Martin Thomann is a financial advisor and insurance broker by trade. For fourth-division side 1. FC Schweinfurt 05, however, he scored the first goal of the DFB-Pokal tie with FC Schalke 04 in a 4-1 defeat. The 26-year-old discussed the ‘game of his life’ so far and almost pulling off an upset in an interview with DFB.de.
DFB.de: Although the DFB-Pokal game against Bundesliga side FC Schalke 04 ended 4-1, 1. FC Schweinfurt 05 looked quite close to pulling off an upset at one point. What do you make of the game?
Martin Thomann: On the whole, we’re really pleased with our performance. I thought we were the better side in the first half and we caused Schalke problems. Despite the result, it was a great and valuable experience.
DFB.de: Schweinfurt started well and took the lead thanks to your goal. Describe how the moment felt.
Thomann: It’s hard to put into words. You obviously hope for something like that in the days before the game, but it was unbelievable that it actually happened. Scoring a goal against a Bundesliga side in such a big stadium just feels great.
DFB.de: You must’ve felt like you could pull off an upset after that, right?
Thomann: Of course. That made it even more frustrating that we made simple mistakes and let them back in the game so quickly.
DFB.de: Schweinfurt were behind going into the break after Schalke scored two quick goals before half time. Did your goal make the team take their foot off the gas for a little bit?
Thomann: The problem was that we weren’t sure whether to sit deeper or to keep pressing. That meant that the distance between the defence and attack was too big for a few minutes, and Schalke exploited that.
DFB.de: Your team then had a big opportunity to equalise in the second half, but your teammate Amar Suljic’s penalty was saved by Schalke keeper Ralf Fährmann. Was that a key moment?
Thomann: I think so, yes. You don’t get that many chances against a Bundesliga side, so missing a penalty hurts a lot. Schalke did well after that and we weren’t able to put them under pressure. If we had scored the penalty, that would have definitely been different, but we didn’t. We have to accept that.
DFB.de: Schalke made it 4-1 towards the end of the game. Do you have a greater sense of disappointment having gone out of the cup or pride for matching a Bundesliga side as a fourth-division side for long periods?
Thomann: Definitely pride. Obviously you always want to win as a sportsman, so we were naturally a little disappointed too after losing. But nonetheless, we’re going into the early winter break with a good feeling. We gave it our all and we made it really difficult for a Bundesliga side.
DFB.de: You pointed to it: The Bavarian Football Association has decided to end football for the year in the Bavarian fourth-division due to the nationwide coronavirus lockdown. What are your thoughts heading into another long break?
Thomann: As a footballer, there’s nothing worse than not being able to play for such a long time. Before our 2-0 loss in the league at Viktoria Aschaffenburg in October, we had more than half a year without a game. Now it’ll be another few months before we’re able to carry on playing again. We’ll all try and stay fit at home as well as we can and go jogging a lot. If you’re looking for positives in the next break, it’s the extra time we’ll be able to spend with our families; you don’t see get to see them much in the normal season.
DFB.de: You only returned to Schweinfurt, the club where you spent time as a youth player, in July after five years at TSV Aubstadt. What are you looking to achieve back at the club?
Thomann: We definitely want to win promotion to the 3. Liga. That has to be the aim. We also want to do as well as we can in the new cup competition. When we get going again in 2021, we’ll do everything to get promoted.