Stindl misses out, Elvedi and Hofmann return
The Foals began a new week of training on Tuesday morning without injured captain Lars Stindl.
Valentino Lazaro talks about the Foals’ recent wins against Schalke and Freiburg, the upcoming Bundesliga clash with Hertha BSC and the final run-in this season.
Tino, you’ve picked up two wins recently against Schalke and Freiburg. What do those victories mean to the squad?
Valentino Lazaro: They mean a great deal. Both wins were really important for our confidence and our mental state because we now know that we are capable of winning again. We hadn’t performed badly in the previous matches and yet we just couldn’t make the breakthrough – that was most obvious against Augsburg. So it was important for us to beat Schalke and Freiburg. The confidence is back and now hopefully we can lay it on even further against Hertha.
Last time out, you were 1-0 down to Freiburg. What do you think was the key to turning the game?
Lazaro: We didn’t have a good first half against Freiburg, but we knew that we had the goals in us – we’d already shown that with three against Schalke. So we didn’t let ourselves get hung up on it. We then changed the system a bit during the break and all fought together as one. In the second half we deservedly turned the game and could even have scored a third goal. We are obviously happy to have won in the end.
There’s another tough task right around the corner on Saturday with a trip to Berlin. What sort of game do you expect?
Lazaro: I expect an aggressive Hertha team. They are down there in the table and I think they will risk everything and not give us an inch. That means that it will be important for us to take on the fight and withstand the intensity. I think that if we can match Hertha’s intensity on the pitch then we are a bit better in terms of quality.
You’ve already touched on it – Hertha are near the bottom of the Bundesliga table. How do you rate them right now?
Lazaro: They are a bit of a mixed bag at the moment. They have some really high-quality individuals but they’ve not shown that quality often enough this season. They’ve changed the coach and now they have a man in the dugout, Pál Dárdai, who can motivate them and make them work together. We saw that in their 3-0 win over Leverkusen. So it's hard to know what to expect; they are an all or nothing kind of team. We obviously hope that we can swing Saturday’s game in our favour and show that we don’t want to give any points away.
Hertha BSC are one of your former clubs. Does that make it a special game for you?
Lazaro: Definitely. Hertha was my first top-flight club. I still have lots of people there that I know, lots of friends and so I am looking forward to going there and seeing some familiar faces again. But obviously I also want to show that I have developed myself and I want to beat Hertha with Borussia. I am just really looking forward to this match.
We are now into the final run-in of the season. What are your expectations for the last seven games?
Lazaro: We want to keep pressing forward during the run-in. Our aims remain the same: we know that the Europa League is within reach and that’s what we want to achieve. If we triumph in Berlin then we will have put our poor form behind us and started a little streak with three wins in a row. That will be the key. We want to take this good feeling and momentum with us into the rest of the season. We want to play to win in every game that we play. At the end of the season we will see what comes of it.