Professionals | 14/04/2019

FC Keeper

Timo Horn: We want it more than anything

On Monday evening, 1. FC Köln continue the promotion battle against Hamburger SV. Timo Horn speaks his mind on about the upcoming clash, waking up at the right time, his personal goals - and sausages.

Of course, we as players understand how much the fans are looking forward to the game against HSV. So many people have asked me for tickets, and I would have loved to have made that happen - but it’s just not possible. The fact that the city and the fans are so hyped up for the game gives us a big push. We’ve managed to put ourselves in a good place. This game can be decisive, in order to make everything clear as soon as possible.

It will be an emotional game. We know that Hamburg are in the middle of a tough phase. We’ve managed, apart from the Duisburg game, to take the maximum points from six of the last seven games. On top of that, we’re playing at home where we’ve put in some very good performances recently. We know that we can take a big step forward in the promotion battle. To do that in a top of the table clash in front of our own fans would be huge for us.

We also want to win the game on Monday for our coach. We, as a team, learned about his father’s heart attack directly after the game and, out of respect, decided against giving interviews. It was a shock and lots of players expressed their sympathy for the coach with phone calls and messages. We’re trying, despite the bad news, to prepare for the game on Monday to the best of our ability. We have huge respect for the coach, after he took charge of training again on Friday.

Lately in the public, it’s really only been about when we’ll get promoted. It would be a lie if I said that, as a player, it wasn’t being taken on board. Obviously that plays through - even subconsciously - to the team. After the 4:2 lead in Duisburg, we felt safe. The 4:4 draw felt like a defeat.

Against the team that’s bottom of the table, you never want to concede four goals. I was a little down after the game, like every one of us.   We had the three points in our hands. For their fourth goal, the Duisburg free-kick went in on my side. As a goalkeeper, you know immediately what you’ve done wrong. I made the step to the side the wall was at, the the shot caught me cold. I didn’t think that he would have gone for the goalkeeper’s corners. It looked stupid, I know that. Such situations make goalkeepers even more aware. Therefore, the game in Duisburg was perhaps a dampener at the right time. For all of us, in order to be fully at it on Monday. Also mentally.

As we started the new year badly, there was a quick wake up call. Armin Veh internally and openly told us as a team, what it’s about. I believe it is important, now and again, that the managing director or coach give out a signal. Especially when it isn’t going well. They’re looking out for us and we, as players, take what they say to heart.

Armin Veh made it clear to us players what matters in the previous meeting. You take that with you, work with it and try to be better. I believe that he did it knowingly at that time. And I believe that every one of us went out of the meeting and knew what matters – and also, what the game carries for the club.

We spoke a lot with the coaching staff, in order to see how we could come back into a good run of form. Armin Veh also speaks a lot with the team, just like the coach. We players are also discussing things a lot with one another. As a member of the team council, I see it as my task to talk a lot with the players in such moments in order to listen in and know what isn’t working at the time. It’s important that you keep communicating at such times, so that you can find a way back to success together. I believe we did that quite well. We put a finger on it straight away and afterwards, it went a lot better.

In pre-season, it was clear to me that we wanted to play football differently as to the years before. There, we concentrated a lot on the defensive side of things, so that we didn’t concede much and perhaps to score a goal going forward. Now we’re doing things a lot earlier, playing with a lot more risk in the build-up, which has also changed my game. We’ve conceded more goals, but we create many more dangerous situations and chances going forward. If it goes well, then we have wins like against Dresden, Bielefeld or Kiel. If you don’t defend so well, then come the results like against Paderborn and Duisburg.

I welcome how we’re now playing football. I’m in the build-up a lot more and I open the game up from the back. Before, we were trying to take the risk out of things and I played 30 long balls a game. At the highest level, goalkeepers are required to play our from the back, show calmness at the back and always be available. To train that and use it in the game is another development step for me. I find that, above all, I’ve bettered myself as a footballer this season.

In the end, it’s all about success about a team and earning the points. Obviously, I really like to keep a clean sheet. We did that three times in the last few weeks. We defended well in those games. I like it best, when we take our chances and keep a clean sheet.

That Andy Menger promises us sausages when we keep a clean sheet, is a nice gesture. It’s well received by the boys. There, we’re no different from a Sunday league team. We are a team, that win and lose together. If you manage to successfully keep a clean sheet and are rewarded with a small bonus, then that’s good for the mood. You sit together with the sausages and talk about the game again. I believe, that the sausages from Heidenheim are still outstanding. I hope that we’ll play ourselves to some more against Hamburg. We’ve now got the fire alarm under control.

The fans are already working out when we can get promoted. As a player, you obviously think about that as well. In the last few games, we’ve put ourselves in a position that with one or two wins, we can finish things early. Now, against a fellow promotion candidate, we have a huge opportunity to finally do it – and then put the icing on the cake in the coming games. We know that. And we don’t want to get carried away.

I knowingly chose the way in 2. Bundesliga and wanted to go this way, despite the adversity. I want to make good on last season. I long for the moment when it’s done. We all want the sense of achievement. 

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