After the 2-2 draw against Werder Bremen on Friday night, the players were visibly disappointed at having given away a two-goal lead. We spoke to Jonas Hofmann about the match.
Jonas, the team played so well up until half time: You dominated the game and went 2-0 up. What was different in the second half? How did Bremen eventually manage to salvage a point at BORUSSIA-PARK?
Hofmann: We had a really good feeling going in 2-0 up at the break – you can’t ask for much more on a Friday night game. We even spoke at half time and prepared ourselves for a more attacking Werder side who would change their system. We wanted to start well in the second half and we were able to, but then we let Bremen peg us back in our defensive third more and more; we didn’t bring the game to the opposition as we had done in the first half. We definitely need to have a close look and analyse what went wrong there. When you give away a 2-0 lead, it feels like a defeat – this was two points dropped.
Did the changes to the defensive midfield affect the team negatively in the second half? Did they make you less dominant?
Hofmann: The fact that we had to take off Denis Zakaria, who was in danger of being sent off, and Christoph Kramer with an injury certainly didn’t help things. These substitutions were definitely not solely to blame for the result: at the end of the day, they were replaced by players who know what they’re doing in that position. Of course, we had to change things up a little, I even played at defensive midfield for the last ten minutes, because Tony Jantschke had replaced Reece Oxford on the right. We just weren’t able to do what we’d set out to at half time.
In the first half, the team attacked with efficiency – taking full advantage of Werder’s mistakes on two occasions.
Hofmann: With a bit of luck we might even have made it three and I don’t think Werder would have got back into the game from that. Of course it’s good that we were so efficient in the first half, but after 90 minutes it means nothing, because we only came away with a point.
You mentioned a possible third goal. You had a headed chance yourself in the 50th minute – Bremen’s Johannes Eggestein blocked the shot with his arm, preventing that third goal. The referee had another long look at the incident but decided to give a corner. What are your thoughts on this?
Hofmann: I spoke to the refereeing assistants whilst still on the pitch; they confirmed that it did hit his hand. The question was whether it was intentional or not – I was told immediately after the game that my header would probably have gone in, and, in my opinion, Eggestein makes himself bigger with his arms, so it could, if not should have been a penalty. The decision was obviously frustrating for us, but that wasn’t the deciding factor either.
Last weekend we enjoyed our first win for a while, today was just a draw. What do you make of the result with the next game away to Leverkusen in mind?
Hofmann: There’s no need to make a big deal of this now, just because a poor second half meant we couldn’t come away with a win. This will not faze us: we’ve shown great character in recent games despite the results and put in a good performance in the first half today. We want to keep improving – there are a lot of games to go, a lot of points to be won. Next weekend we face a tough opposition in Leverkusen, but we will go into the game with confidence.