Wellenreuther has a Bundesliga return “in the back of his mind”
Timon Wellenreuther’s career started in Karlsruhe and led him via detours to Feyenoord Rotterdam, where he experienced his highlight with the championship last season. But his heart also lies in his former club Schalke 04.
Celebrated the Dutch championship with Feyenoord Rotterdam in 2022/23: Timon Wellenreuther.
How satisfied are you with the start of the season, Mr. Wellenreuther?
Very satisfied! We haven’t lost a game in the league yet, we’ve won the last six and are in a good position, even though three other teams have currently scored even better. Our goal is clearly to become champions again, even if PSV Eindhoven is making a very strong impression this season.
And in the Champions League with one win and one defeat?
The three points in the home game against Celtic Glasgow were important at the start. Winning at Atletico Madrid is difficult for any team, but we had chances to win. Unfortunately it didn’t work out, even though we played very well. But two goals from Atletico were due to two unfortunate refereeing decisions for us. Our goal remains: We want to spend the winter in the Champions League.
Playing in the Champions League was a childhood dream for me.
How realistic is that?
We don’t have a death group, but we don’t have an easy one either. Atletico are certainly the favorites. Behind them I see Celtic, Lazio and us at about the same level.
You were in goal in both premier class games due to Justin Bijlow’s injury. How much do you enjoy the big stage?
Playing in the Champions League was a childhood dream for me. Eight years ago it came true in the two games against Real Madrid. As a 19-year-old, I couldn’t really realize it at the time and was thrown into the deep end. I experienced and enjoyed the games against Celtic and Atletico very consciously. In any case, the 4-3 win at the Bernabeu will certainly remain a highlight in my career.
With FC Schalke 04, Wellenreuther celebrated a 4-3 win at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu in 2015.
You are actually number 2 at Feyenoord, you played and play a lot because of Bijlow’s downtime and played your part in winning the championship. Are you claiming to be number 1?
It’s true, I’ve already played 23 competitive games for Feyenoord this year. When I play, I want to perform, help the team and win, the rest is the coach’s decision. Justin broke his wrist and will be back soon. We have a very good relationship and value each other. I continue to do my best, am happy about the performances I was able to show and feel great appreciation for this from the club and the fans.
Karlsruher SC, Schalke 04, Mallorca, Willem II Tilburg, RSC Anderlecht, Feyenoord: Did you plan or involuntarily become a European traveler?
The experiences in four different professional leagues, three of them abroad, have been very valuable and performance-enhancing for me. I learned new things everywhere and was able to develop further. I didn’t plan on spending so many years abroad; I actually wanted to go back to Germany after two years. But that’s football. I feel very comfortable in the Netherlands and like the country and its people. The Eredivisie is a good league, Feyenoord is a top club. Everything is alright.
Where was it most beautiful?
Even though the island of Mallorca was beautiful and the weather was best, currently near Feyenoord. With the championship I also celebrated the greatest success of my career there.
How long do you want to stay there?
I don’t plan big, I think from year to year. Last season I was on loan from Anderlecht, then Feyenoord bought me, my contract runs until 2025. Ideally, I will be number 1 during this period.
If I had to make a comparison with a club in Germany, it would be Schalke 04.
Timon Wellenreuther about Feyenoord
Please explain the fascination of Feyenoord to a German.
If I had to make a comparison with a club in Germany, it would be Schalke 04. Rotterdam is also a working-class city, the fans love the club and spend every last cent on it. 5,000 fans have now traveled to Madrid and stood up to the 60,000 Madrilenians. And at home, De Kuip is a city landmark. A great cult stadium with the best atmosphere in the Netherlands.
Do you dream of a return to the Bundesliga?
At the moment I feel very comfortable at Feyenoord. But of course, if you, like me, played in the Bundesliga eight times at the age of 19, then you have that in the back of your mind. In recent years there has been occasional interest from Germany. But it also has to fit.
In contrast to Germany, in the Netherlands there is generally more emphasis on young people.
Do young goalkeepers have a particularly difficult time in Germany?
Goalkeepers are particularly in focus. This is due to the position and the responsibility that comes with it. For goalkeepers, trust is the most important thing. Mistakes happen to everyone. But at big clubs you can’t allow yourself many. In contrast to Germany, in the Netherlands there is generally more emphasis on youth. At just 27 years old, I am the fourth oldest player at Feyenoord.
What is important in a modern goalkeeper these days?
Of course he has to hold balls. But you also have to be able to play football well and be two-footed. Especially when a team like us at Feyenoord plays quickly from the back. As a goalkeeper, I often have to take risks and have the balls to do so.
One more sentence about your former club Schalke 04, please. Is your heart bleeding?
I feel for it because the club is unique. Incredible, this path from regular participation in the Champions League to the relegation place towards the 3rd league. But the season is still young and there is still a lot to be gained.