The training ground in Hohenbuschei has been a hive of activity since Saturday morning. At 10:30 CET precisely, Enrico Maaßen kicked off his first training session as boss of the U23s. The new head coach is joined at the BVB reserves by fellow new arrivals Pascal Bieler, the assistant coach, and Benjamin Schüßler, the athletics coach. Furthermore, there are 12 new additions to the playing staff at the Regionalliga outfit.
On top of the transfers that had already been wrapped up, goalkeeper Krystian Wozniak, defender Henri Weigelt and midfield strategist Philipp Harlaß were today unveiled at late notice. Wozniak originally comes from Poznan in Poland and will join the Black & Yellows following spells with Eintracht Braunschweig, RW Oberhausen and Schalke 04, while Weigelt has joined on a free transfer from AZ Alkmaar. He had moved to the Dutch top-flight club following an excellent season with Arminia Bielefeld, but experienced back luck with injuries and often ended up playing for the reserves. "We hope that he can get his career going again with us and at the same time bring stability to our defence," stated Ingo Preuß, the sporting director of the U23s. Philipp Harlaß comes from the 1. FC Nuremberg U23s and is, according to coach Maaßen, "very strong, energetic, dangerous in front of goal and versatile". Maaßen is full of optimism about the new signing: "He is very active, a very interesting lad with a good mentality. We're looking forward to having him."
"I want us to present ourselves as a team"
After a short speech by Ingo Preuß, Maaßen and his team took centre-stage. The new coach made it clear what he expects from the team in the coming season: "I want us to present ourselves as a team. And for the players on the bench to be as happy about a goal as the boys on the pitch." This unity is one factor that has already set his previous teams apart, and Maaßen wants to replicate that united front with the young Black & Yellows.
First on the agenda was a warm-up and a short athletics session, then the players started to work with the ball. Following a passing exercise with several variations in terms of runs and touches, things got really intense after about 60 minutes. Two drills with neutral passing options and small 1-metre goals rounded off the 90-minute session. The next training session is already scheduled for Sunday, with the traditional performance diagnostics test to follow next week.
Photo (f.l.t.r.): Assistant coach Pascal Bieler, head coach Enrico Maaßen and athletics coach Benjamin Schüssler