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Konstantin Rausch: Stoeger is «number one» for me

Константин Рауш

He has a Russian passport, but also — both «working@ feet, high speed, almost a heightened sense of discipline. Konstantin Rausch’s endurance would be enough to finish building of the stadium in St. Petersburg. Even if he would do it alone with a bare hands.

His FC Koeln is growing this season which means that Rausch took a right decision to join one of the most attractive football society in the world. He has not played any single full match so far but made 2 assists already. One of it was by the right foot. Good purpose for Russia national team coach Stanislav Tschertschessov to fill the suffering left side by experienced but 26-year old only Bundesliga player. Or…?

— Konstantin Rausch, what should one do to become a german being born in Russia?
— My grandmother, mom’s mother, strongly intended to move to Germany, and she insisted that the whole family should live together. Finally my mother accepted that and now I live here.

— What should one do to become a football player, who persistently plays in the Bundesliga?
— There is not any universal formula, hundreds of different nuances determine that. It’s difficult for me to give a tip to someone, because everyone has one’s own fate and luck. But professional competence, right behavior in everyday life and ability to stint oneself in many things, which ordinary people enjoy, plays a great role. I don’t say that a football player cannot even go to party or meet some woman, but one should care oneself in the small details, control one’s organism. Because if to think only about parties, women, alcohol, your sportsman’s time will pass quickly. The ambition is necessary, which will move you forward.

— Is there something Russian in your character, which disturbed you for a long time, or is still disturbing you in Germany?
— I don’t think so. We had a very close-knit family, which brought me up properly. And that helped me very much in order that noting disturbed me. I think that family ties lie in the Russian mentality. I can’t say that the Germans don’t have that, but it’s likely that our sense is more developed. Russians are more persistent, one can say that sometimes they are perverse and obstinate in something. But it helps to adapt quicker in Germany. I didn’t have problems with adaptation either in school or in professional football.

— What was the most difficult situation for you in football, which you remember?
— Suicide of Robert Enke, the goalkeeper of Hannover 96, with whom I played. He was a fantastic man and decided to move on in such a way… The whole team had a severe depression, I still remember that.

— You have played in all junior and youth German national teams. Was there a chance to get into the main team?
— I had the most successful period in Hannover 96, when I actually played for all German national teams. But for the time being Philipp Lahm played in the main team as left back. He is a player of world level, so it was nearly impossible to break into there.

— It seemed as it was a promotion when you left Hannover 96 for VfB Stuttgart. But something went wrong there. How many coach changes occurred for two years when you were there?
— Four or five. Sometimes one has to make steps in the career not only forward but also backward. I have had an impression that in VfB Stuttgart many people talked about football, however not reaching the common ground. Each new coach brought new vision. They selected players, which were not a good match. The team wasn’t properly organized, that’s why a great misfortune occurred (in the last season VfB Stuttgart left the Bundesliga — It was my step with a “minus” mark from the sport point of view — I was going to the team with established reputation, was waiting for growth prospects, and it was the opposite. It is a great pity.

— After confident last season in SV Darmstadt 98 you received offers from Feyenoord, SV Werder Bremen and other clubs. Why did you choose FC Köln?
— I had a long dialogue with my family in order to make the right decision. And finally I am happy that I chose FC Köln. Here not only football ambitions made difference, but also human relations, interest in me of sport director Jorg Schmadtke, who knew me in Hannover 96, as well as of coach Peter Stoeger. There is an incredible atmosphere at the stadium in FC Köln, the city is mad about football on good terms. I was surprised that already on the second day after my transfer nearly everyone knew me by sight and wished me good luck. I admit, that I have never faced such before.

— Anyhow, who called you first of all — Schmadtke or Stoeger?
— Both played a great role in my transfer. It was clear, that Schmadtke had known me for a long time, by for me the coach’s position was important. We had a nice talk with Stoeger, found the common ground and after that I made my decision.

— What is Peter Stoeger like? A person, who is able to take up pressure of always football-addicted town of Cologne, where the whole life revolves around the team…
— Stoeger — is a very good person. And sometimes it is very funny with him. He works with pleasure and makes so that players do everything with pleasure. At the right moments he becomes… Not hard, no. He simply exactly announces his dissatisfaction, choosing the right words. For me just from the human point of view Stoeger is number one.

— But you began to play in the first eleven of Hannover 96 under Dieter Hecking, who had went for promotion long ago and now is knocking against VfL Wolfsburg…
— Of course, I’ll never forget about that it was Hecking who gave me the first big chance. And they are similar in some way with Stoeger. Hecking is more singular. More explosive, emotional. Stoeger’s peculiarity is that he knows precisely how and what the player thinks about and reacts correspondingly.

— Have you ever received offers from Russian clubs?
— Yes. Both earlier and during this off-season. We also gave thought to them. But just after conversations with Schmadtke and Stoeger I decided that I would stay in Germany.

— There was information that former chief coach of team Russia Leonid Slutskiy had been watching for you and reckoned upon you. Is it so, did he really come to see you in SV Darmstadt 98, when he was preparing the team squad for Euro-2016?
— Honestly I don’t know anything about it. And I have never talked to him.

— And now does someone come in contact from team Russia?
— No, no one.

