The Eintracht access Dominik Kohr on his resolute style of play, living in a host family and why he likes it quietly private.
Dominik Kohr, 25, is footballing in the blood, almost his entire family plays or played high class, father Harald at that time in the Bundesliga, sister Karoline currently at 1.FC Köln in the Bundesliga, even the grandfather was a professional. No wonder that the Eintracht access quickly hit the football career and changed at a young age from Trier to Leverkusen, where he made parallel training as a sports and fitness merchant.
The Eintracht paid the iron-hard midfielder the proud sum of nine million euros. Kohr, married, has quickly become a regular player, he has completed a total of 148 Bundesliga games for Leverkusen, Augsburg and Frankfurt and scored four goals. At Eintracht he signed a contract until 2024.
Mr Kohr, let's be honest: Who is the best footballer in your family? Her father Harald, who played at 1.FC Kaiserslautern, her sister Karoline, who is active at 1. FC Köln, her grandfather Siegfried, who also kicked off as a pro, or you?
(laughs) I have to take that out because I'm playing in midfield, my dad, grandfather and sister play or play in the attack. You can not compare that, they have other qualities than me. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, Grandpa I have never seen, the dad only on videos. I'd rather not say anything or else I'll get in trouble with my own family (laughs).
Her father Harald was a real clippers, 97 Bundesliga games, 45 goals.
Yes, he really had a good quota. Too bad he had to end his career earlier than planned because of a knee injury.
But did you play further up the pitch in your youth?
Yes, I was a striker when I was young, when I moved to Leverkusen, I should play at ten, but then they quickly realized that my strengths were more in the midfield.
Dominik Kohr realized early on that he wanted to become a professional
You moved very early to Leverkusen, as a 14-year-old away from your hometown Trier, 200 kilometers away. Not an easy step, right?
The first year I stayed in Trier, I trained at my old club, the TuS Issel, and my father, who was at that time still DFB base coach. On Friday he drove me to Leverkusen, then I did the final training and played on Saturday in the B-youth. A year later I lived with a host family, the Diekmann family, my parents stayed in Trier. Leverkusen offers this instead of a boarding school. I was very pleased, and I got on very well with Marian Sarr (now the center-back at Carl Zeiss Jena, editor's note), who also lived there.
Was not it also homesick, so at 15, 16 alone away from home?
That did not happen at all, they did a lot, did a lot of training, it was very informal. I think homesickness is more likely in a boarding school.
Then the course for professional football was set early?
True, I knew that if I wanted to achieve something, I had to take that step and leave my village club, where I was really well educated.
Then it was definitely of great benefit that the father, as a former professional, knew what was important. Or would you have gone that way even if your father had been, say, an electrician?
My father always supported me right from the start, drove me, even changed my job so that he could drive me to Leverkusen at noon on Friday after school. And as a former professional he was able to give me many valuable tips, above all one thing: to enjoy this time.
Benefit from the change to Augsburg
By having to stand on your own so early, have you certainly been further in development than other guys?
Naturally one matures faster and earlier. You have to take responsibility early on. You can not just say, "Come on, Dad, give me 20 euros for the school". You have to see how you make ends meet, pay attention to the pocket money – but it was still the host family there. But the biggest step into personal responsibility was another.
When I switched to FC Augsburg with just under 20 years. So suddenly I had my own apartment, had to set up, take care of the food. It's a good thing that my present wife was there, she took over important things: cooking, for example (laughs).
In hindsight, that was a crucial step in your career. Even if it was a step back from Leverkusen to Augsburg, right?
At the time, I only had brief assignments at Bayer. In Augsburg, under coach Markus Weinzierl, I was able to take a lot of things with me. He helped me a lot. The move to FC Augsburg has brought me forward, even if it looked like a step back at first glance. The seasons over 90 minutes take you much further than just a lot of intense workouts. In Augsburg I was able to establish myself as a Bundesliga player. In any case, I first saw myself as a full-fledged Bundesliga player when I played many games over 90 minutes.
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In Augsburg you had a serious injury, in 2016 it was when the Mainz José Rodriguez slipped brutally into you. Her father had to end his career because of a knee injury. At that time, did you worry that everything could be over again?
