Borussia Dortmund and Swiss shot stopper Gregor Kobel sat down with Bild to talk about summer preparations and his future with the club.
As Borussia Dortmund’s summer tour continues to steam ahead, Gregor Kobel sat down with Bild to talk about an array of topics surrounding Dortmund’s summer preparations, his new role as vice captain, and contract extension speculation. Kobel also touched on his feelings regarding the previous season and how it’s affected him and his teammates:
"“It will hurt forever. Nobody shakes that off so easily. For all of us, it’s now a matter of drawing motivation from this deep valley we went through…Every one of us gave it absolutely full throttle and wanted it badly. I’m convinced that if everyone works on themselves and we continue to develop as a team, then success will come.”"
In terms of “working on himself in particular, Kobel offered insight into his own preparations, describing his work with glasses that block his view of the ball partially and make him really train his peripheral vision. This in turn makes him far more attentive and sharpens his ability to react in situations where he may have a limited visual of a shot traveling towards his goal.
Kobel also highlighted the need to work on goals conceded this coming season, with the team shipping 44 goals in the Bundesliga. The Swiss shot stopper was quick to share his commitment to curbing these numbers:
"“We played to zero twelve times. That’s not too bad at first. But there were games in which we conceded three or four goals. That can’t happen again if we want to be a top team. An average of less than one goal conceded per game is a good goal.”"
The amount of goals that Dortmund allow has been a topic of criticism for some time, but the club has worked to sign players capable of reducing those number, Kobel included. if the club wish to meet their sporting goals, it is an issue that will need to remain in focus as the squad prepares for the new season.
The conversation of course then shifted to the topic of Kobel’s contract extension, and the player reaffirmed the fact that he is relatively removed for the negotiations at this time. He stated that those representing him have a good gauge on his goals and aspirations. He did however note that he still sees his long term future with Die Schwarzgelben; a welcome piece of news for fans of the club. In tandem with this, Kobel poured cold water on the idea of any sort of move to Bayern Munich. When asked about this, Kobel was clear in his stance:
"“I am not concerned with that or with a change at all! Please write that down as well: That’s not a topic for me at all right now. I am in Dortmund. I have a long-term contract here. My full focus is on this team, with which I want to be successful in the next few years. I’m totally focused on what happens here. That’s what I expect of myself.”"
Kobel’s future with BVB will be filled with a bit more responsibility as he has accepted the role of vice captain. Many believed that Kobel would make a good candidate to wear the captains armband outright, but Kobel pointed out that he believes Emre Can will make a good captain for the team:
"“…I’m really honored that the people in charge at this big club trust me with such a role. After all, I’m still quite young. But I can say with conviction that it is my ambition to lead with performance…There are loud guys. There are quiet guys. There are players who can achieve a lot with just a few words. It’s all about being authentic and staying authentic. If you pretend, you look artificial. Emre is authentic. He will be a good captain for us.”"
Kobel’s description of what makes a good captain offers unique insight into what players look for in the individual leading them out onto the pitch week in, week out. Kobel’s opinion in particular is rather interesting for those who viewed him as the ideal candidate. Over the course of his time at Dortmund, authentic would certainly be one of the many positive adjectives the Dortmund faithful would give Kobel, and could be one of the characteristics that sees him become club captain down the road.
Kobel and his teammates still have games against Chelsea and Ajax on the pre-season calendar, which means the club will face quality opposition in the lead up to their DFB Pokal first round clash with Schott Mainz. The club will be very grateful to have such a committed leadership figure in Kobel marshaling their defense for this season, and likely many seasons to come.