Marcel Seegert and SV Waldhof Mannheim go up against Eintracht Frankfurt in the first round of the DFB-Pokal for the second time since 2019 on Sunday (15:30 CEST). In this latest interview with DFB.de, the captain (27) speaks to Oliver Jensen about this renewed rivalry, his bond with the club and the start of the 3. Liga season.
DFB.de: Mr. Seegert, does the cup game against Eintracht Frankfurt feel like a chance for revenge?
Marcel Seegert: For sure. It has been two years now since the last cup game against Frankfurt and even though we were knocked out that time unfortunately, I’d rather remember the positives from that match because it was a festival of football. Every football fan in Germany saw what a cup game that was. We are looking forward to Sunday and the best case scenario would of course be to take revenge.
DFB.de: In August 2019 you took on Eintracht Frankfurt with SV Waldhof Mannheim, were leading 2-0 after 11 minutes and in the end lost 5-3. What do you remember of that match?
Seegert: We got off to a really quick start and were playing with total freedom. We were doing well together as a team and had with us this elation from having just been promoted. We even surprised ourselves by going two goals up so quickly. Before half-time we conceded twice from two shots. In the second half the game was pretty one-sided. Even so, we took the lead again through Jan-Hendrix Marx’s long-range effort. Then it was really about the individual quality of Ante Rebic who scored three in the last 15 minutes.
DFB.de: What lessons can you draw from that match?
Seegert: After going 3-2 up we should have kept everyone behind the ball, even though that’s not our style. We wanted to keep playing our attractive brand of football, which was a bit naive.
DFB.de: For Eintracht Frankfurt, this cup game will be their first competitive game of the season, while you have now played twice in the third division. Can that give you an advantage?
Seegert: Yes that could be an advantage. Pre-season games and competitive games are two completely different things. Of course we hope that lots of fans are allowed to come because a big crowd would help us.
DFB.de: As a former Mainz player and a current Mannheim player, do you feel a particular rivalry with derby-opponents Eintracht Frankfurt?
Seegert: For me, Frankfurt is a likeable club with great long-standing tradition. I did start my career at Mainz, but at heart I’m a Waldhöfer. It is well-known that there is friendship between the two sets of fans, which is why it was such a festival of football before. We did lose 5-3, but even so, all 24,000 spectators left happy. It would be nice to experience that again even with a smaller crowd.
DFB.de: After two matches, SV Waldhof Mannheim have one point on the board. How would you rate your start to the season?
Seegert: Of course we thought we’d have more than one point. Unfortunately against Magdeburg we completely gave away the game in the first half. In the second game against the Borussia Dortmund reserves we had the better chances and that was two dropped points.
DFB.de: The squad has changed a lot since last season, including ten departures. Is the team still finding its feet?
Seegert: Yes definitely. Four of the ten who left were key players for us, but in Marc Schnatterer and Fridolin Wagner we have gained two players who can help us immediately with their quality. Everyone knows that the squad is very thin and we need to bring in another two or three players. On a positive note, seven regular starters from last season are still with us, so we and the coaching staff have good continuity.
DFB.de: Your president, Bernd Beetz, talks openly about promotion to Bundesliga 2. Can the team handle this level of expectation?
Seegert: I’m always striving for progression. Having finished in ninth and then eighth place, it cannot be our goal to be twelfth this season. The club’s management have also said, however, that this season is about making improvements. That means seventh or anything above. If we achieve that, we would be within touching distance of going even further. Nevertheless, we also have to remember that this league is very tough. A mixture of level-headedness and big-thinking is definitely the right mentality.
DFB.de: You are the captain of Waldhof Mannheim and your twin brother, Nico Seegert, works in the youth academy. Do you and your family have a particularly close relationship with the club?
Seegert: Absolutely. Our granddad used to play for the Waldhof Mannheim first-team and we spent several years in the youth system. I’m going into my 16th year with this club overall. In the meantime, it was the right step to join the youth teams of TSG Hoffenheim and 1. FSV Mainz because there, young talents have the right conditions to develop further. But now I feel very privileged to be able to play for a club where I really feel a sense of belonging. Nowadays in professional football that is no guarantee.