In the end, it was just a soft tissue trauma. Yeah sure, it looked bad at first. But nothing was broken, that was the most important thing. After four weeks I was able to play again. I never had any worries about my career. But that's why my dad always told me to enjoy my time as a footballer. It can also be over quickly. And that's why I do that too, I suck up every moment on the field.
Also the Augsburg style of play suited you?
Yes. Augsburg was perfect for me, as the FC played, that suited my playing style very well. And the nickname Hard-Kohr is no coincidence. The Augsburger guys have seen me in training and in the games, and then Daniel Baier called me sometime Hard-Kohr.
But on the field nobody calls, "Hard-Kohr, play the ball long"?
No, no, but that's a nickname.
Never retreat – could that be how they describe their style of play?
Yes, but I never want to hurt the opponent, that's never my intention. I always try to help my crew go where it can hurt. That already. I just go into every fight with 100 percent, which also minimizes the risk of being hurt, because you always have the appropriate body tension.
Dominik Kohr calls himself a quiet guy
Against Racing Strasbourg you had sent the clear signal to your own team at the beginning of the second half, "Hello, we do not like everything".
Yes, it was a heated atmosphere in the game. That was an extreme game. Madness, a game that you can not easily forget. The cabin was packed, it was a unique, incredible atmosphere. For this you play football.
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But you're also a good footballer, is that sometimes too short for you, so you find yourself in the wrong drawers?
Since I can surprise people, when I shoot a few goals or footballing shine (laughs). No, I'm not only there for the physically stressed football games, I can kick too. But footballing is certainly upside down, if I see, for example, how Seppl Rode dribbles through the opponents, then I can even look something off. In the end I do not care how I'm seen, I do not look at grades in newspapers. My concern is how the coach sees me.
How would you describe yourself privately, are you such a daredevil as on the field?
No way, I'm a very quiet guy. Let's take Lukas Hradecky, who is well known here in Frankfurt. Lukas is a funny, special guy. When he comes to a room, he instantly has ten friends. It takes me an hour to talk to somebody. I am rather reserved, I do not need a presence in my private life. I'm a different guy on the field (laughs).
Have you talked to Lukas Hradecky about harmony?
Sure, he has really only good things about Eintracht reported. Of course this also helps with such a decision.
In Leverkusen, when you came back from Augsburg, it was almost perfect, coach Heiko Herrlich often praised you. At the end under Peter Bosz nothing went at all.
Yes, at first it went great. The time under Heiko Herrlich was great, if he was still a coach, I would probably still be in Leverkusen. But that's football. Every coach has his own ideas, and in the end it did not work out. It was time to leave, even though I always felt comfortable in Leverkusen.
In Goncalo Paciencia the knot will burst
They came in with Peter Bosz only a few times, that's it. How frustrating is it if you do not even come to the train?
It was not an easy phase, of course. But my father also told me: Be glad that you are allowed to play at such a club. I have always given full throttle, when the coach needed me, I was there. There's no point in bringing in stress, but ultimately the team's success counts. We reached the Champions League in the end and I was very happy about that. I support the teammates 100 percent – no matter if I play or not.
How did you become a member of Frankfurt?
Super. I did not have to go to the boys, they approached me. I've never experienced that in any way. Characteristically, this is a great team. I'm super fit, I think you can see that, too.
The team has almost lost their entire storm, but also gained top-class players. How do you see it?
Last year, a whole lot of goals were scored there, but now others have to jump into the breach. I think that will work. Against Dusseldorf one has seen how it can run, there comes Bas Dost pure and equal to the gate, as you can see that he has quality. And Gonco (Goncalo Paciencia) is a great player who may have lost a bit last season. But in every training I see what he can do. With him, the node will still burst.
What's in it for the harmony this season?
We would have earned a point in Leipzig, then we would now have seven points, so we have six. We are still in the Cup, qualifying for the Europa League group stage – that's a great start to the season. What I feel above all: The team is always up to the last second full throttle, does not stick back and always believes in itself. That's a big advantage. I am convinced that we can be at the top.
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