The Geman goalkeeper lifted the UEFA Europa League last season
The Geman goalkeeper lifted the UEFA Europa League last season with Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt. The 32-year-old was also in good form in the Bundesliga and has continued his form this season. Kevin Trapp recently sat down with the Bundesliga media discussing a variety of topics.
Here is the full interview:
2022 was an exceptional year for you and the club. How would you describe the last year?
“I made a post on Instagram where I said it was probably one of the best years I have personally had so far. A very special one. Of course, for me personally, but also for the club and for the fans, and I think for anybody who is somehow connected with the club, because it was, as you said, historical.
We played an unforgettable season with the title, everybody will probably and hopefully forever remember this year. We kept on writing history in the Champions League and qualifying for the first time ever in the last 16. So, it was like, always going up in this year, in 2022, and it was an emotional rollercoaster. In the Bundesliga, I think we only won three games in the second half of the season, but at the same time in the Europa League, we were winning everything, and of course, with the title in May as the cherry on the cake. It was, and it will be forever, a very special year for me personally, and for the club of course.”
Randal Kolo Muani joined Eintracht Frankfurt last year. What is your impression of him so far?
“I’m going to be honest, when I came back in summer, I was very impressed because he was very strong, he was fast, you didn’t have the feeling that he needed time to adapt to the team or the physical conditions in the Bundesliga. He was, at least for me, from the first day a fantastic player who showed his quality, and of course now with his game he had during these six months or five months, he won confidence, he was a key player for us in this first half of the season, 100%.
He improved a lot by the end of 2022. At the World Cup he played an important role too and actually played in the final. At the end he had a huge chance to be a World Cup winner, and that was the result of his hard work and of his quality. In my opinion, there are still things he can improve, but I’m pretty sure he knows that too. He’s still very young, he’s a huge talent who helps us very much in this team to be successful.”
What is Randal like as a teammate?
“Well, when I see him with the French players, he’s very open, he laughs a lot; when I see him with other people, he doesn’t talk so much! I think he is, or at least it seems like he’s a quieter guy, but very nice, a very gentle guy, very open, very friendly. I’m lucky to speak French so I can talk to him a lot, but as I said, he’s a very nice guy who’s
very focused on what he’s doing. He is also funny, someone you can joke with. On and off the pitch, he is a very important person for us.”
Eintracht Frankfurt is currently second in the table. Are you happy with the first half of the season?
“We have the ambition to be successful in every competition. That’s what we were able to do in 2022; we wanted to be better than the previous year in the German Cup, we wanted to pass the group stage in the Champions League, and we wanted to be as successful as possible in the Bundesliga. We had a difficult start, but now, towards the end of the year, we were doing much better. We found our rhythm again, our confidence in the Bundesliga too.
But we’re still not finished, we know that. We can still improve, especially in defence we have many things to improve; we scored many goals, but we also had chances to score much more. But these are positive things because we are successful, even though we still have things to improve, so that’s a good point, and everybody knows it and wants to improve. So, yeah, it was quite successful, but we still know that we can do better and we will do better, but of course, if you’re in three competitions, that’s the maximum you can reach.”
What are the goals for the second half of the season?
“Well, I think we should continue like this: we should be willing to improve so we can be successful in the Bundesliga. The position we have right now is fantastic. We want to defend this position or if possible, do better. And get as far as possible in the German Cup, of course. It’s the easiest way, well ‘easiest way’ and the fastest way to win a title and to qualify for the international competition. And of course, we have a huge game ahead in the Champions League against Napoli, probably one of the best teams in Europe right now. We still know what happened against Bayern in the first game, so there are many things we can look forward to, and of course, if we continue to improve, we can be very successful, but we have to remain focused.”
Looking back, how do you see Eintracht’s development over the past months?
“It was more or less the same thing as last year. We had a very difficult start, but after winning some games and points and playing as a team and having this feeling that we really are a team, that we’re not breaking apart as a team, was helping us a lot to be successful. I think we can say that we were probably not the best team quality-wise in the Europa League, but we had the best team spirit, and that was what got us this title, because we fought as a team and we played as a team, and I think that was also the reason why everybody could connect with us in the end.
This year, it’s probably the same. We had a difficult start into the season, didn’t have many players left and a few who came in new, but we were always able to integrate them very fast so they could feel comfortable and reach the maximum or almost the maximum quality to help us, and that was what happened, because that’s what
characterises this club and this team: that we’re always together, and this is our biggest strength, I guess, in being that successful, and we have to keep going like this, because we know that only like this can we be successful, and that’s probably one of the reasons.”
You know Eintracht Frankfurt very well and first joined the club in 2012. What is your view on Eintracht’s overall development over the last decade?
