The new season is approaching! The 2020/21 season will kick off in just over a week as RB Leipzig take on Nürnberg in the DFL-Pokal, when new arrival Benjamin Henrichs could make his debut.
We sat down with the defender to discuss his start at the club, his expectations for the new season, and his desire to play.
Benny, you’ve been in Leipzig for a good six weeks now – what are your impressions of the city and the team? You seem to be getting on well with Hee-chan Hwang!
I’m feeling very good! I know a lot of my teammates already from playing in the Bundesliga, like Kevin Kampl for example. Hee-chan Hwang and I actually live in the same hotel. Before he got his car, I gave him lifts to training which worked perfectly. I’m also getting on really well with the French players here. The overall team spirit is great which has made my arrival here easy.
I haven’t been able to see that much of Leipzig itself unfortunately as we’ve been a bit distracted by the Champions League finals in Lisbon. I’ve been out to Cospudener Lake as it was recommended to me, and it’s beautiful. Apart from that, I’ve been through the city centre a few times. The city is something completely new to me, as all the old buildings are quite different to Leverkusen, where I lived before.
One more week and then it’s time to get going again! How much are you looking forward to being back out on the pitch? During the Champions League finals in Lisbon, you had to take on the role of spectator...
I’m really looking forward! I haven’t played competitive football since February and as a footballer, it’s not easy to go for so long without a game. My anticipation for the first game against Mainz is emormous, especially because we’ll be playing in front of fans again. That’s an extra bit of motivation for me.
Your last game in the cup was a long time ago – Bayer Leverkusen’s semi final defeat to Bayern München in April 2018 to be exact. What makes the competition so special?
It only takes five wins to get to the final, and that is very exciting. Friends of mine who I played with as a youth player have the opportunity to play Bayern in the first round, even though they play in the fifth tier. That’s what makes the cup so special – everyone has the chance to play anyone and show what they can do.
In your last Instagram post, you wrote: “Ready for a big season!” What exactly are your goals for this season?
I want to play as many games as possible. I want to show that I have not lost any of my quality and that I’m the same Benny as I was formerly in the Bundesliga, with a more peaceful personal life than before. I also want to improve in all areas and get used to our coach Julian Nagelsmann’s system. My personal goal is to improve my technique more, provide more assists, and score more goals. I want to let my game flow naturally, but we’ll see at the end of the season whether it was a "big season" or whether I was just making empty promises.