It is in the square every three days. Benjamin Henrichs dances at several weddings with the Bundesliga, the Cup, the Champions League and the national team. What does that do to a player?
Three years ago he won the Confed Cup with Germany. After three years of abstinence, he celebrated his comeback in October. Benjamin Henrichs has played four international matches so far. His last so far in the friendly against Turkey in October. A month later, the professional of RB Leipzig is nominated again – and he hopes for his chance to convince the national coach.
In an interview with Chillreport, Henrichs tells about two difficult years in France, the current high stress level as a professional football player and what his big advantage is in the national team.
Photo series with 28 photos
Chillreport: Mr. Henrichs, how is the patellar tendon? You’ve had a few issues with that recently. Are you ready for the upcoming games?
Benjamin Henrichs (23): I had a long break in the summer because the season in France was interrupted. In the past few weeks, after I moved to Leipzig, there were suddenly a lot of competitions. I hope it is enough for tonight’s game against the Czech Republic. But it will certainly be a game.
In general, the tax is currently quite high. Bundesliga. Champions League. National team.
There’s a lot going on. Travel in particular should not be underestimated. You are away for the Champions League for three days, then you have another away game in the Bundesliga, in which you are out for two days. You can then stay at home for two days. We players have to go through that now.
Last month you had to travel home after the Turkey game. How confident are you that you will be longer this time?
In October there was an agreement that I would leave after the match against Turkey. This time there is no such agreement.
Do you have time to relax after busy appointments?
It is not easy. You have a match on Saturday and the day after you are broken. The second day after that you are actually still broken, but then you have the last training for the next match.
How do you best regenerate?
I make sure I sleep well, that helps me. I also always go to the cold room in Leipzig. There are -110 degrees in the room. Then I feel fresh again.
In 2017 you won the Confederations Cup, but before your nomination in October, you were outside the national team for three years. Were you in doubt whether the national coach would contact you at all?
It has not been easy for me in Monaco. The two years (from 2018 to 2020, editor’s note) have been difficult. As a team we did not perform technically, we had to fight against relegation. My expectations were different. The European U21 Championship in 2019 went very well then, during which time I was in contact with the national coach. Shortly afterwards, I got injured again. It wasn’t that easy, but now I am happy to be able to play for Germany again.
Benjamin Henrichs: The national player in a video interview with Chillreport sports editor Noah Platschko. (Source: Screenshot Noah Platschko / Chillreport)
Did you feel that Joachim Löw was less focused on you during your stay in Monaco?
I think it depends on the player. Thilo Kehrer in Paris was and is the best example that such a step can go in the right direction. Ultimately it depends on how you perform. If you do your best, you will end up with the national team.
Oliver Bierhoff spoke Monday from a “dark cloud” above the national team. How do you see the public’s opinion of the DFB team?
After my last mission against Turkey, I felt that the audience was very focused on the results. No attention was paid to whether a player had not been there for a long time or whether he had been under a lot of stress. It looked at 3: 3. It was shot at. The focus was not on the bigger picture.
You could play 90 minutes against Turkey. What is your goal in the national team?
My first goal is to secure my place in the squad – and in the second step to make it as difficult as possible for the national coach to get past me.
How much do you benefit from your flexibility?
That is certainly not a disadvantage. Under Julian Nagelsmann I played in four different positions in the first four games. With him I was in the right back position in the last practice, in the match itself he used me occasionally in eighth and sixth position. So I am willing to take on different tasks.
You are generally considered a mature professional and took to the streets in June as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Has our society developed further in the field of racism in recent years?
There is racism, but there is also ignorant racism. The important thing is to point out to people who may not know what they are saying that they are expressing themselves racially. If something changes, you can say you are on the right track. But when people are stubborn and don’t recognize their own racism, development is lagging behind.