In the space of just a few months, David Raum has grown from a second division player to a Germany international. In the second round of the DFB-Pokal, the Hoffenheim fullback will be up against Holstein Kiel on Tuesday at 18:30 CEST. The 23-year-old spoke in an interview with DFB.de about the excitement surrounding the DFB-Pokal, his impressive progress and his experiences with the national team.
DFB.de: Mr. Raum, back at the start of this year, you were a second division player and a Germany U21s international. Now you are playing in the Bundesliga, took part in the Olympic Games this summer and have won two caps for the senior national team. Does this journey seem crazy to you sometimes?
David Raum: I get asked about it a lot. I’m in the middle of it, I’m living this dream and I have to say, it’s all gone extremely quickly. I’m enjoying it, riding the high a bit and using it as motivation to keep working hard on my game. Who knows what else might be possible? Of course, there are moments when you stop to think about everything you’ve achieved, but I’m rarely satisfied with myself, so I prefer to use it as motivation.
DFB.de: Your DFB-Pokal game against Holstein Kiel is around the corner. Are cup games particularly special to you?
Raum: Cup games are always special, because every game is like a final. And that’s how you have to approach it as well. For me, the DFB-Pokal has always gone quite well, including at Greuther Fürth. Perhaps that game last season against TSG Hoffenheim actually brought me here.
DFB.de: As you said, Hoffenheim lost on penalties to Fürth. Back then, you were still on the other team, the winning team. What is your memory of this game?
Raum: Obviously very positive. For TSG it’s a bad memory though, of course. For me, this game was a bigger stage for me to make a name for myself against a Bundesliga team. It might even have been in the back of my mind that they might be interested in me if I played well. I was a free agent in the summer and hadn’t made any decisions on my future yet. Hoffenheim have always been interesting for me, because it is among the best clubs for young ambitious players to develop. I played well and even scored a penalty. When I got a message from my agent after the game that TSG were interested, I was over the moon.
DFB.de: You also beat Holstein Kiel last season, winning both league games against them and then snatching the automatic promotion spot from them on the final day. What are your thoughts now looking back on this crazy race for promotion?
Raum: I still remember it of course, but it’s actually quite hard to imagine now. We knew we weren’t in the best position two matchdays from the end…
DFB.de: Four points behind Kiel…
Raum: Exactly. We said to ourselves: If we do our homework, something might still be possible. The craziest part was the final matchday, when we turned the game around against Fortuna Düsseldorf despite being a man down. That just showed how amazing our team was. I was proud to leave the club where I had become a pro on this note.
DFB.de: Holstein Kiel are having a tricky start to the season. What do you think of their team at the moment?
Raum: I always keep an eye on the Bundesliga 2 and on Holstein Kiel. I know a few players at the club. I played with Phil Neumann in the Germany youth teams and with Fabian Reese at Greuther Fürth. For me, Kiel is a team with a lot of potential who have always played good football in recent times. Even if things aren’t all going to plan at the moment, we have to take them just as seriously as any opponent in the Bundesliga.
DFB.de: How big is the difference between the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2?
Raum: Of course the individual players have more quality. When someone like Kingsley Coman is dribbling at you, it’s totally different to the second tier. But the Bundesliga 2 is just as intense in terms of physicality and running. I think that it’s those things that give me an edge. Now I’m playing in the Bundesliga I can develop even more.
DFB.de: Finally, let’s talk about the national team again. How surprised were you to be called up by Hansi Flick just after the Olympics?
Raum: Very surprised! It was on a Thursday, the day before the away game against Borussia Dortmund. I knew that the international break was coming up but I wasn’t even thinking about the possibility that I might be selected. I had only played two Bundesliga matches for TSG and first wanted to be performing as well as possible at club level. Suddenly I had a missed call and a message on my phone telling me to call back - from Hansi Flick. I was very excited, called him back and received the good news. I was really proud and rang my family who all thought it was amazing. I’ll always remember that moment.
DFB.de: How were you welcomed into the Germany squad?
Raum: Really well. I only knew the other players from TV because I had been playing in the Bundesliga 2 before. Of course I was in awe at meeting that calibre of player, guys who have won everything. But they are also just people. Everyone was good with me and it was nice to have Karim Adeyemi, Florian Wirtz and Nico Schlotterbeck there from the U21 EUROS. At the start I would mostly be with them but pretty quickly mixed with everyone. We got to know the other players and it was good to speak with them. We have a great team spirit.
DFB.de: The team has won all five games under Hansi Flick. You played in the 6-0 win over Armenia and the 4-0 win against North Macedonia. You have achieved World Cup qualification. How will you face the next challenges with the national team?
Raum: Of course I would love to be selected again in November and we also know that the World Cup is next year. It would be a dream to be there but to achieve that I have to be playing well at club level and work hard to improve. We’ll see what’s possible for next year as so much happened this year.