The day before the J. League Fifth Sec.-Team Manager Finke   

Comment from Team Manager Volker Finke on the day before the 2009 season
J. League Fourth Sec. against Nagoya Grampus
We were able to maintain good rhythm for our training this week. We also had a satellite league match last weekend and the satellite league players played really well. At this moment, all the team players except for the two players
Tsukasa Umesaki and Shunsuke Tsutsumi have been able to participate in all the team training sessions this week. As this has been the case, I think we had good training this week.
Hosogai also returned to team training. He left team training and started to have separate training exactly two weeks ago. I think two weeks would be the most time for a player having personal training could have away from the team in order for him not to lose the good sense of team movement and rhythm.
I do not want to say much about our opponent. What I can say clearly is that I am very much looking forward to this match against the Nagoya Grampus that is one of the strongest teams in the J. League. This is because I know the match will pose a very interesting challenge for us. Since last season, we have changed many things and we are working on a new style of football. At this time, we are able to play against one of the strongest teams in the J. League, the Nagoya Grampus. As such, I am really looking forward to our match against the team.

(Since the match will be held on Sunday this week, the team had one extra day for preparation.)
The content of the training did not change greatly. Having said that, I think it was good for the players who were the starting line-up members for last weekend’s match to have one more day of training. In terms of having a day off, the team had the day off three days before the match as usual. Those players who played on Saturday had their training on Sunday and Monday. Those players who played in the satellite match on Sunday had their training on Monday. All the players had the same training program from Tuesday onwards. Those players who played on Saturday had two days of the group training, which I thought was really good for them.

(The Nagoya Grampus played in an ACL match on Tuesday.)
I do not think this would have match impact on them. It has not been so long since the season started. If a player had good preparation before the season for five to six weeks, he would be at a stage where he could still maintain the condition he established through the preparation. As this would be the case, I do not think players won’t be able to recover from fatigue. If Tuesday’s match was held somewhere far away such as Australia, then it may be advantageous to us a little. However, considering the current situation and the fact that the match will be their home match, I do not think the ACL match would have a big impact on the match we will play against each other.

(Is there any chance of Hosogai playing as a starting line-up member?)
I think players should find out about the final decision made regarding the starting line-up members first. For this reason, I can answer your question after I inform the players about that. It is true that during the previous match we played against Oita, Alex played really well in the left side back position that was the position “under construction” in our team. I know that I need to see how he performs during training and matches from now. This is because I know based on my experience that those players who returned to play in matches after long absences due to injuries will definitely fall in a “pit” sometime. It will be the case in terms of condition, fitness as well as instantaneous force. As such, I will observe his play well and make a decision as to whether I should give him some break by changing a player with him during the next match or letting him play the entire match. Since Alex is under such condition, I think it is necessary for us to always have another option such as putting Hosogai or another player to the “under construction” position. When a player has been away for such a long time, it is impossible for him to play really well for the entire match in all five matches in a row right after his recovery. This is also true with other players throughout the world.

(Since the establishment of the J. League, Urawa Reds has not been able to win many times in the away matches with the Nagoya Grampus. Are you concerned much about this type of thing?)
When we won the first home game this season, I did not know that it was the first home game victory after 203 days. I also did not check in advance how long it had been since Urawa Reds won in the Yamazaki Nabisco Cup last time. After we won three points, concerned parties told me about the fact. As such has been the case, I had no idea about the Nagoya Grampus. These were the things that happened in the past. All the things that happened in the past have nothing to do with me. If players feel difficult about playing against Nagoya Grampus, I would like to stop them from feeling like that by having a good result in the match we play this time.

(Are you the type of person who tries to bring luck by doing or not doing some certain things?)
I can be that type of person. As a matter of fact, when I was in Germany, there was something that I continued to do for that reason. However, unfortunately it is impossible to do that in Japan. What I kept doing in Germany was not to speak with the press two days prior to a match (lol). I did not take any interviews and did not release any comments. In Germany, there was a pay TV program produced by a company that had the broadcasting right of the Bundesliga. But, I did not allow any interviews even with them. In their programs, they broadcasted team managers’ comments before a match. But, I did not give any comments for that either (lol). Instead, other coaching staff members released some comments or responded to interviews. Top management of the broadcasting company begged the president of the club several times so that I appear on their programs. But, I always declined their requests (lol). That being said, I think I was doing a good job for responding to the media for the rest of the week except for the two days before a match. I am sure that the media people were happy the way I responded to the media.
This had been what I had always done. However, I do understand it is impossible for me to continue to do so in Japan. For this reason, unfortunately I cannot try to bring luck to our team (lol).

(Does that pose any problems for you to conduct your job?)
It does not pose any problems. This is because I am in a different country and different countries have different cultures. Since I cannot read Japanese, I cannot read what is written in newspapers before a match. When I put on TV, even though I can see some footage, I do not understand what those comments were all about. For this reason, though I cannot try to bring some luck to the team in the way I used to do in Germany, it does not have any negative impact on my job. There were several articles that had my name in them. I once asked those articles to be translated so that I could check what was written in them. When I actually found out about the content, it turned out that something that I had not said at all was written as though I had said it. For this reason, I thought it would be best for me not to understand what was written in Japanese newspapers. It would be wonderful if the writer of an article actually had talked with me. However, there were many articles written about me by those writers who had not even talked with me in reality.

(What is your philosophy as a coach?)
I do not intend to talk much about my philosophy here. But, there was a style of football I always tried to pursue in the teams I lead in the past. Key words for the type of football I tried to pursue were “combination football”, “enough amounts of motion” and “creating numerical advantages on the pitch”. They are very important and create a foundation for the type of football I would like to aim for.

(Are you already accustomed to Japan?)
I really enjoy my life here. I particularly enjoy my daily work. I come to the Ohara football field everyday with joy and I get great pleasure everyday in working with the players. I think players are working hard to work on our new challenge from this season. I enjoy the atmosphere we have here at Ohara every day and I feel I am leading a full life here in Japan.