Gersbach eyes Champions League after 'crazy six months'

Australia defender Alex Gersbach has set his sights on the main draw of the UEFA Champions League as he enjoys another chapter in a "crazy six months" since leaving Sydney FC for Norwegian champions Rosenborg, and after breaking through for the Socceroos.

Gersbach

Alex Gersbach has had a strong season with Rosenborg Source: RBK web



Gersbach, who was on the bench as Rosenborg defeated APOEL 2-1 on Thursday (AEDT) in the first leg of their Champions League qualifier, has already made 10 appearances this season for the club racing clear at the top of the Tippeligaen.

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And now the teenager wants to make the starting left-back spot his own, after currently being locked in a two-way tussle with the experienced Norwegian international Jorgen Skjelvik.

"It would be being pretty special to make it into the (UCL) group stages," Gersbach said.

"This club has had some big results over the years in the main draw of the competition and there’s a buzz of excitement from the fans about being in there again this year, so there’s a bit of pressure on us at the moment.

"If it happens, it would amazing for me if we made it into the group stages.

"It’s been a crazy six months so far since joining Rosenborg in February, playing here and then making my Socceroos debut (against Greece off the bench in Sydney and then as a starter in the follow up game in Melbourne).

Competing with Skjelvik, Gersbach aims to make the spot his own as the season unfolds.

"I’ve been getting a fair bit of game time in the league and I am enjoying it, and hopefully I can cement a spot in the starting eleven and play in the Champions League as well," he said.

"Jorgen also plays a bit at centre back as well, and he’s an experienced player. But there are so many games at the moment, there have been plenty of opportunities for me, and I just want to build from this.

"My aim is to be seen as the first choice left-back … if I accomplish that before the end of the year I will satisfied."

"Also, If I keep playing well here, hopefully I will be involved again for the next World Cup qualifier against Iraq (in Perth on 1 September).”

Gersbach is also jousting for the left-back role for Australia with his close pal and arch-rival Brad Smith.

"We have been chosen in the last few camps and hopefully I have done enough to keep my spot in the squad," Gersbach said.

"I’m happy how I've been going in the camps, although against Greece in Melbourne in June, in my starting debut, probably wasn’t my best.

"Coming off the bench in Sydney also was big experience - they were both tough and I will learn from that."

Gersbach was one of the first to congratulate Smith on his $10.5 million move from Liverpool to Bournemouth.



"We get on really well and I sent him message the other day ... I am really happy for him." he said.

"I am sure he will do really well there. It’s a big opportunity for him."

Defending champions Rosenberg are six pints clear in the Tippeligaen, and expected to dominate again this season, with Gersbach declaring: "We have some great players and it’s a good club to be at."

"Maybe the standard of the rest of the league isn’t up to scratch with us, but our club has so much quality.

"We are pretty much expected to win the league and the cup as well … anything else is considered a failure.

"That would be the feeling also if don't qualify for the main draw of the champions league."


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4 min read
Published 28 July 2016 at 8:05pm
By Dave Lewis