INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK: FREDDIE JÄKEL
Frederik Jäkel is in his second and perhaps final season with the Coastal Boys. This season he was a strongman in defense. He was rewarded with second place in the Puis Verbiest Trophy. We spoke with him about his future, his first goal for KVO and his injuries.
Frederik, congratulations on your second place for Player of the Season, this must be a nice recognition for a strong season.
Indeed, although soccer is a team sport, it is always nice to get individual recognition. I try to give everything for the club every match so it's nice to get that recognition from the fans. Thanks for that!
You couldn't receive the trophy on Saturday because you were home sick.
Pfff shut up about it, that was such a shame. All the more so that I also missed the match at Union due to illness. I had a hard time back then. I had a fever and hardly had any food, so I lost a few kilos. I was content that I could rejoin the group in the run-up to the match against Seraing but I suspect that the tough training sessions in the beginning of the week were to the detriment of my weakened body. So I got the weather bumps and had to call in sick again on the match day. I would play with a normal runny nose, but when you have a fever and feel like a dishrag, it doesn't make much sense. So I was forced to watch the match from home. It was not a good match but the most important thing is that we secured the preservation in extremis.
You are rented for two seasons from RB Leipzig, so this means that it will be your last months at KVO. Do you already know something more about the future?
Nothing is fixed for next season yet. I also found it important to first finish the season well here before I can look to the future. I'll stay here to train until the beginning of May, then I'll see. I especially want a team that gives me chances next season. I am 21 years old now, so it is important that I can play a lot. It does not necessarily have to be a big team, just a team that has confidence in me and where I get the right opportunities. Who knows, maybe that will stay KVO?
Did you have much contact with Leizpig during your time here?
Yes, Leipzig has a coach who deals with all the loan players. Currently, I think, between five and seven players are on loan from Leipzig. The coach watches every match I play. After the match he contacts me to talk about the match. Also, if there are any problems I can always contact him.
Going back to last season, how did you end up here?
I had a choice between several clubs. There were also clubs from the second Bundesliga. I finally chose KV Oostende because I had the best feeling here. The Jupiler Pro League is a nice competition for young players to grow. Alexander Blessin also convinced me to come here. I still had him as a trainer with the youth at Leipzig. Looking back, it was a good choice to come here. I've had two great seasons.
You did arrive here injured, that must have been hard.
That was indeed not the easiest period. It took four weeks before they knew what was wrong with my back. That's why I was out for so long. As a new player, it is always difficult to integrate with a new club, and when you are injured, it is even more difficult. I constantly had to do exercises alone and could never train with the group. It took four months before I made my debut against Anderlecht. After that it went better and better. I gained confidence and got to know the competition better. This season I could participate in the entire preparation. That is always an advantage. Every coach here, Alexander, Markus and Yves all immediately gave me the confidence to play. This ensures that I can look back on this season with satisfaction. Of course I still make mistakes but I notice that I have experienced a nice progression. It was good for my career to be able to play every week.
You have a good relationship with Alexander Blessin, hasn't he asked to come and play at Genoa next season?
No (laughs). I do still have contact with him. Recently he called me to congratulate me on my birthday. He also asks from time to time how I'm still doing. On Monday I happened to watch Hellas Verona - Genoa. Too bad for him that they lose that match.
Did you know some of the guys at KVO at the time?
I already knew Nick (Bätzner). I played against him in the German youth cup final. Stuttgart won the cup undeservedly (laughs). I also knew goalkeeper trainer Ebo from Leipzig. This season a few more German speakers joined the team. It's always nice to be able to speak your native language, but actually I have a good connection with everyone on the team.
Your first goal for KVO against KRC Genk must have been a special moment too.
That was a 'crazy' game. We were down 2-0 but could come back to 2-2. To then score the decisive 3-4, that is a fantastic feeling. Kenny (Rocha Santos) said after the game that I should thank him for the 'assist' (laughs). But everyone knows it was just a failed shot by him (laughs).
Do you have a dream club or league?
I think every footballer dreams of the Premier league. The matches have such a high intensity and those fans there are of a different level. They really live for soccer. I also love to watch the Premier League. So playing there is definitely a dream.
You watch a lot of soccer in your spare time but are there any things you like to do outside of soccer like that?
In general, I like sports a lot. Off-season I like to play tennis or volleyball. After the trainings I mostly do quiet things like Playstation This is also a way to keep in touch with my friends from Germany. I am actually a very calm guy. That is why I like Ostend so much. It's a calm city, also because of the beach you always have peace here. My family also likes to come to Ostend. When they are here, we sometimes visit another city in Belgium, which is always great.
There is now only one match left on which little depends. As a player, how hard is it to get pumped up for this?
We should be happy that "nothing" depends on it anymore. The game against Seraing was not good. So we have to make sure that we can end the season on Saturday in a nice way. I also said at the beginning of the season that I want to score four goals, and at the moment I'm only scoring three. So I know what I have to do on Saturday (laughs).