Croatian attacking midfielder Andrej Kramaric is having a cracking season at Hoffenheim – and loving every minute.


Kramaric on his ‘best’ form

“It’s hard to say of course, but I’m happy because of these goals, and
wins, but it’s very hard to say that it’s the best Andrej ever. I have to say
I’m happy that I played very well the last four-and-a-half seasons in
Hoffenheim, so let’s say it’s too early to compare it. Of course I will be
happy if it continues like this, if I score more, if I assist more, if
Hoffenheim wins more games, and then maybe at the end of the season
we can talk about this.”

“I’m fit, finally I’m healthy. Of course,
last season I had some problems and issues. This season, right now I feel
good. I’m ready. I’m motivated and I want to reach more, I want to be
better on the pitch. There is no big secret.”

Kramaric on his style of play

“Well, first maybe that’s a question for other guys, not for me. But
everybody knows that I’m not just a classic striker, I get used to maybe
playing in midfield, like a 10, offensive midfielder, with a natural feeling
for goals. Of course, I’m trying to move, to run more, to find free spaces,
to play a little bit more clever, to be in the box, and of course to score
more goals. Maybe this is the most short what I could say, but maybe the
best question is for other guys.”

“I think I’m moving right, in the right timing, with a good
feeling for a ball or wherever the ball can come. So it’s just a feeling. I
don’t think you can learn it, you cannot teach somebody, it’s just a feeling
from your body and your head.”

Kramaric on instinct in the box

“I would say it’s kind of freestyle in the box, of course some things can
change if you play in a better team, or a better system, with better
players. But in the end, you have to use your head and often you can see,
some guys are saying ‘you have to use your mind more than the legs’.”

Kramaric on his finishing ability

“Yeah, that’s true, I had the same maybe in the beginning when I came to
the Bundesliga, I was a little bit younger, I was thinking too much about
the chances. Right now, when I’m a bit little bit more experienced, I feel
better, I’m more calm, and maybe there’s a reason why I’m playing great
football right now. Also of course, with scoring goals, you have to practise
in training – this you can practise! But this feeling and something else, you
have to be born like this.”

Kramaric on his no-look penalty

“It was a special moment, because obviously we needed to win in
Dortmund, of course a hard game against I would say the second-best
opponent in the Bundesliga. Only a win was enough for us for Europa
League, and we had a great result, 3-0, and I had a penalty. I have to
say, I thought before the game that if it happened I would try to shoot a
no-look penalty, because nobody in the world in history tried to shoot a
penalty like this, so I was thinking it could be cool, could be something
new without so much pressure. And I did it, and luckily I had the luck to
score it.”

Kramaric on Hoffenheim this season

“Of course, it’s very early to say what we can reach. Of course, every
season, it’s our goal to reach European games. We will be very happy with
Champions League, but there’s a lot of games left, we’re going to need to
train more to improve more and to at least try to play like this game
against Bayern, because for sure the other teams watched the game and
they’ll be more motivated against us. That means it’s going to be much
harder games. We have to stay on the Earth, with the legs and the mind,
and then anything is possible. I would be happy with Champions League
how I said, but at the end I think with European games, everything is
going to be fine.”

Kramaric on being honest about mistakes

“Yeah, I was just honest. I wanted to tell the truth. Of course, you have
some moments in like that are like this, you win the game but you played
a bad game. I was feeling ‘Ok I have to say it’, just to be aware that it
was not so good, that it has to be much, much better. At the end, my
words were just honestly words, and I think, nice game against Bayern, it
helped us. To be honest, I will always be honest to myself, to my coach,
to my teammates, to everyone. I think it’s the best communication.
Sometimes you have to use harder words at first, but at the end it’s the
best way for all of us.”

Kramaric on nature

“Of course, it’s a beautiful picture. It was on the Wallberg at Tegerensee.
We had a pre-season there, and I decided to stay one more night after the
pre-season with my girlfriend, because I really liked the area. I have to
say, it was one of the best pre-seasons that I had… I have to say that I
really like nature. It relaxes me, it gives me a little bit more energy for
regeneration and recovery. I’m really enjoying nature.”

