At the 2:1 win of Birmingham City vs. Rotherham United on 2nd April 2015 (Good Friday) Robert Tesche wrote a small chapter of club history. His goal was the first league goal scored by a German for the Blues. The first - and also the only - German goal for the Blues up to then was scored by Tony Hey in October 1997 at the 1:4 defeat at Arsenal in the League Cup.
After the game I had the opportunity to make an interview in the board rooms with Robert Tesche, who could only choose between two colours during his eight years of professional football. After his time in Bielefeld (blue), Hamburg (blue) and Düsseldorf (red), the defensive midfielder has now been kicking the ball in England since last summer. First for Nottingham Forest (red) who loaned him to the Blues on 2nd March 2015.
Robert, congratulations to the victory against Rotherham and the first „German“ goal in the league history of Birmingham City.
RT: Thank you. We deserved the win today. I didn’t know the fact about the first goal scored by a German in the history of the Blues. But it’s a good feeling to be part of this special episode ob the club's history (laughs).
How were your first months at the Blues?
RT: I am enjoying it. It was easy for me to come into the team because the lads are good guys. I didnt’t know anyone here and everything was new for me. But everybody in the club helped me, so it’s been good. The first three games were alright but the last one (0:2 at Cardiff) wasn’t such a good game. But I am in the Starting XI. It feels good to have the gaffer's confidence.
It wasn’t like this at Forest?
RT: That’s right. And that was the reason for the loan-transfer. At the start of the season I played many games under Stuart Pearce. But it changed completely with the arrival of the new gaffer. He was new and he didn’t know me. I had the opportunity to go to Birmingham. After the first talk with Gary Rowett I had the impression that I am a player that he maybe needs for his team.
After seven years in the German Bundesliga you are now playing in England. Is it a big difference?
RT: At first it was a challenge for me because I didn’t know the Championship before. But for me a dream came true because it was my dream to play in England. In this country football is most popular. Everyone knows in English football there are a lot of fanatic fans. I love the style of playing. In English football there is more aggression and you have more contact with your body. The referees in England don’t blow the whistle that often. I like it because the games are not stopped so many times. I haven’t been disappointed so far.
What’s your opinion about the level of the Championship?
RT: The top teams like to have more possession and create chances. A lot of the other teams stay deep and just kick the ball long. Sometimes if you don't score the first goal it is difficult. The teams in the division are quite different.
After today’s win the relegation battle has come to a happy end for Birmingham. What are your aims for the rest of the season?
RT: There are some games to play and we want to earn as many points as possible. Especially at home we don’t want to disappoint our fans.
How long have you got left on your contract at Forest and would you consider a permanent move to Birmingham if that was an option?
RT: I have one more year at Forest. First I have to go back to Forest after the last match of this season. That’s the point we are at now. It was a good time at Forest in the first half of the season. And it’s also a good time here now at Birmingham so it is not easy to say what will happen in the summer. In any case I would like to stay in England.
For me as a fan of Birmingham City but also Fortuna Dusseldorf it would be interesting to know why Fortuna could not manage to avoid relegation in 2012/13. Were you still able to enjoy the six months at Dusseldorf?
RT: The time in Dusseldorf was a valuable experience for me despite the relegation from the Bundesliga. There were some parallels to my situation now. I hardly got any playing time for the HSV, and so I was loaned to Fortuna
for the second half oft he season. Right in our first game after a good first half as a newly promoted team we lost at home against Augsburg. That was the decisive point from which we could not recover.
You played in Bielefeld under the legendary coach Ernst Middendorp. So no manager can really surprise you any longer, can they?
RT: Actually you’re right, Ernst was a very special type of gaffer (laughs). But I have to thank him for many things. He brought me to the professional football at Arminia Bielefeld. I’m still in touch with him. Unfortunately he was dismissed at Chippa United, South Africa, a couple of days ago.
Back to Birmingham. How do you live here?
RT: My family (spouse Martina and the little son Tom, born in Nottingham in December) and I have only been living here in Birmingham for a couple of weeks, and I haven’t found the time yet to explore the city due to the many training sessions and games. But we live at Brindleyplace right in the centre. It’s very beautiful there, although it’s sometimes quite loud at the weekends.
And English breakfast and driving on the left - two nightmares for Germans in England…?
RT (laughs): I don’t have any problem with either of them. The bacon is quite nice. Apart from that I like baked potatoes, which are really delicious here. And concerning
traffic, I got used to it really quickly. However I took my car from Germany with me - with the steering wheel on the left side...