Ahead of the first game back on Friday evening away at FC Schalke 04, Borussia’s head coach Marco Rose spoke about…
…the squad: Ramy Bensebaini won’t be available after picking up a muscle injury. Keanen Bennetts also has a knock but other than that all players are fit.
…the winter preparations:All in all everything went according to plan in terms of our winter preparations, and we had a great time in Spain. The first friendly against Heracles Almelo wasn’t great and we’ve spoken about that since. In both games against SC Freiburg, however, we played really well and the feeling in the dressing room after was great. We have two days left now until the winter break to prepare for the Schalke game and we’re working hard in order to get a good result on Friday.
…aims for the Rückrunde: We set ourselves a great platform in the Hinrunde on which we now have to build. The season is long but over and it’s important that we kick on in the second half of this season. We want to keep on playing positive football and getting good results. Of course we want to finish this season with some success and we have to win games in order to make that a reality. We have to figure it out and get to work.
…the team’s potential: The sky is the limit for this team. We’re doing really well in our current process and so our task now is to work on a few details and do a few things better. It’s very possible that we’ll lose a few more games this season, but we will always build on results, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. Positive results just make the work in the following week a little easier. After negative results, it’s all about getting back on the horse.
…Schalke 04: The team have really been developing recently. Last season wasn’t easy for them, but you had to expect that they wouldn’t play the same way this season, because they have a squad with real depth and quality. Schalke are a team who thrive off their own aggressiveness and tempo, that’s just how they play. David Wagner is doing a great job there, you can see he has a clear plan, a clear idea of what he wants to do. We always want to have the ball and be efficient in front of goal, and that’s how they play too – they press really hard and they’re always active off the ball to try and win it back. They’re quite similar to us. Therefore, you can expect a really high quality, fast-paced game on Friday night with plenty of chances for both sides.
...the competition for places: We’re only in one competition now so there aren’t any double game weeks anymore. We will put out the team every week that stands the best chance of winning. It’s as simple as that. At the moment I have more than just eleven players who are in contention for a starting spot. Lots of players are in great form, but at the end of the day I can only choose eleven. Everyone understands that we can only be successful if we work together as a team. We will do what’s best for the club. One of the things I’ve learnt about my team so far is that every single one of them agrees with that. If someone has a bad day, I accept that as well. Then we just have to talk about it. I’m quite relaxed about this sort of thing.
...how tight it is at the top of the table: We will try our best to stay at the top. But I also know that Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich will both be raring to go. Bayer Leverkusen, as well as a few other teams, will also have a lot left in the tank. I think it’s great how tight it is at the moment in the Bundesliga, especially because we’re in and amongst it as well. I imagine it will go down to the wire.
...flexibility: It’s important to be flexible, and to adapt during the game in reaction to your opponents. However, I also think it’s important to retain certain fundamental principles. At the moment we’ve managed to find a really good balance between the two. It’s impossible for a team to be able to fit every single system. But I see us as a team that can take up a number of different formations really well.
...Breel Embolo: Breel is a fantastic guy. I really enjoy talking to and working with him. It’s always great when a player of his quality is someone that you can have a laugh with as well. He’s a really nice person, but also very sensible. He’s a real team player, but has his own personal goals as well. He’s very driven and ambitious. Breel is extremely talented, but still has room for improvement in a number of areas. He has great technique and is really powerful. He brings a lot to the table. The main area for improvement is his decision making, and that’s what we’ve mostly been working on. I think that he’s going to improve a lot over the next few years. I’m really looking forward to watching him develop.