Felix Kroos and second-division Eintracht Braunschweig host last season’s Bundesliga runners-up Borussia Dortmund in the second round of the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday evening (20:00 CET). Having already beaten BVB last season with his former club Union Berlin, the 29-year-old midfielder sat down with DFB.de to discuss the cup match and the podcast he does with his brother, Toni.
DFB.de: Felix, what do you think your chances are of surprising Dortmund and coming away with a win?
Felix Kroos: I don’t really rate our chances but we all play football to win games, and that’s how we’ll approach this game too. If we get an opportunity, we’ll do our best to take it. But obviously we know that if they hit their stride and play as they normally do, it’ll be a very difficult game for us.
DFB.de: What are your thoughts on Borussia Dortmund at the moment?
Felix Kroos: They have a lot of individual quality, especially in attack and in terms of their pace. When they click, they’re a very good team that are always dangerous.
DFB.de: Would you have preferred an easier draw for the second round?
Kroos: A home game against a Bundesliga team is great but it's a big shame that there will be no fans in the stadium. I would have taken that right from the start. It wouldn't necessarily have had to have been Dortmund, as this will be the third time I've played them in the second round of the DFB-Pokal! A bit of variety might have been nice.
DFB.de: So you’d have preferred Bayern Munich then?
Kroos: Maybe, yeah! (laughs)
DFB.de: The last time you played Borussia Dortmund was in August 2019 when you celebrated a 3-1 win with Union Berlin. What memories do you have of that game?
Kroos: I'll never forget it! It was a Saturday night match in front of a sold-out crowd at the Alte Försterei. It was a very special atmosphere and the first win in the Bundesliga for Union. To have been a part of that is something very special.
DFB.de: Union are continuing to play good football and are doing well in the Bundesliga. Were you disappointed that your contract in the capital wasn’t extended?
Kroos: Yes, definitely at first. What I wanted first and foremost was to continue playing for Union. I have a lot of ties with the club, but that’s the way it goes sometimes in football. It's important to accept the decision and move onto something new. That's what I've done, and now I'm happy to be at Eintracht in Braunschweig.
DFB.de: How would you say your season at Braunschweig is going so far?
Kroos: I wouldn’t say it’s been all good or all bad, it’s somewhere in the middle. We expected to be in the bottom half of the table at this point, after all the upheaval in the team. You have to get your bearings first and then the results will come. We’ve shown that we can hold our own in the league and the morale within the team is high. We still have a lot of work to do, but we confident that we’ll be able to stay in the league come the end of the season.
DFB.de: You’re not only active on the pitch, but also in front of the mic! How did the idea come about for the podcast you do with your brother, “Einfach mal Luppen” ()?
Kroos: We’re both just very open to new things and like to try things out. Klaas Heufer-Umlauf approached us with the idea and at first, we were unsure whether we wanted to do it. But we went through with it and we’ve had a lot of fun so far. It’s going well!
DFB.de: What’s the process for preparing for a podcast?
Kroos: We talked to each other for about half an hour beforehand and developed an outline of topics that we want to address. That often leads on to new areas that we weren't planning on speaking about at all, so a lot is spontaneous. Once you start talking sometimes you go off on a tangent. Since we don't broadcast the podcast live, we cut it together and take bits out afterwards if necessary.
DFB.de: You and your brother conduct interviews on the podcast with personalities such as world champion Lukas Podolski. Who would be your ideal guest on the podcast?
Kroos: No one springs to mind, but we put a lot of thought into the people we bring on and who would be interesting for our listeners. in our first episode, our grandfather was the guest and that was very special. We'll see who else will be on in the near future.
DFB.de: Do you and your brother talk more openly about some topics on the podcast than you would to the media?
Kroos: Yes, you could say that. Because we spend time preparing the podcast, you can naturally think about what you want to say beforehand. Obviously, you can't always say what's on your mind because we don't want to make headlines, but it's important for us to express our views and opinions.
DFB.de: Do you enjoy listening to podcasts yourself?
Kroos: Yes, I particularly like listening to "Baywatch Berlin" by Klaas Heufer-Umlauf, which is produced by the same production company as ours.
DFB.de: Since you're involved in podcasting now, can you maybe imagine a future in the media after your career as a footballer has come to an end?
Kroos: I'm open to many things and I wouldn't want to commit myself at this point. I'm assuming that I'll stay involved in the game after my playing days are done though. When you're almost 30, you do start to think about what's next and I'm at that stage now. I don't want to rule anything out. Sometimes things turn out differently to how you think they will.