Nicolas "Chicco" Höfler has had to miss two games recently: first he was kept out of action by a suspension before the birth of his fifth child led him to miss our most recent fixture.
The 31-year-old gave an interview ahead of the home game against Schalke on Saturday (15.30 CEST).
scfreiburg.com: Chicco, how many hours sleep did you get last night?
Nicolas Höfler: To be honest, I’ve slept a fair bit today because I was so drained. I just lay down in bed with my older daughter and slept a few hours like that.
Your private life is your private life, of course, but you can imagine why we ask – can you describe last Thursday for us a little?
I flew to Bielefeld with the team as normal. Shortly after dinner at the hotel, my wife called and I had an idea of what she was going to say. She said: “Sorry honey, but my waters have broken.” (laughs) It was obvious to me that I had to go home immediately. [Team manager] Torsten Bauer drove me and luckily I got there in time for the birth.
You are now a father for the fifth time. Has this become something of a routine?
It’s not like it was the first time, but I still wouldn’t say it’s a routine. Every time is very special. Especially when I see what my wife goes through before the child arrives. Now we are just really happy with our new daughter Sola.
How was the first meeting between her and her siblings?
The kids were really happy when we brought the baby home from hospital. She was sized up immediately and each of them took her into the arms. They are really proud to have a younger sister to take care of.
At times like this, other things are of course more important than football. Nevertheless: did you watch the game against Bielefeld?
Yes, of course. It’s a massive shame that we weren’t able to win the game. In the first half we played a decent game and we had to build on that. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to do that. We weren’t accurate enough with the ball and were not able to withstand the game so well physically. Arminia had their backs against the wall at times but they managed to get the upper hand and win the game with quite a lucky goal.
The game in Bielefeld was the second in a row that you had to watch on TV. The week before, against Borussia Mönchengladbach, you were suspended after amassing too many yellow cards. Before that it was unthinkable that you might miss multiple games in a row. The last time it happened was at the end of 2018 and the start of 2019. How much are you looking forward to playing again this coming Saturday?
I am really looking forward to it, especially because the game I was suspended for was before the international break. That means that it’s been four weeks since I played a competitive match. I really miss being out on the pitch with the lads every week, fighting for the three points.
How would you describe yourself as a TV viewer?
Normally I am the quiet, analytical type. I try to recognise things and consider what could be done better so that we can put that into practice right away in the next training session. But if there are missed chances or I see something differently to the referee then I can also get a bit louder.
Next up is a home game against Schalke. Have you found the time to watch their 1-0 win against Augsburg last week?
I actually did take a look because it interests me to see who we are playing the next week. But the real analysis is still to come with the coaching staff.
What do you remember of the previous meeting?
I remember that we won 2-0 with Roland Sallai scoring both goals. We were able to prey upon Schalke’s uncertainty and didn’t let them show their old strengths.
How do we have to set up to get points again?
It’s important for us to play with power and dynamism for the full 90 minutes. When we do that, we are better in the tackles, better at starting attacks and better at switching from defence to attack.