Bayer 04 Leverkusen right-back Jeremie Frimpong says his team doesn’t play just for playing sake but wants to win titles at the end of the season.
The words of the little Dutch-born defender of Ghanaian descent speak of great self-confidence. He is showing it off impressively this season. His first half-year in the Bundesliga, however, was quite bumpy after his transfer from Celtic Glasgow to Bayer.
“It took some time to get used to the league. I came last season in January. It was a big step for me,” explains the U-21 international, who has been with the Manchester Academy from the age of seven.
The switch from the Scottish to the German league was gigantic. “The biggest difference is that every game is difficult in the Bundesliga. You can also play against the last one here and they give you a good game. You can never switch off,” says Frimpong to Kicker, describing his adjustment problems, “if you give your opponent one Give a chance, then he’ll use it right away. I had to change everything.”
This was mainly due to the fact that Celtic was enthroned far above most other Scottish teams.
“At Celtic, we had the ball the whole time. We didn’t really have to defend. Only when we played against Glasgow Rangers, Hibernian or Aberdeen,” said the aggressive defender,”
This football culture shock meant that Frimpong initially quickly reached its limits in terms of duel behavior and, above all, positional play. “I did things that I got away with at Celtic. But of course, you play against much better opponents in Germany. Those were things that you can’t do here,” he knows today.
But Frimpong drew the right conclusions: “I’ve adapted, I’ve learned all season. And I’m still learning.” Especially on the defensive. And just as fast as the sprinter moves on the square.
With his acceleration and his top speed, he has long been feared in the league. Especially since he usually forms a turbo pair on the right with the similarly nimble winger Moussa Diaby. Four assists in the league and two more in the Europa League testify to his offensive strength.
These qualities should bring him to the Dutch senior team at some point. Frimpong is absolutely convinced that this will happen. “I believe in timing. I’m in no hurry,” he says, “I knew that one day I would play for the U-18 national team, one day for the U-21 national team. Because I believe in my abilities.”
As a result, the right-back only looks at his performance. “I have to show what I can. I have to prove myself,” he emphasizes, leaving no doubt as to where this will lead him. “Whoever plays for Leverkusen,” says Frimpong, “will also play for his national team.”