The day before the J. League Sixteenth Sec.–Team Manager Finke  

Comment from Team Manager Volker Finke on the day before the 2009 season J. League Sixteenth Sec. against Montedio Yamagata
We certainly had a lot to work on during this week. Nobuhisa Yamada is not able to play in the match as he got four yellow cards. On top of this, since the team’s main players are injured, I have had to change the starting line-up players for each position.
For these reasons, I had a lot to do during this week. However, I think we have prepared ourselves well so far. In regards to Genki Haraguchi and Naoki Yamada, I am not sure if they can play in the match tomorrow. They are still suffering from their injuries just a little. As this is the case, only one of them may be in the starting line-up and the other may wait on the bench to start with. Or perhaps both of them may start the game on the bench. Nonetheless, the truth is that I can not comment on it in details here at this moment.

(What is your impression of Montedio Yamagata?)
In order to find out many things about our opponents, I try to watch as much recent match footage of our opponents as possible. As for Montedio Yamagata, I watched the recent match the team played against Kawasaki Frontale. I thing they performed really well during the match. This is because Yamagata created more scoring opportunities than Kawasaki. As Kawasaki’s goalkeeper did an excellent job in blocking the ball, it was difficult for Yamagata to score goals. However, I thought their performance was great. Considering the fact that their opponent, Kawasaki is one of the strongest teams in the J. League, I thing their performance should be highly appreciated.

(Shunki Takahashi was in the right side back position on the red team when the two teams, red and white played against each other.)
First of all, what I can say is that the members who played in the practice match the day before will not necessary be the starting line-up members. I do not think the abilities of Takahashi who plays in that position and Nishizawa are that different. When our national team players were away during the Nabisco Cup, Nishizawa assumed the right side back position while Nobuhisa Yamada was playing in the center back position. As I have just said, there is not much difference in these two players’ abilities. But, I do think there are differences in their play styles. I am not going to comment on their differences in details. However, when I do choose one player out of these two, I will always consider their characteristics as well as strengths.
For this reason, even though I have made Takahashi play in the right side back position many times, this was not because he is different in his ability. I took his characteristics into consideration.

(When the match between the red and white teams was over, you talked to the members of the red team that lost two goals.)
We discussed our communication and coaching at that time. Of course, I cannot talk about everything in public. But, as you saw, I did not talk to the entire team, but just to some of the players about what I just said. Though I cannot elaborate on this topic too much, I believe that communication is the key when playing football. It is important for us to think about how we communicate, how we talk to each other and how we can help each other on the pitch in order to play modern football.
A while back, there were one or two very powerful chiefs who gave all the instructions to the rest of the team. However, this is now a thing of the past. It is important for every member of the team to work together and help each other. In order for the team to work together, how they communicate with each other becomes important. As this is the case, I told my team about what I just said. Though it is not my intention to be rude to you, I cannot talk about anything further than this.

(How do you regard the problems of the red team that lost the game?)
I cannot talk about the improvement they made. Otherwise, everything I talk about them will be heard by the team manager of Yamagata, our next opponent team (lol). But, it often happens that the so called team “B” wins in the final day of training.
This is because those players who are put in team “B” have a strong will and try to prove their true potentials to their team manager by running a lot and playing hard against team “A”. As a result, team “B” often wins against team “A”. This is not only the case in Japan but all around the world. In regards to the 11 on 11 match, team red and white played at the end of our training today, team “B” won against team “A”. But, this type of the thing happens all the time and I have no intention of elaborating on this.

(Montedio Yamagata and Sanfrecce Hiroshima have moved up to the J1 from J2. What is important when playing against a team like them that has very high motivation?)
We certainly should not drop our guard down just because they moved up from the J2. Our team has some players who have been playing in the J1 League for a long time. I do not want to say that what I say applies to our players. However, as a football trainer, I find it very difficult that those players are not often vigilant when playing against such teams that used to play in the second league. As this type of things should not happen in reality, I would like to talk with my players and remind them that it is important to understand the rule which exists in football around the world that the opponent you play against next is the most formidable opponent.
Since coming to Japan, I have seen that every opponent team Urawa Reds has played against has had 120 % of strong will and stamina. Urawa Reds has the most numbers of supporters who come to stadiums in Japan. Urawa Reds has also acquired many well known players over the past few years. For this reason, I think that other teams have a strong sense of rivalry against us. Since this is the case, every week we have high motivation to play against our opponent team regardless whether we play against a team which has moved up from the J2.