BENCE BABJÁK 2022.05.28 09:59 Frissítve: 2022.05.28 09:59

Nobody should underestimate us – Dominik Szoboszlai

Players from the German Bundesliga, who are full of confidence, join the Hungarian team's preparations. In an exclusive interview with our newspaper, Dominik Szoboszlai, the midfielder who won the German Cup with Leipzig, talked about the celebration, the fewer opportunities to play, being a role model, and the upcoming Nations League clash.

Photo: Miklós Szabó



Few minutes of play, poor performance, injuries.


As in recent years, RB Leipzig's lineup continues to start with Péter Gulácsi's name, and the 32-year-old goalkeeper has the captain's armband on his arm. He played 15 games without conceding a goal last season and was also a star in the German Cup final sending Janik Haberer's shot toward the goalpost with his fingertip in the 15-minute extra time. After the final whistle, he was the first to lift the trophy. "I've had the biggest success of my career so far," he told our newspaper the day after the final. "The German Cup has a huge prestige, its significance is huge in this country. Plus, if you think about the path we've taken to get to this point... This was our third final, we have also played in the Champions League and Europa League semifinals, we have a silver and a bronze medal in the Bundesliga, but now we have taken the last step and finally got the first trophy." 

In the last ten or twenty years, we have heard countless times before the national team meeting that the head coach is in a difficult situation because few footballers are working with him who are decisive in any European top league. Unfortunately, this was often the case. However, before the Nations League games in June, it is great news for Marco Rossi that a group of players from the Bundesliga is coming to Telki full of confidence. Péter Gulácsi, Willi Orbán, and Dominik Szoboszlai recorded a fourth place in the league and a German Cup victory with Leipzig in the 2021-2022 season. András Schäfer, who plays for Union Berlin, finished fifth and Roland Sallai finished sixth with Freiburg in the Bundesliga, the latter two footballers will be in the Europa League in the fall. What else can we say before the national team matches: keep it up!

– Which one is more tiring: playing 60 minutes with a man down in the German Cup final or celebrating for a day?
– Let's just say that both are tiring of their kind – Dominik Szoboszlai, the 21-year-old midfielder of RB Leipzig and the Hungarian national team, replied to our newspaper. – As far as the final is concerned, obviously, it was not easy to play when Freiburg was leading 2-1, and we were in a man down. I didn't think I would have to get on the pitch like this, but in the end, everything went well.

Have you ever played a game of this intensity?
– I've never done anything like this before. So far, I may have experienced similar conditions in the Champions League group match against Liverpool at Anfield as a player of Salzburg. It was there that I felt the most that we were playing in a special atmosphere against a big team, although the stakes were much higher in Berlin than the three points in a group match.



Willi Orbán was impossible to be left out of Leipzig's defense. He quietly played his 150th Bundesliga match, and he calmly scored a goal in the German Cup final penalty shootout. He celebrated the first trophy of his career. "I just focused on staying calm and not making mistakes in the shot technic wise," the 29-year-old defender said. "Since I was performing well in the 120 minutes before the shot, I had no problems with my confidence. It was an emotional evening, many years of hard work finally paid off, and I hope this is just the beginning. The celebration? It was a fantastic night, all the club's employees and family members attended the party. And this time, I also drank more than a glass of wine."

Leipzig won 4-2 in the penalty shootout. Had Freiburg's Emir Demirovic scored his penalty in the final round, would you have been the fifth kicker from Leipzig?
– Yes. 

I guess you don't mind that that strike didn't happen...
– Yes and no. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy to win the cup, I am glad that we won the final, and the most important thing is that we took home the trophy. At the same time, I would've liked to have scored a penalty as the fifth player. I love situations like this, it's worth playing for situations like this, that's when we can feel really like a footballer, and it would've been good for my soul to have a moment like this. I could have walked there thinking that if I score, we'd win, but if I don't, the battle would continue. Before the last penalty in Freiburg, I was a little nervous when I thought about it. In the end, it turned out differently, but I would've really enjoyed the moment, I'm sure.

What was it like to celebrate with the fans on the open-top bus the next day?
– Superb! I experienced something like this for the first time in my life because when the national team qualified for the European Championship in France, I was only watching the matches on television, and there was no such a celebration after the championship golds in Salzburg. Last Sunday, tens of thousands of fans accompanied us through the city, and this cannot be compared to what was in Austria.

