Borussia win last pre-season friendly 2-1 against Groningen
The Foals recorded a 2-1 win in their final friendly of pre-season against Dutch top-flight side FC Groningen.
In an interview, Jonas Hofmann speaks about the upcoming match against Union Berlin, his comeback from injury and the current level within the team.
Jonas, you are unbeaten so far this year. How pleased are you currently with the team’s performances?
Hofmann: We’ve taken 13 points from our last five games, which is what we were aiming for. We wanted to win as many games as possible, especially the big ones against Dortmund, Bayern and Leipzig. Getting into a run of form like that is important in order to keep challenging at the top of the table. We’ve muscled our way in now, but no one is interested in what happened last week against Dortmund. We need to build on that this weekend in Berlin in order to keep going.
Union Berlin are this season’s surprise package in the Bundesliga. The reverse fixture ended 1-1 earlier this season. Looking back on it now, how would you describe that game?
Hofmann: We played well against them earlier this season, but conceded the equaliser late on. We obviously don’t want that to happen on Saturday. It’s true that Union Berlin have served for surprise this season. We all know that we will need to be in top form this weekend. But, we definitely want to take home all three points.
In previous seasons, Union tended to play a lot of high balls. Since then, however, your upcoming opponents have switched things up a bit...
Hofmann: Yes, that’s true. Union’s style of play has changed, which is also down to the players they’ve signed. For example, Max Kruse fits perfectly into their system. They maybe lacked that a bit during their first Bundesliga season, but they still managed to stay up. That was their first goal, and now they’re able to focus on other areas, which is good for their development. For us, it’s also good to be facing a team that is looking to play instead of just relying on long balls. We will have to prepare ourselves for a different game compared to last season.
You missed several games at the end of last year due to a muscular injury. The team went through a bit of a slump then. Does that go to show just how important you are to the team?
Hofmann: I can’t say whether that was just a coincidence, or if the team was only going through a phase. Sometimes it just happens that a team goes through a couple weeks where things aren’t going so well. Every team experiences that at least once over the course of a season. That doesn’t always coincide with a player being injured. However, I’m happy to be fit again and the fact that things are going well for us once again is also great. That helps give you confidence, especially when you’re coming back from an injury and are being included in the starting XI straight away. That definitely had a positive impact on me over the first couple of games.
You continued on from the strong performances you had been delivering before your injury. Were you expecting that to happen?
Hofmann: I was out injured for nearly six weeks, but luckily it doesn’t take too long to find your way back after that much time out. It’s not always the case that it goes as quickly as it did for me, but when you come back and start winning games again and also have the right amount of luck to be involved in goals, then that helps. It feels like you never left. It’s a challenge to use that momentum and to build on it. But, I love a challenge and am highly motivated. It wasn’t to be expected that I would play again straight away, but I’m very critical of myself which motivates me to want to be back as quickly as possible.