Kramaric on his friend’s wedding

“My best friend, my best man, it was his wedding. I was best man. It was
an interesting photo, I didn’t know they took the pictures, but it was just a
fun photo where you can see connection between the man and woman,
and football! And you could see also, I think he scored a goal, and we
were celebrating like it won a Bundesliga match! Yeah, of course. It was a
joke, it was a fun moment, so they were laughing. And they were trying to
defend the goal, but we were stronger and in the end, we scored a goal.
Yeah, I have to say that family and friends is really important. They gave
me support, and I have to say, it’s my best, best friend since we were
small kids. I’m really happy that I have him next to me.”

Kramaric on Croatia

“Nice trip, I have to say, nice Croatia. It was on the island Korcula. I have
to say, for me, Croatia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
I visited a lot of countries, but I have to say, Croatia is amazing. You can
see a lot of things, we have a lot of islands, beautiful sea, a lot of nice
beaches, amazing food. So for me, it’s not because I’m Croatian, I’m just
honest, I think Croatia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world.

Yes, yes, exactly. I’m very proud of the style of life, nature, beauty, and I
would never change my home country!”

Kramaric on the earthquake in Zagreb

“It was a sad moment a few months ago in Zagreb, there was a big
earthquake, so there was a lot of damage in the city. Unluckily it was in
the moment of corona, and it is still, so I would say it was one of the most
difficult times for Zagreb as a city, in history. Well, I was born in Zagreb,
my family is from Zagreb, my friends, everything is in Zagreb. So yes, it
was a hard feeling. But I believe we’re going to survive everything,
because for me, Zagreb is the only city where I can see myself living after
my career. Zagreb for sure didn’t deserve this.”

Kramaric on his girlfriend

“My girlfriend, so we’ve been together a little bit more than three years.
We’re really enjoying each other, we’re really happy, and I think if
everything is fine then maybe she’s going to be my wife, yeah! Yes, of
course. To be honest, when we met each other, she didn’t know so much
about football, but after these three years, she learned a lot. Of course,
she’s listening to me when I talk about football, and I respect that. So
sometimes I have to say, this week, she became a veterinary doctor, so it
was a really big thing for her, so like I said she was listening to me, I’m
also listening to her about her things, and university.”

Kramaric on his old friend

“Also this is one of my best friends. I went to school with him in one of the
best schools in Croatia, XV Gymnasium, a mathematical school. We’re in
touch a lot, and right now he lives in Budapest because of his job. I think
this picture was after a national team game in Budapest. I only have great
things to say about him, he’s a great person, and I hope he finds a
girlfriend soon so we can hang out much more together! I have to say,
when I was in kindergarten also, I showed football talent. I was playing a
lot, enjoying football, and even at that time, for me, football was
everything.”

Kramaric on his love of animals

“I love animals, actually as my girlfriend is a vet, I love it. This picture
was in Dubai, in like a private zoo, it was an amazing experience. I would
like to repeat it again, yeah. I like everyone, of course! To be honest,
when I was a kid, my favourite animal was a cheetah, because it’s the
fastest animal in the world, yeah.”

Kramaric on his childhood dream

“Of course, when I was a kid, I was dreaming a lot. When I was a kid, my
dream was to become the best player in the world, to play in the best club
in the world, so I have to say, let’s say I’ve done it, because I really
appreciate it, I’m grateful that I’m here, I play professional football, I can
live from it, I can also take care of my family, and that is my love.
Football is everything for me, I really enjoy it, and I hope I’m going to
play a lot more years.”

Kramaric on what he would be if he wasn’t a footballer

“Yeah, a very hard question, to be honest! I cannot give you the answer
right now, but because yeah, when I was a kid, football was the only thing
on my mind, I was only focused on that. So we’ll see, after my football
career, how it’s going to work, what I’m going to be, but right now it’s
really hard to say what I would be if I didn’t become a football player.”