Berlin: Werder Bremen`s Ukrainian coach Viktor Skripnik admits he struggles to focus on football amidst daily worries about his family in war-torn Ukraine.
After five straight wins and a draw, Bremen have shot up from the bottom of the Bundesliga in December to challenge for a European place ahead of Sunday`s home clash against second-placed VfL Wolfsburg.
But Skripnik, 45, says his thoughts often drift to eastern Ukraine as his relatives live close to the frontline between government forces and Pro-Russian rebels.
"My brother and my in-laws live in Ukraine," he told German daily Bild on Sunday.
"The frontline is only 220kms (136mi) away from my home town -- for a rocket, that`s not far.
"My brother should have enlisted, but because he is the only one in the family who earns a living, the military aren`t allowed to take him.
"But no one knows how long that will last.
"It really worries me."
Skripnik explained why he can not bring his family to Germany.
"A visa only lasts three months, then you can only have a new one after 12 months," he said.
"When I get up, the first thing I do is take a coffee to the computer and read the news from the previous night.
"There is a site which shows where the border currently lies.
"I ring my brother everyday to see how the family is.
"It`s not easy to blend that out when you go to work."
Having previously coached Bremen`s Under-23 side, Skripnik took charge of Bremen in October when Robin Dutt was sacked as head coach and he endured a few particularly stressful weeks when his team were bottom of the league.
"When you lose 4-1, you can`t trip off home like an idiot with a grin on your face," he said.
"I lost three kilos (six pounds) during that time, which are unfortunately back.
"My wife asked if I really needed the stress, but anyone who wants to coach will eventually want to work in the Bundesliga."