It was more than nine years ago, but 18th May 2009 is a day that Florian Trinks remembers like it was yesterday. That day, the then Bremen player was subbed on for Kevin Scheidhauer in the 59th minute of the European U17 Championship final in Magdeburg. Half an hour later, Germany became champions. Also in the squad that day were future world champions Mario Götze and Shkodran Mustafi, as well as future Germany players Marc-André ter Stegen and Marvin Plattenhardt.
Nowadays, ‘Flo’ Trinks plays in the Regionalliga for Schweinfurt 05. This evening at 20:45 CEST, the midfielder’s new club will take on five-time cup winners and last season’s Bundesliga runners-up Schalke 04 in the first round of the DFB-Pokal. DFB.detalks to the 26-year-old, who doesn’t consider himself a giant killer, but knows his team, who have had a good start to the season and can cause problems for the favourites from Gelsenkirchen.
DFB.de: Florian Trinks, do people still recognise you as a European champion?
Florian Trinks: Rarely, since it was a long time ago and things move very quickly in the footballing world. However, before this DFB-Pokal game, people have started talking about what happened in 2009 again.
DFB.de: When you consider what has happened to Mario Götze and Marc-André ter Stegen, two of your teammates from 2009, is your career proof of how difficult it is to predict success in football?
Trinks: Definitely! Five years down the line, you can be a world champion or you can disappear into obscurity. That’s just football; not everyone that wins a youth title will end up being a star. As for me, I know that I’ve experienced a lot in the last few years. I fulfilled my dream of playing in the Bundesliga, but also have suffered a lot through injury. I’ve got to know the ups and downs of professional football.
DFB.de: Are you still in contact with your teammates from 2009?
Trinks: Only a little. Marc-André ter Stegen and I send each other a text once or twice a year. However, I do see Lennart Thy quite a lot since we both played together in the Werder youth set-up and have been good friends ever since.
DFB.de: Gera, Bremen, Fürth, Chemnitz and since this summer Schweinfurt – what was it that brought you to the club?
Trinks: My contract with Chemnitz had not actually ended but being relegated from the 3. Liga into the Regionalliga and the club’s insolvency meant my contract became invalid. I’m happy that it’s worked out with Schweinfurt because it’s a club with ambition. It also means I can live with my wife and daughter who stayed in Fürth while I went and played in Budapest and Chemnitz. I missed a lot of last season due to injury, so now I’m at Schweinfurt I’m ready to get back at it. My first impressions have been very positive. We’re high up in the table and fighting for promotion to the 3. Liga, which is very difficult considering the quality of opponents like Bayern München’s reserves and Wacker Burghausen.
DFB.de: With 14 points from the first six games, Schweinfurt are in second behind Burghausen. Is this kind of form good enough to knock Schalke out of the cup?
Trinks: It’d be nice! But I don’t want to think about it like that because Schalke are a quality side and most definitely the favourites in this game. However, in a knockout tie it depends on the course of the match. If we start well and stay strong at the back, we definitely have a chance. Although, I’m not really much of a giant killer.
DFB.de: How come?
Trinks: I never got past the second round in the DFB-Pokal with Bremen or Fürth. While I was playing for Werder, we also lost 5-0 at Schalke in the Bundesliga once, so I haven’t got happy memories of Gelsenkirchen. Maybe it’s time to change that.