2019 could turn out to be quite a year for Lukas Klostermann. He made his senior debut for Germany in March and in May, he could just be playing in the DFB-Pokal final with RB Leipzig. One final hurdle stands in their way though in the form of Hamburger SV on Tuesday night (20:45 CEST kick-off). We spoke to the 22-year-old about the cup tie, representing his country and women’s football.
DFB.de: Lukas, do you think you got the best draw given you’re playing the only remaining second-division side in the semi-finals?
Lukas Klostermann: It’s certainly not going to be an easy match, not least because we’re away from home. HSV have a good team and are fighting for Bundesliga promotion, plus, we all know that anything can happen in the cup. We obviously want to reach the final and hopefully we’ll be able to stop the Hamburg supporters from creating a feisty atmosphere.
DFB.de: Which HSV players do you know and consider to be particularly dangerous?
Klostermann: Kyriakos Papadopoulos comes to mind – I played alongside him here at Leipzig. He’s a real fighter. HSV have a number of quality players like Aaron Hunt and Pierre-Michel Lasogga who have a lot of experience playing in the Bundesliga. I certainly don’t think of Hamburg as a second-division side.
DFB.de: What memories do you have of your recent encounters with HSV?
Klostermann: The two games last season were really tricky. We won 2-0 away but drew 1-1 at home. Both matches were very tight.
DFB.de: You already know how tough matches against lower-league sides can be in the cup, like against VfL Osnabrück in 2015 for example. Why are these games so dangerous?
Klostermann: Because at the end of the day, it’s all about that one game. Anything can happen in 90 minutes. If one team has a bad day and the other has a good day, then it can be difficult for the favourite. But we’re in good form right now and we want to keep it going into the cup game.
DFB.de: What would it mean for the club and the city to reach the final and possibly win the first major title in RB Leipzig’s history?
Klostermann: It would be monumental. It’s the kind of thing we all dream of and it’s what motivates us day after day.
DFB.de: Ralf Rangnick only has a few more games as head coach, as he will return to his role of sporting director after the season is over. How has he helped the team?
Klostermann: It’s hard to pick out specific things. He’s given us the perfect guidelines for each game and has made sure that everyone has taken a step forward. There’s a great chemistry in the team, a lot of attacking quality and a solid defence, and all of that is getting us results.
DFB.de: You’re considered one of the fastest players in the Bundesliga. Do you think that has something to do with your father being a hurdler?
Klostermann: I no doubt inherited a bit of speed from my father, but my mother was also an athlete. I was pretty much always doing some kind of sport ever since I was a little kid. At some point, I had to decide between football and athletics. I ended up going for football and I’ve never looked back.
DFB.de: Your sister Lisa also opted to play football…
Klostermann: That’s right, she must have caught the ‘football bug’ off me. We used to play together a lot on the street.
DFB.de: You seem to be a talented footballing family, as your sister also plays in the Bundesliga as a goalkeeper for SGS Essen. How different are your lives?
Klostermann: The amount we both put into football is about the same; we have very similar training schedules. I obviously have more games, as the Women’s Bundesliga only has twelve teams and we’ve had European matches this season too. The difference in the women’s game is that only a few players can make a living by just playing football – many of them also have a job or are studying. My sister is also studying at the moment, so it’s a very demanding career.
DFB.de: Do you think there should be more coverage for the Women’s Bundesliga?
Klostermann: Yes, though I think that a lot of progress has been made. You can already see a lot of the games on television.
DFB.de: Back to your career, and you made your Germany debut in March against Serbia. Was it a dream come true?
Klostermann: Absolutely. It always felt like the Germany teams was so far away, until all of a sudden, you’re in it. A lot of people messaged me afterwards and I received congratulations from former teammates, coaches and other backroom staff who have helped me during my career. It’s twice as special when you’re also making other people proud. After all, they’re part of the reason that I was able to make the Germany team.
DFB.de: That game against Serbia finished in a 1-1 draw. Were you happy with your own performance?
Klostermann: It’s always hard to judge your own performance. I felt good though and hope that I will get more game time.
DFB.de: How strong do you think this Germany team is looking ahead to EURO 2020?
Klostermann: We have a good squad with a lot of competition for places and young players. We certainly don’t need to be afraid of anyone. Ultimately, it will come down to us players to put in good performances if we want to be successful.###more###