Match facts ahead of #SVWBMG
All you need to know as the Foals visit Werder Bremen on Saturday evening (18:30 CEST) in their first game back after the international break.
In an interview, Borussia’s captain Lars Stindl discusses the current international break, the Foals’ start to the season, his new role in left midfield and his newest milestone.
Lars, you’re currently just one of a few players training at the moment, due to the international break and injuries. What’s it like training among such a small group?
Stindl: Of course it’s tougher to practice things like pure tactics with such a small group, but we’re working on a few things through different game formats. We’re soon going to be working on our form and fitness, too – whoever thought that we were going to take it down a few notches has it definitely wrong (laughs). The mood is still very good, in any case.
How inconvenient is the timing of this international break, coming after a 3-0 home victory against Leipzig?
Stindl:We’re feeling very good at the moment and are always looking forward to our Bundesliga matches. But to not play at the weekend and to be able to take a break will definitely do us some good. We’ve got our fingers crossed that all of our players on international duty get good results and come back fit and healthy. Then together, we can turn our attention on the second half of the season up until November. Those will be an intense few weeks, during which we can build upon what we have done so far.
After the Leipzig game, Jonas Hofmann said that it was your best performance of the season so far. Do you agree with him?
Stindl:It was definitely a successful evening of football all round. We managed to delight our fans, especially with the way we played. That we managed to withstand the pressure which definitely arose in the build-up to the game, and then bring such a solid performance to the pitch, was very positive. It really made me happy that we were rewarded for all the effort we had put in before the game.
You’ve picked up 12 points from your first seven Bundesliga games. How do you assess your start to the season?
Stindl:It’s very reasonable. We’re still a little annoyed by the home defeat to Mainz, but we have to accept it – it just wasn’t meant to be on the day. On the whole, we’ve scored at a respectable rate, delivered good performances, withstood a lot of resistance and showed a lot of spirit. So there are plenty of tenets that we’ve already demonstrated at this point in the season. That makes me feel good about the rest of the season, as we will have to deal with many other things that come up.
You’ve only conceded five goals so far this season – the second lowest in the league – where did this sudden defensive stability come from?
Stindl:The team and the coach really put a lot of focus on improving the defence. As a team, we’ve been working on our game both in and out of possession. We are currently looking very compact and are defending robustly. Through having plenty of possession of our own, we’ve been trying to give the opposition as little space as possible so that they’re not really able to put something together when the ball is turned over. In Yann Sommer, we’ve got a solid goalkeeper, and we have had luck on our side on a couple of occasions.
You had to miss a lot of the start of the season yourself due to injury. How frustrating was that, and are you feeling like you’re back to 100%?
Stindl: It was very unfortunate that I got injured in our first competitive game after an intense pre-season. But I worked hard and luckily didn’t lose too much time, as I was able to get back to training rather quickly. I’m feeling fit again and pleased that I have been able to play my part in our success so far.
You’ve started the last two games in a row now, albeit in a different position. Are you enjoying your current role?
Stindl:Playing on the left is a little bit unusual for me. I have missed this position at Borussia (grins). Effectively, the role is absolutely fine for me, especially when it needs to be filled. If the skills that I can bring to the table are needed on the left hand side, then I will try to implement them there. I definitely see think the position as different to that of a classic left attacking midfielder. But I often try to find a way into the centre, and from there exert my influence on the game. In the last two games, that has gone very well.
You played your 350th Bundesliga game against Leipzig, with 196 of those in Gladbach colours -congratulations once again. What does this milestone mean to you?
Stindl: It definitely is something big, and it really means a lot to me. I would have never thought that I’d play so many Bundesliga matches, and now it’s up to 350. I really am proud of this figure. My next target is now to get to 200 for Borussia – to have played so often for this great club would really fill me with pride. While it is ultimately just a statistic, it’s special to be able to look back on that sort of number when your career comes to an end.
Your first game after the international break is an away trip to SV Werder Bremen. What sort of game are you expecting?
Stindl:We’ve had some really good games in Bremen in the past, so I’m really looking forward this match. Plenty of fans will definitely be travelling there too to cheer us on, which will make it even better. But the home crowd there knows how to drum up an atmosphere. Werder have a good squad and have pulled off some great results so far – like their 3-2 win in Dortmund, for example. They always approach their games with a good plan. That means we have to be fully focused and bring everything we’ve got to the pitch. If we manage that, then we’ve also got the chance to come away with three points – which is also our aim.