Christoph Knett (28) is the loudspeaker of an FC Wacker Innsbruck, who recently played without glamour or points.
After the Hartberg game, in which you held a penalty shortly before the end, they thought: “The tide will turn now”.
Christopher Knett: That’s what we thought, but it’s telling: We had good games, there would always have been at least one point. At the beginning we always said: We play well, even if we don’t score any points. But it’s critical if you play badly and don’t score any points.
How do you explain the current table situation?
Knett: We got into a spiral, and one or two referee decisions weren’t always made for us either. That puts pressure on the mood, then the simplest things don’t work anymore. Then stupid goals happen and you run after a backlog. It’s not the second league anymore where you know you’re actually much better and you can turn the game around.
In the pre-season you were obliged to move up – is the pressure higher now?
Knett: Back then we had a run, the luck on our side. That’s always the case when you’re in front – in the basement it’s the other way round. But it’s up to us what we make of it now, but the team is in a positive mood.
Music is a yardstick for the mood. What does it play in the Wacker cabin – and who is responsible for it?
Knett (laughs): “Schimpi” (Michael Schimpelsberger, note) would like to be the DJ, that’s what he is – in the beginning. But at some point he is dismissed, then “Maaki” (Matthias Maak, note) and Flo (Rieder, note) do it, then hip-hop and R’n’B come along – really good stuff across the board.
So you don’t notice the mood in the music?
Knett: No, it plays everything. And shortly before the warm-up, a ritual like this developed in the ascent season. Then there was “Rose Tattoo”, my song that was played, Irish pub music. And the others knew: Ten minutes after kneading we have to get out.
Can you feel the pressure?
Knett: You don’t notice in the team what situation we’re in. We are a self-critical team, we know our mistakes, we can tell each other that too.
And just before the match?
Knett: Everyone has their own preparation on match day. I’m more of a loose type, don’t have to go into myself, have some fun. The Bertl (Vallci, note), on the other hand, sits there with headphones and goes through game situations – everyone knows what to do.
Was there a crackling noise in your team last time, was it loud?
Knett: Never since I’ve been there. After the rain defeat against Hartberg in the previous season (abort, note) it became already sharper in training, because everyone knew: It doesn’t work like that. It was the same last time after the WAC and the Admira. There are more rides in training, and duels become even harder. You also noticed that during the week – that’s why everyone is positive against the LASK that the points stay here.
So far the coach has not been a point of discussion.
Knett: Our coach is experienced, but of course: Football is a result sport, and if he gets the public pressure off, I’m sorry. What can the coach do if, like in Mattersburg, we get red after two minutes, shoot a penalty and I collect an egg at the end?
It won’t be any easier in view of the draw for the coming rounds.
Knett: We know that the next four players will be great. But maybe we’ll do better against such teams, too.
What role do bonuses play that you don’t deserve from the recent defeats?
Knett: Everybody plays football with passion, but nobody does the effort for nothing. Of course you also play for bonuses, the better the mood is. The money factor certainly plays a role.
During the transfer period, a lot of importance was attached to the second team, but the big kicker for the first Bundesliga was not won.
Knett: The club did a good job with the second team. I think it’s outstanding that the substructure is there. All players of the second team can immediately keep up with us, Thommi Grumser does a really good job – he will make his way. But we certainly gained in quality in the summer, that’s not the reason. BetAdonis is not only an online casino portal but also has access to the sports betting and poker.
You, too, were in great demand on the transfer market. There was talk of Union Berlin …
Knett: There were talks, that’s all I want to say. But I’m not disappointed at all because I like playing for this club. My contract expires, let’s see what comes.
You already confessed your love for Tyrol.
Knett: I like being here for a few more years, my family is doing very well here. I wouldn’t go to Thailand for a few euros more. If I were alone, it would be for sure, but the woman has a good job, the little one is in kindergarten and has his friends.
They are FC Wacker players’ representatives in the union alongside Christoph Freitag. What does that mean?
Knett: The union stands up for players, takes care of collective agreements and further training. In Austria, apart from Red Bull, you don’t get rich and have to go to work after football. It is the job of me and “Free” (Christoph Freitag, note) to act as a link.
In the past there have been rumours about black money in domestic football – is that still a topic?
Knett: That doesn’t exist in Innsbruck, the money comes on time. But I noticed elsewhere that there was such a thing at the time. And I also believe that the clubs in league two work with tricks, but they also have a hard time.
Why? Knett: The second one
Knett: The second league is semiprofessional except for three, four clubs, a few clubs really have to nibble at it. That’s why I don’t believe that the 16 League is good, even if the trade union was very much in favour of it.
At least the mode of the new Bundesliga seems attractive.
Knett: That applies above all to halving the points, otherwise the coach in Altach would probably already be gone. So everything is still open in the table, which is also good for us.
So what’s the strategy for the LASK game? Will the team withdraw together?
Knett: We’re a really great team, we don’t have to swear ourselves into the game with a dinner. Even the injured cheer us on, that’s what distinguishes a team. We have a plan, and we will implement it. First and foremost it’s about the fight – and about everyone throwing themselves into every shot.