Patrick Helmes | On the spot | DW | 04.10.2008
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On the spot

Patrick Helmes

Patrick Helmes has scored 7 goals in just 6 games to lift his team Leverkusen to second on the table. He's always been motivated to score.


Patrick Helmes


As a young player your parents gave you five Deutschmarks for every goal, didn't they?

Patrick Helmes:

"Yeah, I guess you could say I had a clause in my contract even back then, with my parents - so I got some money for every goal. It was like my pocket money - so I wasn't doing badly back then!"

"There was one season when you netted 185 goals..."

"That was a great season, I was rolling in it! Seriously, we had a great team then, with Moritz Volz and Florian Kringe."

"And you spent it all?!"

"No, it wasn't like that. I always put some away for me, and then spent a bit on stickers."

"Do you still collect stickers?

"No, I don't have any time for that any more."

"The Helmes-Kießling combination seems perfect..."

"Yeah, for me it works brilliantly with him. I've known him for a while - from the under 21 team and the A team. He runs really hard - not that I don't - but of course he does a bit more, and that work's great for me. He's really strong in the air too, and I'm not. So we complete each other's game at the moment, it's a perfect match."

"You once said that scoring goals is like brushing your teeth?"

"I just mean it's part and parcel. My dad was a footballer too, a striker. He taught me a lot along the way. Since then I've always wanted to score goals. As soon as I get a chance, I go for goal. My dad's help was really important. There was a time when Cologne told me I wasn't quick enough on the pitch. So we went onto the cinder track in our town, and just did sprints every day. My dad had a great right foot. I think I got that from him. But he wanted me to be able to shoot with both."

"Your father tells me your mother goes to every match."

"She goes all over. She enjoys it, that's her life. I'm proud that she's always there."

"I hear your mom is a statistics-freak..."

"Yeah, that's great for me. Since back in the youth team, she's kept a record of everything, every goal. She's got thousands of pictures. It's going to be great to sit down in a couple of years and look through everything. It's always great to look through old stuff like that when you go home."

"At the age of 16, 17, it was really hard to hear that I didn't have a future there. But I told myself I would make it back one day. But somehow I lost my motivation. I said I was giving up. My dad said I'd be out of the house if I did."

"So I didn't have any choice but to carry on. But I would always wolf down a schnitzel before training, sausage and chips or something like that. I led the typical life of a footballer playing in those leagues. That year helped me loads. I learned so much, I scored goals, and football became fun again."

"That was huge. It took a while to sink in. My first international was a once in a lifetime experience. And I'm really pleased to still be part of the squad."

I understand you kept one of your shirts from that game against San Marino, and gave the other one to your floor-tiler?

"Yeah back then I was having work done at my place. You always have to give workmen an incentive to get the job done. So I always offer a shirt if they're ready on time, that gets them working."

So did he finish in time?

"Yeah, he made it."

Didn't he get it?

"Yeah, he did, as a reward."

So you'd hire him again?

"He's actually doing some work for me now. He did such a good job last time, I decided to take him on again."

"Great, so he's up for another shirt then? "

"Well yeah, but he's already got one, he doesn't need another."

"But maybe one of his colleagues... "

"Yeah we'll see. If it all works out I'll have to give him another shirt, you're right."

What makes you keep your feet on the ground?

"I have great people around me, my friends and family. They keep me grounded."

Does it help that you trained as an electrician?

"Yeh I think that's really important these days. Of course, being a professional footballer is great. But you never know how long it's going to last. You can get injured and it's all over."

So maybe when you're 35 and retire, you'll pick up work as an electrician?

"Anything is possible, who knows."

OK Patrick, that's it, thank you."

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