honor for me to be able to play there. I’ve already taken a step or two back in my career, but after that I’ve always been able to move forward. I have worked hard for this opportunity and am grateful to have it.
Which step back do you mean? Loan from RB Leipzig to FC Ingolstadt? Your time later in Denmark? Or a change from champion Bröndby to second-tier Werder Bremen?
I would not consider the season of the Bundesliga from Ingolstadt a step back, it was the right decision then – even if things did not turn out perfectly for me. But after this year, of course, we were hoping for more. To this day, I clearly remember my advisor calling and the offer came from Copenhagen. I said right away that I was not going to Denmark after all.
After all, you agreed anyway …
For me, it’s all about playing – and then I took that step, which for me was definitely a step backwards. There, every year, I hoped that a good season would recommend me to new tasks that, in retrospect, took four long years. Consequently, the move from Brondby to Werder was again a clear step forward.
Anthony Jung on his way to the Weser: “Werder Bremen was exactly the right decision for me”
Things didn’t go well in Bremen at the beginning. The team was lower in the table, and there were also events related to coach Markus Anfang. Was there a moment when you doubted if everything was alright?
The decision seemed right from the very beginning. Of course it’s easier to say in retrospect, but the climbing just confirms my feelings. Werder, with its history, the soccer idea and the role of an ambitious second tier team, was the right decision for me.
What are your memories of the 2016/2017 Bundesliga season against Ingolstadt, when you played 16 matches?
We felt that we were entering every game as the weaker ones, it was a struggle for survival. It also took a long time before I was allowed to play and then I didn’t play convincingly right away. It was difficult.
It looks completely different now. You’re a regular gamer from now on, so you should have completely different expectations of yourself, right?
Absolutely. I could have played my part in finding our way up. My aspirations have always been very high, now I want to show that I can stay there and continue to help the team.
At Werder, after the departure of Ömer Toprak, you suddenly become the second-oldest professional in the squad behind Christian Groß. What is that doing with you?
I always say: you are as old as you feel. This also applies to football.
Werder Bremen wants to sign the competition on the flanks – Anthony Jung: “This is business”
So how old are you?
I feel fit and good, and I don’t know if I’m really into 30 when it comes to feelings. Actually, I train almost all the time, luckily for almost all my career I haven’t had any injuries. A few shifts in old age are always good to keep your gears on. But I do not think about the fact that at the end of the year I will be 31 and what will come at last.
Now Ole Werner or sporting director Frank Baumann have announced that something should definitely happen when it comes to the staff on both flanks. How worried are you that you are suddenly sitting on the bench and not being left all the time?
It’s a deal. In the Bundesliga it must be the case that each position has roughly the same number of doubles. Therefore, these are perfectly normal thoughts for the club.
Conversely, were there any offers you had to think about? After all, players who play on the left with remarkable performances are popular not only in Germany.
It is still quiet at the moment. But I didn’t even bother listening to anything else. I feel good, I could celebrate a great success here and now I can play in the Bundesliga.
Change of subject: Are Amos Pieper and Niklas Stark really good singers?
We will see.
Anthony Jung sang “Dieser Weg” by Xavier Naidoo for his Werder Bremen debut
So the official debut will take place only at the training camp?
Exactly, very classic. I also had to sing there last year.
What was intoned?
I chose This Way by Xavier Naidoo because looking at the season I thought it might be difficult and difficult. In retrospect, this is true. Unfortunately I didn’t have a mic then and since I can’t raise my voice that high it was a bit quiet. But in the end there was applause, but in such performances, the will counts – and it was.
You already mentioned it: last year, you became a father for the first time. Now the winter training camp has been canceled due to the pandemic, is this the first time you have broken up with your son for so long?
That’s a good question and actually correct.
Could this be a much greater challenge in Austria than exercise?
It should work (laughs). Just before the cancellation of the winter training camp, there was already a farewell at home. At that time, I was pretty good at it. Of course, he’s more alive now, more awake, and he’s starting to wave a little. Then it can get a little more difficult. But I can do it. (mbu)