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Season Bundesliga 14.02.2013
Rajkovic: "I always believed I would get another chance"

Slobodan Rajkovic has had anything but an easy time of things since joining the Rothosen. But now “Boban” is back: He will start a game for the first time in almost a year when Borussia Mönchengladbach visit the Imtech Arena in Hamburg on Saturday (Sa, 16.02.2013, 15:30 CET) for a Bundesliga matchday 22 clash. We spoke to the 24 year old Serb before his big day. 

Things happened out of the blue: During HSV's superb 4-1 victory in Dortmund last weekend,  Jeffrey Bruma was sent off after 60  minutes for a nasty foul on Germany star Marco Reus. HSV boss Thorsten Fink reacted by taking off Rafael van der Vaart and bringing on Slobodan Rajkovic - a central defender. Boban as he is known immediately fitted in alongside Heiko Westermann. It now looks likely that the duo will start Saturday's eagerly-awaited clash, for which over 50,000 tickets have been sold. Thorsten Fink said this week: "It marks a huge chance for Boban to show what he can do for the next two matches." It was uncertain for a long time whether or not Rajkovic would ever play for HSV again, following the training altercation involving Heung Min Son on 13.07.2012. Rajkovic is now keen to take the second chance given to him by the club, as he told in an exclusive interview á few days ago:
Hello Boban, what went through your mind in Dortmund as you saw Jeffrey Bruma get sent off, and you were brought on for Rafael van der Vaart shortly afterwards?
Rajkovic: My first thoughts were with the team. We were down to ten men - and that in Dortmund. How tough our task was went through my mind. I only realised I would be coming on when Thorsten Fink called me to the bench while I was warming up. It was a great feeling, and a huge surprise because it all came so suddenly. The 30 minutes I played in Dortmund are behind me now and I am now focusing on the task ahead.

"Boban" fitted in perfectly after coming on in Dortmund.

Rajkovic can count on playing at least the next two games because of the two-game suspension handed to Bruma and the injury to English central defender Michael Mancienne.

Rajkovic: I feel really sorry for Jeff and Michael, because they are great lads - on and off the pitch. But that's football. You have to be prepared because everything can happen very quickly.

You have had a tough six months. Did you always believe you would get a second chance? 

Rajkovic: I have worked towards it for a long time and always believed that I would make my comeback. That is why I never wasted a thought about leaving HSV. 

Who in particular helped you through your difficult time?

Rajkovic: My girlfriend, family and close friends gave me tremendous support. But also my team mates and our coach did too. As I had to train with the reserves I never lost contact with the team. I feel I must thank the whole team and especially Thorsten Fink for their support. Such things are not foregone conclusions and it was a huge gesture. 

Rajkovic (here in his last game against Mainz last year) has put his tough time behind him.

The last time you started a game was in mid-March last year. What has changed for you since then?

Rajkovic: At the moment of course the general situation is more positive than last season. The atmosphere of the whole club is better, and we are playing really good football as we saw in Dortumnd. That makes it much easier for me to perform well at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday. 

You look likely to play alongside Heiko Westermann in front of the back four. Do you talk a lot together before such games?

Rajkovic: Heiko is helping me enormously at the moment. We communicate a lot and chat every day. So I am optimistic that we will be in harmony on the pitch on Saturday. It worked well in Dortmund.  

What are you feeling ahead of your return to the first team?

Rajkovic: I am a little tense, but in a positive way. I am really looking forward to Saturday and hope that I can help the team. 

Thanks for the chat Boban and good luck for Saturday.  

presented by
Bundesliga club for
Rk. Team Played +/- Pts.
1.  FC Bayern München 34 80: 17 88
2.  Borussia Dortmund 34 82: 34 78
3.  Bayer 04 Leverkusen 34 56: 40 60
4.  Borussia M´gladbach 34 67: 50 55
5.  FC Schalke 04 34 51: 49 52
6.  1. FSV Mainz 05 34 46: 42 50
7.  Hertha BSC 34 42: 42 50
8.  VfL Wolfsburg 34 47: 49 45
9.  1. FC Köln 34 38: 42 43
10.  Hamburger SV 34 40: 46 41
11.  FC Ingolstadt 04 34 33: 42 40
12.  FC Augsburg 34 42: 52 38
13.  SV Werder Bremen 34 50: 65 38
14.  SV Darmstadt 98 34 38: 53 38
15.  TSG Hoffenheim 34 39: 54 37
16.  Eintracht Frankfurt 34 34: 52 36
17.  VfB Stuttgart 34 50: 75 33
18.  Hannover 96 34 31: 62 25
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