After the convincing 0: 4 victory over the Faroe Islands last Wednesday, the Israeli team will tonight (Saturday, 21:45) try to take another step in order to establish its position in second place in the 6th place in the World Cup qualifiers, when it will host strong Austria Sami Ofer.
Willy Rotensteiner will once again hope to enjoy Eran Zehavi’s record evening, when the task that will be assigned to him this time will be difficult, with one of the goalkeepers in good shape in the Premier League facing him, Daniel Bachman.
The 27-year-old goalkeeper, who plays for Watford and only last Saturday prevented Harry Kane from scoring, despite his side losing 1-0 to Tottenham, is in the best shape of his career, with last season set as his peak season. He established his status as the first goalkeeper for the Wasps, became the first goalkeeper of his team and was one of the most impressive goalkeepers in the Euro held this summer.
Just before tonight’s meeting with Sami Ofer, he vacated Bachman For a special interview with ONE, in which he referred to EZ7 trying to subdue him, the training under ex-Maccabi Tel Aviv Vladimir Ivitch, the interest from the big clubs in Europe and the new striker of Maccabi Tel Aviv, Stifa Fritza, with whom he collaborated.
“Each team is trying to do its best and of course our goal is to qualify for the World Cup, which is probably also the goal of Israel and the other teams at home,” the goalkeeper said of the fight for second place, which the result tonight will greatly affect. “We’re trying to move from game to game, take points and see how it ends.”
You come with a missing staff for this meeting. How much will it affect?
“We have a number of injured in the squad, but our squad is good and there is no point in talking about players who are not here and can not play. We are strong enough, injuries are part of the game and we just concentrate on what we have and what we can do.”
What do you know about Andy Herzog who coached here and current coach Willy Rotensteiner?
“Andy Herzog is a very well-known person in the country and I also know Willie for several years, from his time as a professional manager in the Austrian national team. As in teams, people move from place to place and between roles and it would be very nice to meet him.”
You will have a difficult task. Stop Eran Zehavi who is in wonderful shape. How do you do that?
“I know him and know he is a good player with many qualities, but I am not a goalkeeper who looks at specific players – my job is simply to prevent goals. We respect Israel and know that it has players like Davor and Zahavi that we must be careful of. We came to win hoping we succeed.”
What other players do you know in the Israeli squad?
“I know Ophir Marciano. I played against him when I was Klimranok’s goalkeeper and he’s from Hibernian. Say hello to him when we meet. I also know Nir Bitton from Celtic, we played against each other several times.”
As mentioned, Bachman is in his peak season, but not throughout his career, he is not exactly satisfied. He arrived in English Stoke City nearly a decade ago and has since spent time on loan in the kingdom, making the leap forward in Klimranok in the 2018/2019 season, to which he was loaned out from Watford. The season in Scotland arranged for him to take the leap, when last year he began to take the place of Watford goalkeeper the injured Ben Foster, when he has not looked back since.
“Things didn’t happen easily to me,” he said. “It was a long process that lasted ten years and I probably had to wait longer than other players to get my chance. But I got the chance, I took it with both hands and I’m glad it worked out.”
Only last Saturday did you manage to frustrate Harry Kane, even though you lost 1-0 to Tottenham. How does it feel to suddenly become the first goalkeeper in the Premier League?
“Ten years in England is a long time, but I knew that one day I would get to play in the Premier League. It’s very exciting. I recently played my first games and I hope I can now play there for ten years.”
For many years he was not a regular goalkeeper for the Austrian national team. Is this your chance?
“Which is for sure it’s up to me. I’m playing right now and proud to wear the jersey and represent the country. I intend to do my best not to lose my place in the squad for the next ten years.”
You had a very successful tournament in the last Euro. In fact you were only eliminated in front of whoever ended up being the winner, Italy.
“A few days after the game there was a disappointment because we were very close and could also win. But in the end, Italy won the Euro and probably deserves it – not just for the ability in the tournament but for everything it has done in the last year and a half. We knew before the tournament we could make history. Because Austria is a team that has never won in the Euros. We did it and managed to qualify for a knockout. “And what could we do? We will now focus on trying to qualify for the World Cup.”
Your recent success has reportedly brought full interest to a few senior clubs including Arsenal and Ajax. Why did you announce that you were staying and not moving on?
“Listen. It was clear to me that I would stay. I told my agent I did not want to leave Watford, because for me there was no point in moving to Arsenal or another club interested in me after spending so much time playing in the Premier League. If you look at the table then Arsenal is not a big team either. “I’m kidding.” Moving to one of the Big Six in the Premier League without playing? It’s good for me to stay at Watford and play. .
You trained under Vladimir Ivitch, who was a legend here for Maccabi Tel Aviv fans. Why did it end there so quickly?
“He was only with us for a few months and he brought with him a different style than I know, or even other players know. We started the season well, but as football goes, if the results are not good, especially in England, the coach does not get time. That is what happened to him. “I took something from every coach I worked with and also from working with him. He definitely managed to help us qualify for the Premier League. We had a very strong and stable defense and we got a lot thanks to his work this half year. If so, I haven’t talked to him since he left.”
Another person who is connected to you and Maccabi Tel Aviv is the striker Stepa Fritza, who trained with you and recently signed there. What can you tell Maccabi fans about him?
“He came from Italy last summer and also scored a number of goals, but suffered from bad luck throughout the season. He was sent off for the first time and missed three games, after which he scored again against Bournemouth, but in the same game also injured his shoulder and was absent for several months. “For Maccabi, I’m sure of that. He’s very tall and I’m sure he will create a lot of problems for the defenses and will succeed in captivating the Maccabi Tel Aviv fans.”