Eintracht Has a Lot of Potential

Ahead of the first home win of the season Halil Altintop offered his views on the club's situation and his decision to stay at Eintracht.

You have been with the team for about 10 months now, how do you feel things are going for you?

Things are going very well, because I feel good within the team and I believe my team mates understand me also. There is a very positive attitude within the team and if you look at the past we as a team have grown a lot.

In the off season it was well known in the media that you were having a hard time deciding on whether to stay with Frankfurt. Can you say why it took you so long to decide where you were going to play for the 2010/11 season?

Yes, it is very easy to explain why it took me so long to decide. You know, after seven or eight years playing in Bundesliga I wanted to take a look at some of the offers coming in from outside of Germany, and to see if that was the direction I wanted to take my career. With interest from Turkey and England I had to consider if I was ready for something new, and to play in either of those countries would have been a very positive experience for me. So, after discussing with my girlfriend together we realized that being close to our family was important to us both, and staying in the Bundesliga was still the right thing for me to do.

So why did you then decide to stay here in Frankfurt? I am sure there were other Bundesliga clubs that were interested in having you.

Well, Frankfurt is a great city and the club has a lot of potential. And with the atmosphere in the stadium and the support of the fans, I just really wanted to stay here and do my part to help the club reach its full potential.

Do you feel you bring something to the team that hadn’t been there before you arrived?

I am getting the trust of the club that with my abilities as a player and the quality of the way I play the game I will be very helpful for the team. And to have that trust as a player is one of the most important things you can get from the club you play for. That is why I said if I stay in Bundesliga to continue my career that I will stay at Eintracht because they have given me a lot of trust by letting me play my way, which I think I can help the team best with.

Are you happy with your position and the role you are currently playing in the team?

Oh yes, without a doubt. I can play various positions and I feel I am able to give so much more when I play this way. And at the moment I feel I have done my job well for the team, we just have not really had the luck with getting the much needed wins. But we still have to keep moving forward and eventually the luck will turn our way and all of our hard work will finally show.

And your decision to come to Frankfurt and leave Schalke - was it because you were not happy with your role there or was it that you needed a change?

Well, I was not happy because I was not playing; and as a player I want to play and contribute to the team. There were some personal choices also but I truly felt after 3 ½ years at Schalke that Frankfurt would be a good fit for me and would allow me to help the club continue to go in the right direction. And I am truly happy I made that choice.

You played Champions League with Schalke 04 and also 32 international games for Turkey so far. Do you see a big difference comparing other managers to Michael Skibbe?

Well Skibbe is a top manager; he has proven that as manager of the national team, of some Bundesliga clubs and of one of the top clubs in Turkey. He demands a lot from us and wants to see us play well on matchday. Some managers are more focused on the defensive side of the game and others more on the offensive side. I think I am very lucky to be playing for him. As for Frankfurt in comparison to other clubs, Frankfurt can be on top, and we are heading in the right direction. Frankfurt has a well-known tradition throughout Europe and a great stadium and the best fans.

With the current team do you see yourself as a role model for the younger players as you have Champions League experience and have played for various clubs and your country?

I think if you look at the statistics and the number of games I have played it almost comes automatically to be a role model for the younger players and to help them grow and develop. And I am happy to be able to bring that to the team and it really helps me enjoy the game I love even more.

And it sounds like you really enjoy being a role model for the younger players?

Of course, without a doubt. I am known as a player giving everything to the club I play for, on and off the field. I am not about trying to see how many goals I can score. If I am honest I am not a Gekas or an Amanatidis, I can score goals but I do not feel that is my job on the team. My job is to fight for the ball and to help create scoring opportunities so in the end we take away with us the win. It really is not about who scores the goals, what is important is what we do for Eintracht Frankfurt on the pitch every time we are playing a match. That is my mentality toward the game and so many people just think of the goal count but there is so much more to the game than that.

How do you see the season so far?

We have been very unlucky. We are playing really well, and we are getting better every match we play. We have just been very unlucky but I am sure our luck will change and we will find our way and will sit very nicely in the standings at season’s end. What we cannot do is to focus on the standings and let that decide how we play. We have to keep moving forward and play the way we know how to play.

Thanks for your time and good luck for the 2010/11 season.

Thanks to you and to all the fans who support us.

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