“Turkey is also home to me”

Part II of Eren Dinkci’s interview with WERDER.DE

Eren Dinkci wants to take the 2.Bundesliga by storm (photo: nordphoto).
interview
Wednesday, 20.10.2021 / 11:22

Werder first-team star Eren Dinkci has a strong connection to Bremen, the city in which he was born. In part two of his big interview with WERDER.DE (read part I here), he reveals that he also has similar feelings for Turkey, his parents’ homeland, and explains why it’s not such a simple decision for him to choose a national team to represent.

WERDER.DE: Eren, how did you find getting relegated to the 2. Bundesliga?

Eren Dinkci: “It really affected me. I’ve only ever known Werder to be a top-flight team, it’s where we belong. The day our relegation was confirmed was sad. The fans booed us off the pitch, and some were quite insulting. It was like having my heart broken. I went home and chatted to some of my neighbours who are Werder fans. “Don’t worry, keep your head up!” is what they told me, but you could see how devastated they were. Unfortunately we can’t do anything now to change the fact that we did get demoted, but we’re working hard to get back playing in the Bundesliga again soon.”

Dinkci: “You want to prove what you can do from day one.”

WERDER.DE: How did you process this experience?

Eren Dinkci: “At the start of pre-season I came to terms with the fact that Werder are now on a different path, and with that comes different opportunities. I’ve got an opportunity to get lots of game time, for example. Once pre-season began, it became clear to me that we’re all going to try our hardest to get promoted again.”

WERDER.DE: Florian Kohfeldt, the head coach who gave you your Bundesliga debut, is no longer at the club and instead Markus Anfang came in at the start of pre-season. What’s that been like for you?

Eren Dinkci: “Whenever a new head coach arrives, you want to prove to them what you can do from day one. I saw it as a great opportunity and told myself to give it my all and to stand out a little (laughs). I remember my first proper conversation with him in the changing room. He said: “I get the impression that you’re more comfortable playing on the wing.” I answered: “Yeah, it’s a little new to me, but I enjoy playing there.” He explained that he wants me to use my speed to get past opponents, put lots of crosses into the box and get assists. He encourages me before every game and tells me to trust myself and my ability. I’m grateful that he trusts and believes in me.”

A big difference

WERDER.DE: Were you surprised that Markus Anfang saw you as a winger rather than a central striker?

Eren Dinkci: “When you look at my running data, my speed is much more suited to being a winger than a striker. Earlier in my career, I played all over the pitch, but never on the wing. I even spent half a season at left-back for SC Borgfeld in the U17-Regionalliga. Their manager said to me ‘I’m sorry Eren, but you have to play there; we don’t have anyone else’. I was happy to do it and managed to bag seven goals from left back in half a season (laughs)! After that, I was able to play up top again. It proved to me just how much the coach trusted me – he knew he could play me anywhere on the pitch.”

WERDER.DE: You haven’t stopped scoring in the last few years. What has made scoring goals in the 2. Bundesliga so difficult for you as of late?

Eren Dinkci: “As a winger, it’s not as easy to get chances as a striker, and there’s a big difference between the Regionalliga and the 2. Bundesliga, or the U19s and the first team. It would be great to score as soon as possible – strikers need to score goals to feel less stressed. That said, I don’t give too much thought to things like that.“

WERDER.DE: What are you working on improving at the moment?

Eren Dinkci: “My biggest challenge is still being able to make the right decisions at the right time. You don’t have much time to plan your moves in the 2. Bundesliga because the game moves so much quicker than in the Regionalliga, for example. As well as that, if I’m going to keep playing as a winger, I need to improve my one-on-one abilities. I still get caught between two minds quite often, playing the ball when I should be going one-on-one and vice versa. Another important thing is my first touch. When it’s good, you can buy yourself the time you need to make the right decision.”

WERDER.DE: Why do you think you’ve had such an up and down season so far?

Eren Dinkci: “The 2. Bundesliga is a very even league; everyone can beat everyone else. That’s especially true at the start of the season – if you lose two games, you’re bottom of the league, win two and you’re at the top. We have a very young squad and players like Romano, Manu, Niklas and myself, who are all starting games and playing 90 minutes, sometimes lack that bit of experience needed to play consistently at their top level. I hope that changes as soon as possible – we’re working on it.”

Finishing school and first-team football

WERDER.DE: In 2019, you finished school. How did your parents make sure that you were doing well in school as well as on the pitch?

Eren Dinkci: “I worked hard in school of my own accord until year eleven. After that I had some doubts over whether I would do my exams, or leave school with a more technical qualification. My father always made it clear though: You’ll do your exams or you won’t play football. I’m thankful for that because had he not been so insistent I would never have done it. I’m happy that I have my A-Levels as it means I can live my dream in professional football, but if it doesn’t work out I have a backup plan and could study, for example.”

WERDER.DE: What connection do you have to Turkey, your parents’ homeland?

Eren Dincki: “For me, Turkey is also my homeland. My father was born in Germany but grew up in Turkey. My mother’s side of the family all live in Turkey. We visit a lot and so I have a connection to the country.”

WERDER.DE: So are you still deciding whether you want to represent Turkey or Germany on an international level?

Eren Dincki: “I was born in Germany and Bremen is my home but I am very emotionally connected to Turkey so it’s not easy. During international breaks we tend to watch Turkey over Germany and I get excited for those games.”

My dream is to play in the Champions League one day.
Eren Dinkci

WERDER.DE: What can you achieve with Werder this season?

Eren Dincki: “I hope that we win promotion. I think we have the quality to beat anyone in the league and we have already shown that we can play good football, but we need to play our best on a more regular basis.”

WERDER.DE: What do you dream of doing personally in your career?

Eren Dincki: “My dream is to play in the Champions League for a top European club one day, but at the moment I’m not thinking about what the future holds and what club I’d like to play for at some stage.

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