As Borussia Dortmund's winter training camp in Marbella continues to unfold, defensive midfielder Salih Özcan answered a few questions for the media present, commenting on the training camp conditions, his initial thoughts regarding the clubs two new assistant coaches Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender, and what the team aims to take away from the time they have been given to prepare in Spain. In terms of the conditions, Özcan noted that they have been "great but exhausting". The foucs in large part however has been on the tactics end of their game.
"At the moment, we are training a lot of tactics and trying to make a clean game structure. This was especially on the program yesterday."- Salih Özcan
As with the information provded by Emre Can in his recent interview, Özcan noted that both new assistant coaches Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender have been heavily involved in how the team is being set up to play. In Özcan's opinion, this is a good thing for his side:
"Off the pitch, both are very relaxed and try to have conversations with everyone to get a feel for the team. On the pitch, they are loud and try to bring content into training. This is good for us as a team."- Salih Özcan
The focus of Dortmund's preparations is currently on the club's test match against AZ Alkmaar, which will be the club's first outing since their draw with Mainz in the Bundesliga. While it will certainly be too early to tell what sort of influence Sahin and Bender have had so far, we may get to see glimpses of what they are starting to try and implement over the course of their involvement in Dortmund's training sessions.
According to Özcan, the training, as well as the upcoming match, serve as Dortmund's oppotunitity to regain some confidence ahead of the second half of the season. To do so, they will have to take what they've been working on in training and apply it to the test match:
"The focus is on winning the game and playing through the tactical content we have gone through in recent days well. We want to try to rebuild self-confidence and bring sovereignty into play."- Salih Özcan
As we saw last year, the winter training camp has the ability to really turn the team's season around and propel them to new heights in terms of their performances on the pitch. While it can't be expected that the club will pull off yet another major reversal and leap into a spot in the table where they will challenge for the title ( as this is also, in part, out of their hands), their efforts can certainly see them secure Champions League football for next season and possibly make a further foray into this year's iteration of the knockout stages.