Ahead of his 150th Bundesliga appearance for Borussia this weekend against Schalke, Yann Sommer spoke in an interview about this milestone, the current season and the club’s development since he arrived four and a half years ago.
Yann, two games, six points, no goals conceded – it doesn’t get any better for a goalkeeper...
Sommer:Not for a goalkeeper, no (laughs). You can never quite predict how you’ll get up and running after a winter break, and we actually had two or three friendlies in that time which weren’t exactly outstanding. To then go on and hit the ground running in the second half of the season is fantastic. We deserve it as well, in my opinion, because we’ve shown that we’re capable of being ready for anything on the day.
Altogether, Borussia have kept nine clean sheets – more than any other team in the league. How does this come about after finishing last season with a negative goal difference?
Sommer:There’s a lot of reasons for this: Firstly, the composition of the team has changed a little, plus the fact that compared to last season we’ve had very few injury problems. When things are going your way, you step out with more and more confidence and self-belief every week. At the moment we’re just finding a great balance between attack and defence.
Borussia have conceded least amount of goals and scored the third-most...
Sommer:... which is partly down to our change of formation from a 4-4-2 to our current 4-3-3. The aim was to start creating more chances, but to continue defending our own goal well. At the moment, we’re doing both very well.
You are also having an outstanding season yourself – is this your best season yet for Borussia?
Sommer:I don’t think too much about that. I also thought my first two seasons at Borussia were really good. Fundamentally, as a goalkeeper, you live alongside and off the team’s success. If it’s going well for the team, it’s usually going well for the goalkeeper.
On Saturday against Schalke you’ll be making your 150th appearance for Borussia. What does this milestone mean to you?
Sommer:This is my fifth season at Gladbach and I’ll soon have 150 league appearances under my belt. I’m extremely happy about this and it makes me proud. When I moved here four and a half years ago, you couldn’t have automatically expected it to go this well. It’s just fun being able to play for this club.
What have you made of the club’s development since your arrival?
Sommer:The development has been very positive – the club is on the right track. When I think back to how it was four and a half years ago when I drove up to the stadium, and compare that to the current state, with hotel and campus etc., then I have to say it’s been an amazing development, which is not over yet. I am very excited to see where it will take Borussia next. For now though, we just want to keep on going with this terrific season we’re having.
Schalke are our next obstacle on Saturday. In recent years there have been a number of top-class encounters, like in 2017, when the teams met in the last 16 of the Europa League...
Sommer:Was that the game with the faulty pitch?! The one that made me concede a goal? In all honesty, I can shrug off games like this very quickly and start looking ahead. It still wasn’t a nice experience, because we had every chance of going through to the quarterfinals that game and were unlucky to be knocked out in the end.
In the first round of fixtures this season, Borussia were a step ahead of an injury-plagued Schalke side. What kind of a game are you expecting this time?
Sommer:An entirely different game against a team that seems to have found their feet and have started well into the second half of the season. It will be a tough battle between two teams that are currently in good form and I’m really looking forward to the challenge. Playing in Schalke is always emotional, with a great atmosphere.
Almost all of Schalke’s established attackers are injured. Does this make it more difficult for a goalkeeper because you’re less familiar with the reserve players and what they can do?
Sommer:I don’t think so. We will consciously prepare for the team that Schalke have available. Nowadays there’s no such thing as a player you can’t know everything about, so I’ll definitely be well-informed of the strengths and weaknesses these Schalke strikers possess.