Second round of World Cup qualifying for eight Foals
World Cup qualifying continues on Sunday evening as eight Foals are in action for their international teams.
In an interview with Lars Stindl, the captain talks about the reaction from the team following head coach Marco Rose’s decision to leave the club in the summer, Borussia’s current position in the Bundesliga, and the upcoming games against Mainz 05 and Manchester City.
Lars, the week began with Marco Rose announcing his decision to leave Borussia in the summer after two years at the club in order to join BVB. How did the team react to this announcement?
Lars Stindl: The team were of course a bit disappointed, but reacted very professionally to the news. It was a good discussion with Max Eberl and Marco Rose. The coach laid out the reasons behind his decision and explained why he made this choice. He then immediately put the focus back on the upcoming tasks that lie ahead of us. Within the team, we accepted his decision because something like that is normal these days in football. At the same time, we also all said that we want to take advantage of what we can still achieve this season, together with this coach and his team.
So, you don’t think that this decision will have any negative impact on your goals for this season?
Stindl: Not at all. Of course we’ve picked up on some of the unrest outside of the club. That’s to be expected after a decision like this. Overall, however, we as a team and as a club have been able to handle it well. I’m confident that nothing will change in that regard over the next weeks and months. Our coach is ambitious enough to want to achieve the maximum of what’s possible here. As players, we’re just as ambitious. We know what’s still possible for us this season. For this reason alone, we will have to make it our number one goal, and strive for maximum success.
You’ve lost just one of the last eight Bundesliga games, but are winless in your last three. How do you see the team’s current position?
Stindl: We started strong after the winter break. However, we also had to improve on our results at the end of 2020, which we managed to do at the start of this year. We’re currently treading water a bit, with the two draws and the frustrating defeat in the derby recently. That’s why we really want to win again in order to close the gap to the teams currently ahead of us. Our goal is to bypass some of them before the end of the season. But, we’re taking it all step-by-step and right now our focus is only on the upcoming game against Mainz on Saturday.
Mainz have improved of late, and have picked up eight points from their last eight games. How difficult do you think this weekend’s game will be?
Stindl: Mainz are definitely experiencing a turnaround under Bo Svensson. He took over with the club in the midst of a difficult situation and has quickly managed to restructure them and bring some new energy into their game. They played extremely well in Leverkusen last weekend and deservedly picked up a point. They play hard and enjoy switching over to attack, which is what makes them dangerous at the moment. Regardless, we’re going into the game with the desire to win.
Immediately after, you guys will play the first leg of your Champions League round of 16 game against Manchester City. Is it too soon to talk about that game?
Stindl: We’re currently focused solely on the game against Mainz, but the game against Man City is certainly on our minds. It’s a highlight, one that we worked to achieve in the group stage. We’re looking forward to it, even it if means that we have to face what is probably the best team in the world at the moment. But, we knew already that we wouldn’t have an easy go of it in this competition. We proved during the group stage that we can compete with the big teams and will look to take our chances against City. They are the clear favourites, but we will do everything we can to get a positive result on Wednesday in order to set ourselves up well for the second leg.