New Fulham signing Sascha Riether cannot wait to get started at Fulham – as he has already tasted the unique atmosphere at Craven Cottage.
The Germany international has arrived on a season-long loan from Cologne and although he is new to English football he has faced Fulham in a Europa League quarter-final for Wolfsburg in 2010.
The Cottagers won that one 3-1 on aggregate as they went all the way to the final and Riether has strong memories of the experience at his new home ground.
He said “It was a great stadium, very traditional. And the atmosphere was unbelievable. Wolfsburg lost so it was not good at the time but it was a great experience.”
Riether won the Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg in 2009 and was capped by Joachim Low the following year.
But his career took a turn for the worst when he moved to Cologne last season and was promptly relegated.
“It was very disappointing,” he said. “We had a very good team and we did well for the first part of the season. But then we had a lot of problems and going down was very frustrating.”
The 29-year-old is now looking forward to a new challenge in another country.
“I’m very happy to be here,” he added. “It’s always a great experience to change club and to change to a new country.
“In Germany, they say the Premier League is the best league in the world and for me it is a great honour to be at a big club with a big tradition like Fulham.
“I hope I can help Fulham progress in the right direction. At first, I have to get to know the players, the club, the crowd and the fans.
“We want to be successful, I won’t say which place we will reach in the league but we will see how we start and I hope we have a good season.
“It’s a big step for me as I have always played in Germany. I learned English in school but I have to learn more.
“I have been here for a few days and it has almost always been raining! I hope the summer comes soon. But it’s quite good for pre-season as it’s not too hot.”
Riether has enjoyed much of his success at right-back but is capable of operating anywhere across defence or midfield and is hoping his versatility can be an asset for Martin Jol’s side.
“In Germany, I played everywhere apart from in goal and as a striker!” he said.
“I am comfortable in most positions. I don’t have a position I feel I must play in; if the coach wants me to play somewhere I will try my best.”
If Riether settles at Craven Cottage, he has not ruled out adding to the two international caps he won in 2010.
“I hope to add to those appearances,” he added. “It will be a good experience to play here and there are other German players in the Premier League.
“The German coach will be looking at players like Lukas Podolski and Per Mertesacker at Arsenal so hopefully he will look at me too. We will see what happens.”