His goals have endeared the German-Turkish player to the hearts of VfB fans. His easygoing, warm, and humorous nature further ensures that Undav is highly regarded by the fans. The man who looks for fun in everything he does will face Bremen on Saturday, the club that once painfully let him go.
In the youth ranks of Werder Bremen, the now Stuttgart-based player's time ended after about five years. There were doubts that the then somewhat stockier youth player could have a future in professional football. As the now 27-year-old himself admits: "I never dreamed of playing in the Bundesliga." Let alone becoming a professional at all.
A time that shaped the German-Turkish player on his journey through the amateur leagues, the Regionalliga, the 3. Liga, all the way to the top. "I know what it was like to play in lower leagues. That's why I try to have fun," says the striker, who has scored seven goals in nine appearances. "I'm a joker, relaxed, like to make jokes, and try not to take everything too seriously. What's better than pursuing your hobby? And that in the Bundesliga."
Consequently, the reunion with his Bremen past does not seem to weigh heavily on him. "I also read that he was sorted out and that it was not so easy for him," says VfB coach Sebastian Hoeneß. The Stuttgart head coach hasn't noticed any change in behavior these days. "He is as communicative as usual," jokes the 41-year-old. "I haven't noticed anything special, or that he is different or extra motivated. He is always motivated."
Bremen can thus come for the man who, with his good performances and especially his goals, is making a strong case for selection in the German national team. Undav, who for the first time is allowed to lead the attack alongside Serhou Guirassy, is also relaxed about this. "For me, all of this is new. I'm just trying to enjoy it," says the loanee from Brighton Hove & Albion.
Undav has two options for the European Championship
His dual citizenship could also open the door for Turkey, which is also directly qualified for EURO 2024 next summer. Whoever calls the striker first in the event of a decision could have an advantage. "I'm quite open. If I get called, we'll have to see which option would be the best. Let's see what happens."
To increase the chance of that happening, not much needs to be considered. "He has to do what he's doing right now: score goals, show good performances, and help us be successful. That keeps both us and him in focus," says Hoeneß. "Then everything is possible."
There is also enough time for this. "Now, for a few months, there are no nominations, so the question can be put on hold. Deniz can't influence this. The only thing he can influence is his performance. And they have been good and will hopefully continue to be good."