In an interview with Denis Zakaria, the midfielder spoke about the importance of drawing against Werder Bremen, the upcoming match against Hannover 96, and his second season with Gladbach.
Denis, after the match against Werder Bremen was the team disappointed by only picking up one point, or did it feel like things were back on track after a solid performance?
Zakaria: We felt disappointed for a short time. We played well and created many chances. But you can’t be satisfied with only managing to score one goal and leaving with one point instead of three as a result. But, that’s the way things go sometimes. Just talking about missing chances doesn’t help us either. We’re looking to the future now and want to do better against Hannover.
Hannover is in last place and their chances of staying up are slim. How dangerous is it when you’re facing a team in that situation?
Zakaria: There are no teams in the Bundesliga that aren’t dangerous and there are no easy games in this league. Hannover will fight until the end and will give it their all in order to avoid being relegated. As a result, none of us are underestimating them. At the same time, we’re self-aware enough to say “If we put in the effort and play like we did against Werder, then we have every chance to leave the pitch as winners.”
What approach do you think Hannover will take to the game?
Zakaria: A draw will probably not be enough in order for them to have a chance at staying up. They need three points, and will have to take chances in order to get them. That could play right into our hands.
Hannover’s defence has had some issues and they’ve got the highest number of goals against of anyone in the league (65). Should Gladbach play a 3-5-2 formation like against Werder, or focus on being more offensive by playing a 4-3-3-?
Zakaria: We’re flexible and are able to play both systems. We have been effective for most of the season playing a 4-4-3, but also looked good with a 3-5-2, like against Werder. A good team will be able to create chances no matter what formation they play.
You scored your first goal during the 4-1 against Hannover in the first half of the season. You’ve scored two more since then. How many did you want to score this season?
Zakaria: I didn’t set a specific goal for myself at the beginning of the season. I wanted to score often and help create more goals than I did during my first season with Borussia. It was a bit difficult this season, since I haven’t played as much as last year.
Despite not playing as much, you’ve already scored three goals—that’s one more than last season.
Zakaria: That’s right. I’m hoping to get the chance to pick up some more goals or assists before the end of the season. I’d still say that this season has been a bit more difficult for me compared to my first season.
You were one of Gladbach’s shooting stars back then. What factors do you think have led to things not going so well for you this season?
Zakaria: There are probably multiple reasons. I think every player goes through a similar phase at some point in their career. At the same time, you have to recognize that we changed our formation at the beginning of the season. That was a big change for everyone. What also had an impact was that we have a lot of quality within our squad, and therefore a lot of competition. But I don’t want to give you a false impression: I’m not unhappy. In fact, it’s the opposite. I’ve learned a lot this season and will always give my all for Gladbach.