A well-known face is in the Germany squad for the first time. Oliver Baumann has been a regular Bundesliga goalkeeper for ten years and will now get his first crack at international football. The 30-year-old wants to make a good impression and perform well in every training session. Speaking to DFB.de, Baumann outlined his first impressions of international football, his role in the team, and his aims for the 2020/21 season.
DFB.de: Welcome to the national team, Mr. Baumann. After getting to know the rest of the squad in the first few training sessions, the team will face Spain in a UEFA Nations League match this evening (20:45 CEST). What has your impression been like so far?
Oliver Baumann: Everything has been really positive so far; I’ve enjoyed it a lot. It’s been fun to train with this group of lads, where the quality is so high. I have settled in really quickly, as I already knew a lot of the guys from around the league. I have played with a few of them as well, like Niklas Süle in Hoffenheim and Matthias Ginter in Freiburg.DFB.de: Toni Kroos was born in 1990, like you, and is the only player in the current squad who is older than you. Most of the players are a lot younger, so do you feel like a true newcomer to the team?
Baumann: I may be new here, but due to my age I am actually one of the more experienced players. Preseason with Hoffenheim already made me well aware of my age – some youngsters born in the year 2000 are training with us and aiming to take their first steps into professional football! That’s just how these things go. It may be my first time here but I know most of the guys already having spent so many years playing in the Bundesliga. I actually played with Toni Kroos in the Germany youth teams, so now we’ve come full circle! (laughs)
DFB.de: You have been a Bundesliga regular for ten years now, playing 329 league matches for Freiburg and Hoffenheim in that time. Be honest – had you hoped for an earlier call-up to the national team?
Baumann: Maybe I’m just like a fine wine! (laughs) Honestly, it has always been my aim to make the Germany squad through my own desire and hard work. But I’m definitely not the type to make such demands in interviews. I find it disrespectful and it wouldn’t fit with my style. From my point of view, you just have to perform well; if you do that, then I’m convinced that your performances will get you noticed.
DFB.de: Germany are currently missing two goalkeepers from the regular squad in Manuel Neuer and Marc-André ter Stegen. What are you doing to try and leave a good impression?
Baumann: I think that my selection is already recognition for my hard work and development in recent years, so I just want to perform at my regular level in every training session. I want to make a really good impression in training, but I’m really relaxed about everything else. That said, though, I would like to represent my country in one of the matches. That’s the aim that I set for myself. At the end of the day, however, the most important thing is that we as a team get off to a successful start in the Nations League.
DFB.de: At club level, you have a new manager at Hoffenheim this season - Sebastian Hoeneß. What do you want to achieve in the 2020/21 season?
Baumann: The most important thing is that every player does his part so that we can put the coach’s vision into practice as soon as possible. We’ve also had a bit of upheaval in terms of players, with a few new guys and a few players leaving us, so it’s important that we have a good understanding ahead of the start of the season. We need to be ready to start picking up points. Personally, I want to take on more responsibility this season and make the team more secure at the back. Competing in the Europa League means that there will also be some big European matches for us to look forward to. I would absolutely love to make it past the group stage of the competition.