DFB.de: TSV 1860 München have been crowned as the winners of the Bavarian Cup for the first time in the club’s history. How do you feel about this success, Mr. Erdmann?
Dennis Erdmann: Beating Würzburger Kickers 4-1 on penalties was a great way to get the new season started. It’s not the worst thing in the world to get underway by lifting a trophy! But we weren’t celebrating with beer showers or anything like that. We had already qualified for the DFB-Pokal ahead of that cup final, so after the final whistle our attention turned immediately towards Eintracht Frankfurt.
DFB.de: What did you do well against Würzburg, a team recently promoted to the division above yourselves?
Erdmann: We barely gave away any chances, just as we had previously done in a 4-1 friendly win against second-tier SSV Jahn Regensburg. The opposition scored from a direct, deflected free-kick in normal time. After our experiences last season, we have worked hard on being more compact as a team. That work is already paying off.
DFB.de: It was the third time that your goalkeeper, Marco Hiller, was able to make himself a hero during a penalty shootout in the cup. That must fill you with confidence going into matches in the DFB-Pokal?
Erdmann: Marco is an absolute beast on the line – it’s huge for us to have him in goal for shootouts. It means that I never have any doubts. But maybe we will be able to beat Eintracht Frankfurt without needing a shootout!
DFB.de: Would you back yourself to take a penalty in a shootout?
Erdmann: If I was allowed to use my head, it would be a guaranteed goal. Using your feet is a lot harder! (laughs) But yeah, why not? We always have a quick chat before the shootout, to see who is feeling up to it. If anybody has any doubts, then it’s best that they stay away from taking one.
DFB.de: What do you have to do to progress with 1860 München?
Erdmann: We have to give everything we have and leave it all out on the pitch. An important factor will be desire, and who wants to win this match the most. They’re the favourites, so we have to make them lose their spirit. In the cup, it’s all about progressing to the next round. I don’t just want to take a beating and get knocked out by Eintracht. Our aim is to reach the second round.
DFB.de: You reached the DFB-Pokal round of 16 with Dynamo Dresden in 2014/2015. What are your memories of that cup run?
Erdmann: We beat Schalke 2-1 in the first round, and we then needed extra time to get past VfL Bochum, 2-1. We were only knocked out by the eventual finalists, Borussia Dortmund, who beat us 2-0. We could have achieved even more that day. It’s nice to have the next round of the cup in your sights, and causing an upset adds an extra incentive. It’s also great for the club from a financial point of view. There were also one or two drinks offered to the players as rewards! (laughs)
DFB.de: 1860’s squad has an average age of 23.5. With the exception of FC Bayern Munich’s U23 side, you have the youngest team in the 3. Liga. Is the cup even more special for the young players?
Erdmann: It’s a special experience, mixing it with Bundesliga players in a competitive match. The DFB-Pokal has it’s own charm, and the young players should just have fun and enjoy the moment. Maybe later on they can say that they played for 1860 München when they beat Eintracht Frankfurt to reach the second round of the cup.
DFB.de: You are 29 now. Do you see yourself as having any particular responsibility, as one of the older players in the squad?
Erdmann: As an experienced player, you try to support the younger guys and take some of the pressure off their shoulders. The lads know that they can always come and talk to me. But it’s not like I am any different from when I was 23 or 24, really.
DFB.de: You have recently been playing in defensive midfield under 1860 head coach Michael Köllner. How does playing there differ from your previous role in the centre of defence?
Erdmann: In midfield I am able to take players out more often! (laughs) As a defender you are more likely to get into dangerous situations. I already know this midfield role from my time at Hansa Rostock, and I played in both positions while I was at 1. FC Magdeburg. Everybody knows that I’m no technical player, but I can help the team with my presence and my aerial ability.