Konstantinos Mavropanos is in his second season on loan at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, and the 23-year-old is showing exactly why the club fought so hard to have him for another year. The Greece international talks about his recent goals, the Stuttgart team spirit and how the club compares to parent-club Arsenal.
Mavropanos on his season so far
Personally, I think this season is getting better. I mean I’m playing better, better than last season, and that helps me because the team, the staff, everyone here supports me, so the environment makes you play good.
Mavropanos on his scoring form
I’m in competition with Kempfy because he has three goals also! It’s good to have scored for the team because I always try to help the team, and when we get the result from the goals, this is always the best thing.
Mavropanos on playing striker as a kid
Of course, I think everyone changes position at a young age. For me, I was playing a few years like a striker, but not professionally.
Mavropanos on his qualities going forward
Yeah, of course, this is something that you work on every day in training, and also when you have the self-confidence, I think you can make better things. When the space is there, and the situation of the game is there, you can make something different of your position. That’s why I made these three goals.
Mavropanos on scoring more than usual
Yeah, it was a long time ago. In Arsenal, I didn’t have the luck to score, but here luckily I have more goals, and this is good for the team also.
Mavropanos on the mood at VfB
We have 26 games more. Of course, we didn’t start the way we wanted, but every game is getting better for us, and you can see from the last two results. I think we work really hard, and we have the confidence that we’re going to be higher in the table.
Mavropanos on whether he is a ‘monster’
Outside of the pitch, I’m a nice guy! But on the pitch, of course, I show my passion and everything, this is also the Greek DNA. This is the way we play sometimes.
Mavropanos on being one of the leaders
I cannot choose this, it’s about the trainer, and when the trainer says that we captain, we have to follow them.
Mavropanos on Greek DNA
It’s about passion, about, how to explain, of course about passion and determination, how strong you feel on the pitch.
Mavropanos on his speed and strength
Of course, you have talent on some things, but if you don’t train them and you don’t improve some other things then you are stable. Of course, it’s also about work.
Mavropanos on confidence in games
Yes, because as a defender this is the way we want to play. When you win a duel or a header or whatever, of course, you get confidence, and you can play easily during the game. It’s part of our game, so it’s important to win these duels.
Mavropanos on playing a back 3 vs. a back 4
I’ve played this position before. Last season, I struggled a little bit, to be honest, but after working hard and help from the team, it’s getting better and I feel really good.
Mavropanos on goals for the season
If we can get the position of last season and we get higher, this would be perfect. Otherwise, we have to see first each game, and what we can do after that.
Mavropanos on his thoughts on the Bundesliga
In my opinion, I think it comes after Premier League. Of course, I think Premier League is the best league in the world, and then after that, it’s Bundesliga, because it’s really intense and very similar to the Premier League. The players here are really talented, the young players, and also experienced, and it gets harder every season.
Mavropanos on playing in front of fans
I think it’s the best thing when you play with your own fans in the stadium, and it’s sold out. What is a better feeling than that?
Mavropanos on his option to stay
I cannot say that for now. Of course, I feel – the environment here, the people, the club, the city is amazing – but it’s too early to speak about it because we have eight months more, and I cannot say something about it.
Mavropanos on whether he will stay at VfB
Hopefully! I don’t know, we’ll see. First, we have to finish the season, to be healthy, and then we can see what we can do.
Mavropanos on Stuttgart’s team spirit
Of course, it’s important to follow some plan, and during this plan, you need to have these kinds of things, otherwise, the plan is not going in a good way. You have your plan and follow it, but if you don’t have these kinds of things, the team is not in a good way.
Mavropanos on the head coach
Everyone around the club, also the players, not only the coach. The coach gives the plan, and if we don’t follow this plan then it’s not good for us, so everyone has to work this way. I like the way he speaks, the way he controls us. To help us, how he helps the team and everything around that.
Mavropanos on the hardest teammate to play against
For me, was Silas, because last season in training we had a lot of duels, and the way he plays is so difficult. But yeah, we have too many players that have potential and have such good skills.
Mavropanos on comparing Stuttgart with Arsenal
In the locker room, I’ve been in, in both teams, I feel familiar with both teams. The way people speak to you and come to meet you is quite similar, and this is good because you feel like from the first day you’ve been here many years or whatever.
Mavropanos on Arsenal’s defence
No, I played once with Chambers, I played also 20 minutes with Mertesacker, and I played with David Luiz and Socrates once. I was before Saliba, Gabriel, and Ben White.
Mavropanos on playing in Mertesacker’s last game
At that moment, it was his last game. It was a bit emotional for him and really special for me to be in this game because it was also the last game at the Emirates for Wenger. So, that would be one of my best days, maybe.”
Mavropanos on playing for Greece
For every football player, when he plays for the national team, it’s something really good. It’s an honour to play for the national team, and also for me when I can play… But yeah, of course, when you play for your national team it’s something special because you think about your family, your country, and everyone around this country.
Mavropanos on Greece’s team
Yeah, I think we’re in a good way, because like you said, we have a younger squad and young players. We also have experienced players, but most of them are younger, and I think we’re in a good way. We found our steps, and soon I think we’re going to be in a big competition.
Mavropanos on where he began playing football
I began playing football in Greece, in Apollon Smyrnis, which is the team I started playing football. … I was five, or six.
Mavropanos on coaches who have had an impact on him
Yeah, of course, I think from a young age, when you have different coaches, they have different philosophies, and you always take something from them to adapt and become better and improve every single thing. Everyone makes part of it.
Mavropanos on academy vs. playground
I mean, both, because when you’re younger you play in an academy and then you want to go to play with your friends. I did both.
Mavropanos on his move to Arsenal
I remember it was 1st January when I travelled to London, and I couldn’t believe I’m going to sign for Arsenal, it was something really special for me.
Mavropanos on moving to a new country
Of course, it looks difficult, but for me, it was not difficult to adapt because as I said, Arsenal was a really familiar club and the people around were really good to me from the first day.
Mavropanos on his family
They always follow my steps, they didn’t want to stop me from football. It was my wish to become a professional football player, and they always followed and trusted me. I hope I make them proud.
Mavropanos on his goal vs. Hoffenheim
First, for example I see the opponent, that I can’t go in front of him. Then, I think that if he takes one touch, I can steal the ball, and that’s why I did it there. I didn’t see any player on that side, like a teammate or something, because the opponent again tried to close the outside. It was a little bit easy to go inside, and then I take a really big touch, to be honest, but afterwards I made this finish because I was in front of the goal. … I don’t use this word, because in training I always use my left also. It’s about work. So I cannot say that in professional football you use a ‘weak’ foot – you have both feet and you have to use them, you know.
Mavropanos on his goal vs. Freiburg
Again, I take a big touch in the beginning, and then it’s the time that maybe I could go further, you know. And after, I take one touch, I was a bit lucky because I won the duel from nowhere, and then I see my teammate, I think it was Hamadi there. Yeah, and he plays me back really well, I take a good touch, and I was in front of the keeper, and then the finish. That was a good finish, a good finish also!
Mavropanos on his goal vs. Gladbach
Yeah, because when Omar gives me the ball, I have so much space to take the first touch, and I think it’s the best situation to try to shoot. Of course, I’m not used to it, because I don’t shoot in every single game, but in this situation, I thought that was the best decision to make there.