– You played in the semifinals on the European stage, in the Europa League, and in the Final of the German Cup for the first time this season. Are such intense matches a distinct genre within the football world?
– Not in terms of preparation. I considered all the matches the same. However, it's a fact that if we lose a game in the Bundesliga, we will not lose anything, but in the Europa League, in a match-rematch battle, a single movement can decide the most important question. The German Cup final was similar as anything can happen in a single match after all. And that “anything” happened: we got a red card in a one-goal disadvantage, but fortunately, we still managed to win the cup.



Although Freiburg, where Roland Sallai plays, was expected to be in the middle in the rankings before the season started, they were in for fourth place in the Champions League until the last round, and in the German Cup, the team marched to the final for the first time in their history – though they lost to Leipzig on penalties. No wonder that the day after the final, 10 000 (!) fans were waiting for the team in front of the city theater in Freiburg, and during the solemn greeting, the players wrote their names one after the other in the city's memorial book. The Hungarian attacker, who assisted in the cup final, also played part in the success: he fought to be back in the starting lineup in the spring and finished the season with five goals and six assists.

You finished the season with ten goals, nine assists, a German Cup win, and a Europa League semifinal in 45 games. We wish you never worse than this!
– In terms of results, it shall never be worse, especially since in the first half of the season, we didn't perform as planned. We got back on our feet in the spring and won a trophy, but I want to be an even more decisive player on the team and get more opportunities.

What is needed to make this happen?
– I did everything I could, both in training and the matches, to prove myself to head coach Domenico Tedesco and see that I really use the opportunity. This mentality will not change in the future, the rest will depend on the manager.

Looking at your first full season in Leipzig, what do you need to improve on the most?
– Improving, both physically and mentally, is possible in everything. Perhaps the most difficult thing is that, for nine months, we have to be in top form in three different competitions, and we always have to give 100% of ourselves every three days. But it is the only approach that leads us to celebrate with the fans in the end. There is no other way.

How much do you sense about the fact that even though you're only twenty-one years old, several youth players consider you their role model?
– Sometimes this kind of information reaches me too, and it feels good to have someone see me as a role model. I hope I will continue to play this role in the future. And, of course, I know it's not just the performance on the field that matters. We need to pay attention to how we behave outside the stadium, and how we treat others, even if we are in a bad mood or have a bad day, we cannot forget ourselves. Of course, everyone can be in a bad mood and can make mistakes, but we should avoid such situations as much as possible.

How do you feel about the upcoming Nations League games?
– I can't wait for the home game against England to start! We have tough games ahead of us, but the team showed last summer that we can compete with any opponent. We weren't the favorites then either, but we've improved so much in the last few years that no national team can underestimate us. If we put on the performance that we are capable of, there will be no team that would like to play against us.

– How many points do you expect in the four matches in June?
– I don't like to guess and think too far ahead, especially when we haven't played a game yet. All I can promise you is that we will do everything on the pitch. This is the fundament of everything.


In the last year, perhaps the most changed for András Schäfer among the Hungarian players abroad. Last May, who would have thought that the midfielder, who was still playing at DAC at the time, would be one of the best footballers of the Hungarian national team at the European Championship, and in the winter he would sign for Union Berlin, with which he finished fifth in the Bundesliga?
"It's like as if I'm living my dreams in the spring," said the footballer, who was initially hampered by a minor injury in Berlin, but he caught up with himself in time, got opportunities to play as a substitute, and scored his first Bundesliga goal in the away league match against Freiburg. In the fall, he will be in the group stage of the Europa League and based on last year, who knows where the limit is.

June 4, 6pm: 
June 7, 8.45pm: Italy-HUNGARY
June 11, 8.45pm: HUNGARY-Germany
June 14, 8.45pm: England-HUNGARY
September 23, 8.45pm:
September 26, 8.45pm: HUNGARY-Italy

June 4, Saturday
HUNGARY-England, Budapest
8.45pm: Italy-Germany, Bologna
June 7, Tuesday
8.45pm: Germany-England, Munich
8.45pm: Italy-HUNGARY, Cesena
June 11, Saturday
8.45pm: England-Italy, Wolverhampton
8.45pm: HUNGARY-Germany, Budapest
June 14, Tuesday
England-HUNGARY, Wolverhampton
8.45pm: Germany-Italy, Mönchengladbach

Translated by Vanda Orosz

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