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

Comment from Team Manager Volker Finke on the day before the 2009 season
J. League Sixth Sec. against Kyoto Sanga F.C.
I feel regretful that Tatsuya Tanaka cannot play in the match. He was injured during our previous away match. He cannot play in the next sec. match either. I will not be fully content with the situation when we play in the match tomorrow.
Of course, players get injured several times during a season. In a way, this cannot be helped. I also think that players will get injured in the future as well. However, as we prepared ourselves well, I would like to play in our next home match with high spirit. I would like to win the game three times in a row and get three points. Unfortunately, Tadaaki Hirakawa who has always played as a member will also have to miss the match tomorrow. He will have a MRI check up today at a hospital. We will get a detailed report later. We were told that he injured his muscle. We don’t know whether it is just a pulled muscle or anything more serious than that at this moment.
Kyoto Sanga F.C., the team we will play against next have shown good performance in the matches they played in the past so far. I think they are a formidable opponent. They won their home match against Gamba Osaka and they were leading the game when they played the away game against Kashima until the last minute. Though they lost the game during added time in reality, I still think they are a good team capable of showing excellent performance like that. As they have good results playing well in away matches, there is no doubt that the next match will be a difficult match for us. This is “all” I have to say (lol).

(Could you elaborate on Hirakawa’s injury?)
I do not want to elaborate on his injury including which leg he injured. This is because I would like to talk about it after we have his medical report. There is no doubt that he injured his muscles.

(When do you think Tatsuya Tanaka can return?)
I would like him to return to the team as soon as possible. But, I cannot say when he will return to the team as I cannot make the decision by myself alone. I need to talk with the medical staff members. I was informed that it was not just a minor muscle injury. He injured not only his muscles but also his tendons. For this reason, I cannot say when he can return to the team at this stage.
We have excellent medical staff members in our medical section. They know how to treat his injury well. As this is the case, I would like to maintain good communications with our medical section to treat his injury in the way that will be best for the player.

(During today’s training, Hosogai was playing in the left side back position of the team, which is regarded as a major force position of the team.)
It had nothing to do with the match we will play against Kyoto. He played really well in the position until he got injured. The reason why I put him in the position was to check how well he can play in the position. As such, it was not like I already made up my mind that I would use him in that position tomorrow.
Alex was away from the team for such a long time. Based on my past experiences, those players who were away from their teams may fall in a “pit” in terms of their conditions after their recovery. Personally, I do not want to inflict too much burden on him as he may get injured again. It is necessary for us to give him some extra precautions and assist him to get back to his original level in the long run.
I have not decided whether I will use Alex or Hosogai for tomorrow’s match. I have not made any decision about our starting line-up yet.

(How do you feel about not losing any points over the past three matches?)
What was most important for me was the fact that our team was able to create more scoring opportunities than our opponent teams over the past three matches in a row. Our team is not clearly divided into two groups such as defense and offensive teams. It was important for me that the entire team worked in collaboration regardless whether we were playing an offensive or a defensive game. The fact that we did not lose any points over the past three matches in a row was the result of how we were able to play in collaboration as a team. In our previous match we played against Nagoya, we had our first scoring chance during the second half of the game after 62 minutes into the game. We had no scoring opportunities until then. I think we were able to create the opportunity because we were able to have good defense as a team rather than only the defense players were able to do so. I believe that the good defense of the team led to the strength of the defense team.

(During the matches the team played against Nagoya Grampus and Oita Trinita, opponent teams were not able to score many goals. Did the team change anything after playing a match against Yokohama F. Marinos?)
One thing that has changed after the match against Yokohama was that players who were with the national team returned to the team again. I think this was one of the important factors. We did not have players who were away to join the national team during the match against Yokohama F. Marinos.

(What is your philosophy when selecting starting line-up members?)
What is important is our daily training. It is not that the players who won a match will also play in the next match. We do not know what would happen in our daily training. Players’ physical condition may change as well. Some players may well be lacking in something by several percent.
For this reason, I observe my players well everyday. I decide the starting line-up members for every weekend based on how they have been during training.

(Takahara seems to play well against Kyoto Sanga.)
Thank you for the valuable tip. Maybe I will decide the starting line-up members for tomorrow based on this tip (lol).