“I can remember in 2014 I had a conversation with Axel Hellmann about the ambitions of the club, and well, we never really spoke about the Champions League, but we spoke about how this club has huge potential to grow and to be much bigger than it is, probably. But of course, at that point it was still very far away, and if you look at where the club is right now, everything that the club wanted to reach kind of happened.
You need to have responsible people who can manage this, to be successful; you need to have a vision, but you also need to be realistic. I mean, of course you can have the ambition and you can always work towards this ambition, but you have to be realistic, and this club always had the potential to be very successful and to grow and be bigger than it was at that point, and I think since 2016 the club has grown very fast. Being in a final in the German Cup, winning the German Cup a year later, being in the semi-final of the Europa League, beating huge teams, and qualifying again for the Europa League, we were on the path to be fourth in the Bundesliga.
Then we had one year that was probably not that good, but still it was a great season. Then the highlight and probably the peak of the last few years was 2022. So, you have this ongoing growth in this club, which is very important, but you need to have the people who work in it be realistic while having a vision. I think with the coach we have right now, with the people working in the club right now, they are among the reasons we are where we are right now, because we have the team for it, we have the quality for it, we have the coaches, we have the responsible people working on it. You can feel that everybody has huge ambition, and everybody wants to be successful and make this club grow.”
What do you think has changed at Frankfurt to become so attractive for top- class players?
“You need to know where you come from. I think Frankfurt is not the Frankfurt it was a few years ago. We saw this year that we were able to secure players like Mario Götze, we took Kolo Muani, because the club became very interesting for other players, and with our supporters, with everything that we reached last year, it became much more interesting, and hopefully easier for the responsible people to buy players.
You have to know that Frankfurt will probably continue to sell very important players, key players in this team because you still have bigger teams in the Bundesliga, but I think Frankfurt became a club that is very attractive right now for players, and that’s a good fact to know, because OK, you have Munich, you have Dortmund, but the rest, I think we are on a very high level now in the Bundesliga, and I think we can reach a lot. But that’s what I said before, you have to continue working hard and knowing what you
have to do to stay on top, because otherwise it’s not going to happen. We all have to remember why we are successful, and if you keep on doing this, I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t continue being successful.”
In your view, did the success change the way Eintracht Frankfurt is perceived by fans?
“I think the way people see the club changed a lot in the last few years, especially because of what we did in the Europa League. I mean, we played huge teams: Chelsea, Benfica, Inter Milan, and we beat them, or at least we didn’t lose against Chelsea. So of course, the way people see this club right now has changed 100%. You can feel the dynamic around this club right now.
I think I just saw a few weeks ago that the club reached 120,000 members, that’s a huge thing, probably one of the biggest clubs in Germany now. And especially because of our games in the Europa league, I think the club and the dynamic for this club, or the vision of this club has changed a lot. I felt it, because people from abroad, from different countries, wrote to me because they were just amazed by the way we played, and we were giving so much satisfaction to the people out there watching our games, and that’s great feedback. I’m pretty sure that that changed a lot in this club, but also outside of the club, the way that people see and perceive this club now.”
How would you describe the team spirit and how important was it for the success?
“You need to have the right characters for it. That’s what always was the case in our team, that we had great characters. Everybody was ambitious, and everybody wanted to integrate into the team. It never happened that someone who, let’s say, took it too seriously; rather, we always had this team spirit. Of course, you have players who are not satisfied because they’re not playing the amount of time they want or expected to, but you never really felt it within the team, because on the pitch or in the games, everybody had just this one goal: to win the game and to help the team. That’s what you need at the end if you want to be successful.
Especially in the Champions League now, we see that if you play against teams that probably on paper have better quality than you have, it’s important to stick together as a team and play as a team, and I think 100% that’s one of the main reasons why we are where we are right now, because we have huge quality, the way we play also right now is, at least for me, much different than it was the last few years. Now we have more ball possession;
I just remembered the game against Hoffenheim, a goal we scored, I don’t know if it was the 2-0 or 3-0, I could see the fans, and nobody really believed what just happened. And we are able to play a very nice style of football right now, but also have this mentality to play as a team, and if we keep on doing this, we’re going to be very successful. That’s the basic work that we have to do.”
How would you describe your own role within the team?
“I try to be that secure point for them, that they know they have someone back there that can save them whenever it’s needed. That’s on the pitch, but also off the pitch, as a person, that they know whatever it is they can talk to me, and I try to help. And of course, with the work I put in, to be an example to anybody who wants to see me as an example. That’s the way I am. For me, it’s a very important thing to be part of the team in the locker room, not only on the pitch, because having 30 people around you every day can also be very funny.”