After playing the match against Sanfrecce Hiroshima-Team Manager Finke  

Comment from Team Manager Volker Finke after playing in the J. League Seventeenth Sec. against Sanfrecce Hiroshima
In the end, we were able to win the match and I do not think it is necessary for us to apologies for this result. However, in reality, I thought that our opponent did better for over 60 minutes. We managed to get back into the game in the last 30 minutes and came from behind to win. However, it was true that our opponent did better than us for the first 60 minutes of the game.
We were able to come from behind and win the game by showing our team spirit and strong will. I think this was a very important experience for the team. However, at the same time, it has been proven today that not having a few particular players could have an impact on us.
Today’s match marked the 17th match. We have finished half of the 34 matches this season now. I think we are doing well with good results. Considering how this team was at the end of last season, I think that the team has developed in a very good way. We did not acquire any well-established players from other clubs for this season. As this is the case, achieving 34 points with our victories at the end of the 17th sec makes me feel extremely delighted. In order for us to continue our work, it was important to achieve good results. We will have our players back soon who have been away due to several reasons such as injuries. We can make a further step forward in terms of the development of the team.
As I can expect to be asked about Takahara from you (lol), I would like to talk about him now.
He assisted Edmilson when he scored a goal. I think it was a wonderful play. To me, a forward player who can provide good assistance is as important as a forward player who can score goals.
In regards to our attackers, I would like to mention about Genki Haraguchi. I think his performance is improving. He went through a period when he was stuck in a rut. I guess there was a big expectation from outside as well. However, his recent performance is getting better and better. This brings me such a big pleasure.

(Why did Keisuke Tsuboi not play in the match even though he was initially one of the starting line-up members?)
He told us that he felt pain while he was doing warming up exercises. For this reason, we had to change our members. Doctors are checking his condition at the moment. Apparently he felt pain running through his back muscles to his hip muscles. He came to us and told us directly that he did not think he would be able to play well under such a condition. For this reason, we replaced him.
Though I cannot comment on his symptoms in detail, because of such pain, he was not able to play in the match. For this reason, I put Yoshiya Nishizawa in the right side back position and moved Nobuhisa Yamada who was originally placed in the right side back position to center back.

(When you changed players and the system, it did not work well for about 15 minutes or so. What did you think worked well to overcome the troubled situation?)
I have a bit different opinion. As for Ponte, he was away for about two months due to his injury. Even though he played in the match, to be honest with you, he was breathing very roughly. For this reason, I though it was necessary for him to be replaced. However, when he started to play in the second half of the game, he was able to play well again since he got his second wind.
Nonetheless, it is necessary for him to practice for another two or three or even four weeks by participating in team training so that he can get back into good condition again. He needs to improve his condition again.
I made Ponte play from deeper positions compared to the first half of the game so that he could get the ball more often. I think it worked really well.
There were four attackers in the front line as a result. There might have been too many attackers to be on the pitch at the same time. However, considering our score as well as our opponent’s and our performance during the game, it was necessary for us to take such a risk. As a result, we were able to get a good result in the end.
In reality, I think Hiroshima had better stamina and played really well by passing the ball around over sixty minutes. I told the team manager of Hiroshima earlier that they were playing much better than us over the first sixty minutes. I truly think that this was the case.
However, towards the end of the game, they started to lose their stamina. At the same time, we were able to pass the ball well among ourselves. For this reason, it was possible for us to come from behind to win the game in the last 30 minutes.
I also think it is necessary for us to express our appreciation to our spectators. They cheered for us so much when our team was going through a very difficult situation.

(Could you comment on Edmilson briefly?)
I do not think it is necessary for me to reiterate how content I am with him. I think he has been playing really well during this season. I saw several matches the team played last season. I thought he was playing very differently back then.
During this season, he has made improvements in his play. I think he has been doing a valuable job for the team. His defense is very firm. He also tries to get the ball aggressively. I think he now can score more goals by playing such good defense. I checked his goal average in the J. League during not only this season but over the past several years. It turned out that he has being doing an excellent job over the past few years. Under usual circumstances, he has scored one goal for every two matches, which is such a high goal scoring average.
If my memory serves me right, I think he has scored about 10 goals during this season over the past 17 matches we had. If he can continue to play like he has, I am sure he can score many goals and have a high goal scoring average during this season as well.
Last but not least, I would like to say that I really like a player like him. This is because he is such an exemplary player for other players.

(Since your team won the match today at the half way point through the season, you will have a good start for the rest of the season. However, there are eight points deference between the top team, Kashima Antlers and Urawa Reds. What do you think about this?)
First of all, I must show my respect to Kashima Antlers. They scored 42 points for their victories at the end of 17 matches, which is a very impressive result. Even if we look around the world, I do not think we can find such a team that can score so many points for winning professional league matches like them.
As for our team, we scored 34 points at the end of 17 matches. If we calculate our scores at the end of all 34 matches based on this figure, we will have over 60 points, which will also be a very good result. However, Kashima Antlers scored more points than we did so far at this point and I think this is truly impressive. Kashima Antlers has been playing excellent football for a long time. Surely, all the players who have successful records over several years play for the team. For this reason, I think they can play stable football.
As you said, there is certainly an eight point difference between us.
However, what we should not forget is that there is an eleven point difference between our team and Gamba Osaka. I am confident that I knew what kind of team I took in charge at the beginning of the season. I also obtained various pieces of information about the condition of the team last year. As this was the case, I had never expected that we would be able to have an eleven point difference between our team and Gamba Osaka at the end of the 17th Sec.
For this reason, even though I am aware that there is an eight point difference between Kashima Antlers and our team, I think the result we have achieved so far is incredibly good. This is especially so, as this result was achieved after we started to play a new style of football which is totally different from what the team used to play with many new young players.
Now, I would like to talk about three things.
Firstly, I would like to say that it was very important for us to win the matches we played in our home stadium. Please think about last season once again. Urawa Reds was not able to win the matches played in the home Saitama Stadium for over two hundred days. To me, it was very important to win as many matches as possible in our home stadium in front of all our fans and supporters. I think the results we had in the Saitama Stadium have been excellent this season.
Secondly, I did not think the team had a great result last year. I do not think the football the team played was so good either. As this was the case, I must really think highly of the fact that the team has been willing to move forward on a new path and has actually achieved a great result at a very early stage. Looking around the world, when a team is trying to take a new path, it takes about one or two years before the team can have a good result. However, our team has achieved a great result at the end of the 17th Sec in our first year of reform. I think this is something I should regard very positively. Thirdly, I should commend several players.
This is because many players had to play in positions in which they had never played before due to our new style of football and also because of injuries some players suffered. Nonetheless, they did very well and have had great performances.
For this reason, I have such a good impression of what I have achieved so far. I still have a lot to work on. But, I have such pleasure and fun working for the club everyday.
It is not my intention to overstate what we went through over the past few months. Of course, I would like to state this modestly. But, please think about what has happened over the last few months. Even though it has been only a few month since I came to Japan, the president we have now is my second one. The team went through so many things. Having myself as the team manger is of course one of them. The team now has a new team director. However, we have not acquired any new “well-established” players who can be of benefit to us in matches instantly.
Instead we invited many young players into our team and now they are developing vigorously.
For this reason, I think that the media and spectators can get real value out of coming to the Saitama Stadium. You can truly feel how the team is developing right now.
As our situation is such, I wanted to say that there is no need for me to apologies for us being the second in the J. League standings.