Since joining RB Leipzig from Young Boys last summer, life at his new club hasn’t been easy for Yvon Mvogo. Second fiddle to Péter Gulácsi for the entirety of last season, he made just one competitive appearance in his maiden campaign which came in a 1-0 defeat to Augsburg in September. Since then his time on the pitch has been limited to one 45-minute appearance versus Dukla Prague in a mid-season friendly in January.
Speaking to the Leipziger Volkszeitung, the Swiss goalkeeper spoke about his maiden season in Germany, how he was able to overcome difficulties faced, his experience at the World Cup and what the future holds for him.
It does not always look like fun in the training camp in Tyrol. After the sprint exercises, you have fallen to the ground exhausted. Are goalkeepers not condition types or is it the backlog from the World Cup and the subsequent holiday?
“In my position, you have to be fit. But I am not used to such runs. I am a goalie and not a six. Of course, that kind of stuff is part of it, but after that, I was just broken.”
What memories do you bring back with you from your first tournament with the Swiss national team?
“It was great to be there and gave me a lot of energy. We had great potential and have shown that too. When you watch the games from the bench, of course, you dream of action. Not so many players experience a World Cup.”
At RB Leipzig you are one of the few who speaks good German and French. Do you automatically become an interpreter?
“Yes, somehow. Because I not only speak these two languages fluently but also English, Portuguese and Spanish, I can communicate with every player in the team.”
In the summer, a Brazilian and a Uruguayan has joined. Will communication become more difficult with ten different nations in the team?
“These players just bring joy. Celo (Marcelo Saracchi) sings and laughs constantly. Matheus (Cunha) is like a little brother to me, talks a lot and is a good mood type. It is also a benefit if many people come from different countries. It makes the team stronger.”
How do you decide when to speak which language with whom?
“It depends on who comes to me. Sometimes I speak English with Péte (Gulácsi). With Bruma, I know exactly, we only speak English. With Matheus (Cunha) and Marcelo (Saracchi), I like to speak Spanish to improve myself. But soon we will all speak German, that’s the aim.”
So you could become an interpreter after your career?
“Yes, that would definitely be an idea.”
But you are still young and want to achieve something as a goalkeeper. Gulácsi has got the number one jersey. How do you deal with this after a tough last season in which you only played one game?
“For me last year was not easy as I came to play. This has to be everyone’s ambition towards themselves. But the ex-coach had opted with Péte because he did his job well. Now a new season is starting again, it does not matter if you wear the number 1 or the number 100. Péte already has a small lead, but I will step on it and show the coach that he can rely on me in every situation.”
Was there a sign from the coach that you would get your chance?
“Of course I said that I want to get more games. If that were not the case, the future would be difficult for me. I phoned Ralf Rangnick before I came back from the World Cup, he said he is convinced of me. I am now here to show that he can count on me.”
Rangnick has said that he wants to rotate between the competitions. Does this also apply to the goalkeeper position? So there will be one keeper in the Bundesliga and one in the Europa League?
“What we have discussed remains with us. But I can say that I am not here for nothing. I will give everything every day, now I have to get back into rhythm. I have not done 90 minutes for a long time.”
Will you definitely stay at RB Leipzig this season?
“I am here.”
Does that remain the case or does it depend on whether or not the club qualifies for the Europa League?
“I am here and have a contract. I am focused, my head is here. I want to go give everything for the team and do my job. I did not come to take a vacation and sit on the bench again all season.”
How does it feel to have only once played a full 90 minutes in a year? Is uncertainty an issue?
“One does not become uncertain, but a goalkeeper simply needs minutes of play to assess his positioning and other minor details. I’m missing that right now. But I’m looking forward to the next games to work on these little things again. The last year was very difficult for me. We had about 50 games and I had one of them. Ralph Hasenhüttl had his team in mind. He liked Péte, I could understand that, but in the long run, it was hard to always accept that.”
What were you most disappointed about? The few games or communication with Ralph Hasenhüttl?
“Both were not so optimal. My goalkeeper trainer usually talked to me, but it was difficult for him too. I barely talked to the coach, even though I have given everything every day. In the end, I am also a human and a football player and I just want to play. But that is in the past, I’m looking into the future and the new season.”
Was it the most difficult season of your career so far?
How did you motivate yourself?
“I talked a lot with my family, my advisor and friends. They helped me a lot in the mental area. Otherwise, it would have been difficult for my head.”
How is the work under the new coaches?
“I am very pleased with the new team. All are great guys. I notice a change. Every day, when I’m on the pitch, I feel that the odds are 50 to 50. That gives you even more motivation to show what you can do.”