Nico Elvedi speaks about the game against RB Leipzig, his winning goal in the last home game against Köln and raves about Breel Embolo’s striking talent.
Nico, what was the overriding feeling after the weekend? Were you proud of your performance or disappointed about only coming away with a point?
Nico Elvedi: I think it was a bit of both. We can be really proud of our performance in the first half. We pressed well, created lots of chances and scored two goals; it was almost perfect. However, it’s very frustrating when you’re leading 2-1 in the 89th minute and only come away with a point.
The first half showed that the team is capable of implementing the coach’s game plan perfectly...
Elvedi: We’re going in the right direction. Against Leipzig we almost played the perfect match. Even in the second half you need to consider the fact that we were down to ten men. However there have been a few of our performances recently where it was clear to see that there was room for improvement.
1. FC Köln are coming to the BORUSSIA-PARK as a team in form, with five wins in their last six Bundesliga matches. Despite it being a home game, will it be more difficult than the previous game in Cologne?
Elvedi: Yes, I think so. From my own experience I know that it’s no coincidence when you win that many games in a row. Their confidence will be sky-high, and they will reflect that in their performance. But our own form is also something to be proud of. We’ve won eight home games in a row in the Bundesliga, have the best home form in the league and are in great form, as we showed against Leipzig. We are determined to win the game, there’s no question about it. Even more so because it’s a derby and we know how much a win against Köln means to the fans.
You in particular have great memories of your last game against Köln at the BORUSSIA-PARK, two and a half years ago...
Elvedi: Of course! We won 1-0 that day and I scored the winning goal. Scoring such a goal in the derby is something that you never forget.
You set yourself the target of scoring three goals this year before the start of the season. One down, two to go...
Elvedi: That’s true. So it’s about time I score again. With every set piece I hope that it will happen. I certainly wouldn’t mind scoring one of those two goals on Sunday against Köln.
You face the task of dealing with Jhon Córdoba on Sunday, who’s a very physical striker. Is he the type of player you enjoy coming up against?
Elvedi: For me it doesn’t really make a difference whether the opposing striker is big and strong, or small and agile. Either way I try to do my best and take my opponent out of the game as much as possible.
Borussia also have lots of powerful strikers; who do you find most difficult to defend against in training?
Elvedi: Every player has their own individual qualities. And all of them are difficult to defend against. But if you were to put me on the spot, then I’d have to say Breel. He’s physically really strong and has a lot of pace. Defending against him is no walk in the park.
One of your biggest strengths is your impressive passing accuracy; you currently hold the best statistics the Bundesliga in this area. How did you learn to become so secure in possession?
Elvedi: That’s not an easy question because I just play my game and lots of things just come naturally to me. However, it’s certainly not the case that I just look for the easy pass and play it safe. Instead I always try to play the best pass possible; i.e. the one that opens up the most amount of space for us. And luckily most of them come off. It’s just natural that some passes will be misplaced. We’re all people at the end of the day. And people make mistakes.