In an interview, Breel Embolo speaks about Borussia’s performance during the 4-2 win over SC Freiburg, and touches on his brace, the penalty miss and the upcoming battle against Bayern München.
Breel, how would you rate yesterday’s match against Freiburg?
Embolo: It was a good day for the team. Not just because we managed to pick up three points, but because we also delivered a strong performance. It’s especially nice that all three of us up front, Flaco, Tikus and myself, were all able to score. We created several chances and linked up well. Of course, it’s a bit annoying to have conceded twice. We were a bit too passive when it came to defending Freiburg’s set-pieces. But, overall it was a strong showing from the team.
Freiburg certainly didn’t make things easy for you.
Embolo: Yes, that’s true. We should have taken advantage after scoring an early goal. Freiburg equalised off a great free-kick. But, we didn’t allow that to distract us, and were able to create several chances in the first half. Unfortunately, we were missing that final touch. We knew that we would have to play with the same intensity for the full 90 minutes, because Freiburg are a really strong side who were able to break through several times yesterday. As a result, we needed to be clinical.
It really was a back-and-forth game. Your goal to make it 2-1 was deemed offside and was disallowed. How did you experience that moment?
Embolo: I have to accept the referee’s decision to call my first goal offside. I can’t even say whether or not it was offside. But, that just made me want to score even more. I really wanted to score and help the team win the match.
That definitely worked, as you scored your first brace for the Foals. What does that mean to you?
Embolo: As a striker, you’re always happy when you score. It’s even better when your goals help seal a win. I’ve also recovered from an injury that sidelined me for three, four weeks. I was able to get a few minutes of game time during the last few matches, and felt really good yesterday. I’m happy that I was able to play for 80 minutes without any issues. That’s the most important thing, aside from the fact that we won at home. The entire team delivered a very strong performance.
One thing we also need to discuss is your penalty miss. Will you step up to the spot again in the future?
Embolo: I likely won’t be taking any penalties for the next while (grins). I was having a good day, and was feeling good. That’s why I trusted myself to take it. Plus, Lasso wasn’t on the pitch. We also don’t really have a set penalty taker, which is why I just went ahead and grabbed the ball. But, in football, it’s an unwritten rule that the player who won the penalty never gets to take it. I had to learn that lesson the hard way. Of course I’m happy to have scored again after that and that we were able to pick up all three points at home.
Does the fact that the team is able to maintain its composure even when faced with some difficult moments count as one of Borussia’s strengths?
Embolo: Yes, it’s definitely one of our strengths. The spirit within the team is high, and we have a lot of quality and depth within our squad. There’s a healthy level of competition, and we know that we can depend on each other. That’s one of our biggest strengths at the moment. No matter who’s on the pitch, we all know what we need to do. We have an incredible amount of talent within the squad. We all help to support one another in order to get through those rough patches.
The win has helped you defend your spot at the top of the table. How does it feel to see that when you look at the table?
Embolo: It’s a nice feeling to hear the fans cheer us on with songs about us being top of the table. But, we need to keep going and not let up. It’s still early in the season, and we will certainly experience some setbacks along the way. That’s normal. In those moments we need to pick ourselves back up and show that we want to compete with the top teams in the league. The table is good for our self-confidence, but it’s also nice that we’ve won our fifth Bundesliga home game in a row. We know that the fans are backing us and are cheering us on from the get-go when we play aggressively. It’s like having a twelfth man on the pitch. It really helps us during the match.
You’ll face FC Bayern München next. What kind of match are you expecting?
Embolo: FC Bayern are a top team. As a player, you always want to challenge yourself by facing the best teams. FCB are definitely one of those top sides. I think that it will live up to the expectations. We need to have a perfect day in order to be successful. We’re in form, but so are Bayern. As a result, the preparations for the match will be intense. We have just as much confidence heading into the match against Bayern as we do for each of our games. It’s clear that we always want to win, no matter the opponent. If we’re able to deliver a strong performance, then we can definitely upset Bayern.