— When were the last conversations concerning this topic with representatives of Russian Football Union?
— Actually, journalists called to me, asked me about the topic, whether I am ready to play for team Russia. Nobody else told me about that.

— So are you ready to play?
— I have always answered in the same way; yes, it’s interesting for me to play for Russia. That is why I made my passport very quickly. I was always sure that if to play more than two hundred matches in the Bundesliga, one can get into the national team. I have never forgot, where I was born, Russia is something special for me. And I would be very pleased to play for it.

— Have you seen matches of team Russia for the last year just once?
— Yes. I have also seen the European Championship.

— So what are your feelings?
— There are many strong players in the team, but something is missing for strong team play. In order to become a unified whole on the field, complete for one another one should work hard. In Germany I get used that everyone run a lot here. It is necessary in order to get progress in team play. If team Russia didn’t have problems with that at the European Championship the results would be better.

— For the whole season in SV Darmstadt 98 you’ve had enough running for the whole life, haven’t you?
— It’s true, from the football point of view the team wasn’t prepared very good. We really ran a lot, fought, and by doing so we should also know how to run and with whom to fight in order to achieve results. But SV Darmstadt 98 had to devote oneself on the pitch in order to stay in the Bundesliga. We wouldn’t achieve such a result without that.

— SV Darmstadt 98 jollified the Bundesliga on the fly by the old stadium with small changing rooms and was one of the main candidates to relegation…
— We have jollified many. From the very beginning they predicted us maximum 20 points and even less. SV Darmstadt 98 was the main candidate to relegation. But as a result all this underestimation had even helped a little. Because there were not we, who were under pressure before the match, but our rivals. They were “obliged” to take three points from SV Darmstadt 98, which didn’t always turn out to be so…

— And why did you have only two victories at home?
— It’s difficult to explain. Maybe it’s combination of different minor circumstances. At home we played more often even better, but the production was lax somehow. We were able to create eight chances and use one, and away we had 3-4 and almost all were realized. Sometimes in football many things depend on luck indeed.

— What kind of coach is Dirk Schuster, who teach everybody how to run right?
— Emotional, sometimes he can be hard. But this hardness is likely positive, he always wanted to set the team for victory, give it the impulse. As a result, in each match SV Darmstadt 98 gave it all for one hundred percent or even more. Schuster had proved a lot in football — it was he who moved SV Darmstadt 98 from the third league to the second, and from the second to the first, and even held it in it. I think he will work out well in FC Augsburg.

— So you were looking at the left wing… Have you seen yourself in this team? That you can give to Russian national team something more? With your working capacity and besides left leg?
— Maybe I could help, but it’s difficult to judge from far off. It frustrates me when I think about Roman Neustädter, that he had carried out not the best tournament, but for any football player it is a problem to show oneself, when the whole team is not co-ordinated. I think it would be also difficult for me to show myself on the European Championship. But, of course, I’d like to help…

— Are you well-acquainted with Roman?
— I can’t say that we are closely acquainted, but when we meet each other we communicate normally.

— Then he should have consulted you, when he was making a passport. You said that you’ve done it quickly, but Roman had difficulties…
— No, he didn’t consult me. Yet I know that it is forbidden for him to have German passport any longer.

— You left Russia when you were five years old. Do you remember something about it?
— Oh, hardly. We lived in Kozhevnikovo, in Tomsk region. Then we moved. Since 13 years old I have been mostly playing football, my vacations don’t coincide with vacations of my family. Plus tough training schedule from an early age. I simply didn’t have time to come… I’d like to see Russia very much, but now I have no idea when.

— Nevertheless you speak perfectly good Russian. How do you maintain it?
— With the help of my parents. They speak German worse than Russian, so we talk in it. Of course, sometimes it’s difficult for me to answer in Russian. Unfortunately I can’t read. I went to school in Germany when I was seven years old. Usually children go from six years old, but I spent an excess year while I was improving my language.

— When you meet Russians in Germany, do you speak with them?
— Yes, there are a lot of them here! And many lived in Darmstadt. I have many friends and acquaintances both among Germans and among Russians.

— Artyom Rudnev from Latvia plays with you in FC Köln.
— We deal perfectly with each other! First we lived together with Rudi in the hotel, because we hadn’t found residence in Cologne yet. I have better German, than Russian, he has vice versa. So such neighborhood was advantageous for both.

— Has Germany changed since you’ve moved to it?
— I can say that it’s very good to live in Germany, I had opportunity to check it myself, you understand. Here everything is organized on the high level, including that, which is tied with the issues of adaptation of newcomers from other countries. Problems can occur only when the person has just moved, or doesn’t speak German at all. But I don’t know people, who would say that they don’t like to live in Germany. There are rules and they work. It’s convenient. It’s hard to imagine what is missing here.

— The trains started to come late constantly. It’s too often for Germany…
(Laughs). I don’t know, I’ve heard about it also ten years ago, and now!

— What is your notion of Russia? Probably you watch news…
— For the past time there is too much news about Russia, tied with politics. It bothers a bit. But I don’t have Russian TV broadcast at home, so I mostly know about everything from my parents. I can’t say that I am absorbed in everything — I try to think more about my own affairs. After all not everything, about which is spoken on TV, is true. That’s why I try not to stuff my head with news.

Text: Ivan Zhidkov 

Video: Natalia Zhidkova

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