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On the spot

Jan Schlaudraff

At just 25, Jan Schlaudraff has already had his share of highs and lows. The striker played for Germany, warmed the bench at Bayern Munich, suffered injuries and accidents. Now he's with Hanover.

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DW-TV

You got off to a really bad start to the season. Three matches, no goals and then the moment of release at the weekend. Do you need a moment like that to end the bad times?

Jan Schlaudraff

It was definitely good for us. The five-one at the weekend was definitely very important, the moment we broke free. We hadn't been playing the way we wanted. We were lagging behind our expectations. So it was very important that we picked up three points against Mönchengladbach.

Hanover were at the top of their game last weekend, Jan Schlaudraff included. He scored twice against the club where he made his Bundesliga debut in 2003. After a lengthy injury and a move to Aachen, 2005 was his breakthrough year. In 2006 he was even called up to the national squad. He had to sit out a suspension while Aachen was fighting relegation in 2007. Then he transferred to Munich, and got injured again.

DW-TV

Where would you be without the injuries?

Jan Schlaudraff

I'm 25 years old. If you're injured for 18 months, people say you need another 18 months to catch up. So I've really needed three years to find my rhythm. But it's hard to say where I'd be if I had been playing for those two or three years.

DW-TV

But getting sick with a mysterious illness after the very first match in the Bundesliga is a pretty hard blow.

Jan Schlaudraff

I had athritis of the joints from a viral infection. We didn't know where it came from. Then I had water in the joints, in my knees and ankles. I couldn't move and was out for eleven months. The doctors didn't know what to do. Along with last year's disc operation, it was the toughest phase I've ever had.

DW-TV

Your father is a priest. What influence has he had on your career?

Jan Schlaudraff

Not much. You pick up a little, but I wasn't singing in the church choir or anything like that.

DW-TV

What about your faith?

Jan Schlaudraff

I believe hat everybody has faith in certain things in life, whether they are ideals, or people that you trust and so on. Or you have faith in yourself. It's true I have faith, but it's to is hard to express in who or in what.

DW-TV

Do football and religion fit together?

Jan Schlaudraff

Absolutely. But you shouldn't make too much of it. A couple of years ago, everyone was crossing themselves on the pitch. It was fashionable. But I think everyone should find their own way and not overdo it.

DW-TV

While you were at Aachen, you and a colleague were suspended. What was that about?

Jan Schlaudraff

Sascha Dum and I had a few problems and we were both suspended. We were always joking around back then. It was alright when everything was going well. People even said we were good for the club spirit. But when things started going badly, all of a sudden they accused us of not taking out jobs seriously and we both copped it. But it was a positive time in Aachen and that's all behind me now.

DW-TV

But is it true you both wrecked a car?

Jan Schlaudraff

No, that was me with someone else. Sascha wasn't there.

DW-TV

What happened?

Jan Schlaudraff

We were on the way to training and the road was wet. He was driving and then the car was wrecked.

DW-TV

What car?

Jan Schlaudraff

It was my car

In 2007 Schlaudraff joined Bayern Munich. There he won both the league title and the German Cup. But with Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose in the side, he spent a lot of time on the bench. And there were fitness problems.

DW-TV

You got injured almost straightaway and you didn't play much. Did have doubts at Bayern?

Jan Schlaudraff

It wasn't really self-doubt. The strikers were scoring and I didn't see any sense in continuing there. Especially after the years of injury, I didn't want to spend another year on the bench. I wanted to play and so I made the decision to join Hanover.

DW-TV

Your coach, Dieter Hecking, obviously thinks a lot about you. How would you describe your relationship?

Jan Schlaudraff

We have a great relationship at Aachen. We got promoted together. We had a good time there. Then he went to Hanover. I developed well working for him. He gave me a lot of tips. We found things hard getting started at Aachen and I didn't play well in the beginning.

DW-TV

He clearly knows how to handle you. Last week he criticised you and wanted more. And suddenly there it was. Do you need the occasional kick in the behind?

Jan Schlaudraff

The worst thing is that it really looks like that. He criticised me because my performances weren't up to scratch. That's fair, but then it looked like it was only about me. It was about the team improving as a whole. And that's what we did at the weekend.

DW-TV

A solo effort like that is something special. But you've scored like that before. Can you remember?

Jan Schlaudraff

I scored a similar goal against Bremen. Even if it was a little more spectacular because the lob at the end went in.

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