In an interview with Christoph Kramer, the midfielder discussed the important win in Nürnberg, the last game of the season against BVB and his excitement for European football.
Christoph, Borussia beat Nürnberg 4-0 after their top performance in the second half, which wasn’t entirely expected after the first half. What was discussed in the changing rooms at half-time?
Kramer: I think the fact that Stuttgart took the lead against Wolfsburg meant that Nürnberg took the wind out of their sails a bit and that helped us in the match. Of course it helped that that we took the lead. That hasn’t been the case in recent weeks. Then we were able to sit back and counter when they came forward and we are very good on the counter. You can see how big a role the mind plays in football.
You can now get excited about the fact that you will be playing football in Europe next season. Or is there a bigger aim of going for Champions League football?
Kramer:It is good for not only the players and the coaches but the whole club that we will be playing in Europe next season. You could sense a fear that there was a chance that we could throw away everything that we have worked for this season in the past few weeks but now we will give everything to make sure that fourth place is ours.
The whole of Germany will be watching the Borussia game and the game between Bayern and Frankfurt. Will that spur you on?
Kramer: I think that it will be an advantage for us that Frankfurt have something to lose – so do Bayern. BVB who have squandered a nine point lead also still have something to lose. We, on the other hand, although having not been in our best form, the victory in Nürnberg will have taken some pressure off us. Hopefully we can then play good football.
What are you expecting from Borussia Dortmund, who recently haven’t shown the stability they possessed during the Hinrunde this season?
Kramer: If the season still had a couple of the weeks to go, you could probably say that things were not going Borussia Dortmund’s way and the team isn’t as stable as they were earlier this season. However on the other hand, everything is still possible on the final matchday of the season. Everyone knows there are still 90 minutes still to play and anything can happen. This gives everyone a new lease of life to achieve the best thing possible. End of season form simply doesn’t matter.
In the previous meeting between the two sides this season, you scored one of your two goals this campaign. Overall, it hasn’t been an easy season for you. How would you summarise 2018/19?
Kramer: Overall our end of season form, which doesn’t matter, sort of speaks for how my season has played out. In all serious, it was an unusual situation for me as it was the first time I wasn’t an uncontested starter each week. However, I’m someone who tries to find the positives in situations like this and to find strength and battle through. Additionally, with the exception of the world’s very best, no career doesn’t involve bumpy moments. Going through a phase like this is normal. You have to be able to withstand it both on and off the pitch. This is something I was able to do.
What would it personally mean for you to play in the Champions League after these difficult weeks?
Kramer: Without a doubt, playing in the Champions League would be incredible. Nevertheless, if we end up playing in the Europa League, I will be really excited to be playing European football again next season. I was missing these away days during the long training weeks this season. It is exceptional and very special to be sharing this journey with Borussia. This is important both for me and for the club.