Borussia Dortmund stayed at the top of the Bundesliga on Matchday two, beating Hertha Berlin 2-0. Here are the post-match interviews.
How did you see the match?
“The result is good, but I’m not completely satisfied with the way we played — especially in possession. We played against an opponent that tried to make spaces really tight. We have to move the ball quicker and need quicker lateral transitions. We didn’t do that well enough, which is why it was easy for Hertha to get back into their formation. Especially at home, more opponents will play that way. However, we did work hard.
Especially in the final 15 minutes, spaces opened up. We have to add a third there. But we also have to thank Roman [Bürki] that we didn’t concede in the end. He had two very good saves.”
How do you see the start in the Bundesliga?
“In general, I’m happy with the start. 5 goals, none conceded. That’s O.K.”
Sokratis had to come off before halftime. How is he feeling?
“He was ill two days ago, didn’t train. He felt dizzy.”
Is Borussia Dortmund already where you want them to be?
“We’re not where we want to be yet. Especially in possession. When we lose the ball, you can see that we’re trying to win it back quickly. That already works well at times, but we have to get better. If we have too many easy giveaways, then we have to exert pressure more often. If we kept the ball better, then we would have more energy to play football. I’m not entirely satisfied yet, but
That already works well at times, but we have to get better. If we have too many easy giveaways, then we have to exert pressure more often. If we keep the ball better within our ranks, then we have more energy to play football. I’m not entirely satisfied yet, but usually, that will improve with each passing week.”
Nuri Sahin scored a goal and assisted one. How do you see his performance today and are you planning with him in the future?
“That depends on how he plays. Currently, we’re very happy with him. He even scored with his weaker foot. That means that he is full of confidence. That’s good.”
How did you see the match?
“I’m vexed that we did not score a consolation goal. Over all, we were not aggressive enough going forward. But we still had enough chances. The first goal we conceded was unnecessary. Though all in all, it was a deserved win for Dortmund, who played better than us.”
How does it feel to be top of the table after two matchdays without having conceded a single goal?
“Obviously it feels great. Now with the international break, there is the first cut. We started well and I’m happy about that.”
You haven’t scored in a very long time…
“It’s a nice feeling to finally appear on the scoresheet after two and a half years. My last goal has been too long ago.”
You now played two games, assuming a commanding role in midfield. Is this what you’ve been missing previously?
“Every footballer lives on confidence and trust. It’s not a criticism [towards Thomas Tuchel], but I have the trust of the coach and I’m trying to show that on the pitch. The new role also suits me. I’m feeling very comfortable in that system.”
Was Ousmane Dembele a topic within the team in recent days?
“Of course you talked about it from time to time. We also joked around whether he’ll come back today or tomorrow. I wish him all the best. He knows that he made a mistake. It probably also would have worked out another way. He is a fantastic footballer and I can understand that he wanted to move to Barcelona. I also made a move to Madrid in the past. I will tune
He is a fantastic footballer and I can understand that he wanted to move to Barcelona. I also made a move to Madrid in the past. I will tune in when he plays football. It’s just a pity that it went down in this manner.”
After losing three key players last summer, you lost another one now in Dembele. Is this something Dortmund have to worry about?
“We are not Barcelona. We talked about it recently [within the team]: When Barcelona lose Neymar, we can’t hide from it. It’s simply that way in world football that good players will be bought, that there is always another step up the ladder.
We also buy players. The carousel will keep on spinning. Borussia Dortmund will always be there. We play good football at the moment, we’re having fun. [Maximilian Philipp] plays really well and Christian [Pulisic] does his part well, too. I don’t even have to mention [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang. The quality is there.”
Are you happy with the start?
“We wanted to start well into the season ahead of the international break. We played well in Wolfsburg. Today the match was a little bit more stringy. Hertha defended well. We scored the goals at the right time, though.”
You were once again very dominant.
“It was Hertha’s plan to sit deep with a tight defence and wait for counterattacks. However, we spent a lot of time on the training ground in pre-season working on how to prevent counterattacks. That worked out well today.”
Is the counter pressing similar to how it was under Jürgen Klopp?
“Yeah, you could say that. But now the coach is Peter Bosz and he tries to teach us his way. We try to implement his idea as good as we can and thus far it looks quite good.”
How far are you in that process?
“It’s still hard to tell. If our opponent plays better, then it might be a different story. But we allowed very few scoring opportunities in the first two matches. We’re on a good way, but we still got work to do.”
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored in eight consecutive games.
“I’m happy when he scores. For all I care he can extend that series to a 100.”
And Nuri Sahin is also playing well again.
“I’m very happy for Nuri. We know each other for a very long time and have a good relationship. He has some tough years behind him and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he stays healthy. The trainer encourages him and gives him his trust. You can see that on the pitch.”
How much has Ousmane Dembele been a topic within recent days?
“Ousmane has been away for two weeks. We’ve treated the topic like this: If he comes back, we’ll clear things up, if not, then not. It is what it is. We now have to focus on ourselves.”
It seems as though you’re not missing Dembele on the pitch?
“If we hadn’t won, you’d say something else. It speaks for the team that we managed to put this topic aside and focus on our game.”
You had a crack at goal yourself [that went far into the stands]…
“I didn’t want to concede a counter-attack (laughs).”
You’ve now played your 250th Bundesliga match.
“I’m elated to have reached this record. I hope that there is still a lot more to come for me.”
It was your first home match under competitive circumstances. And now you’re also top of the table. How does that feel?
“Yes, that is something new for me. Although we played a good season in Freiburg and were far up in the table, I never was at the very top. It’s only a snapshot in time. We can now recharge our batteries during the international break but there are still 32 games to go.”
How is the atmosphere in the team with a lot of unrest surrounding it?
“Everything is good. We are all very focused. We have a lot of fun and we are a team — you can see that on and off the pitch. Which is why nothing can upset us.”
How did you deal with the Ousmane Dembele-topic?
“I didn’t bother with it and we as a team didn’t. It went over our heads. We still have enough players to compensate that. Obviously, Ousmane is a really good player, however, we have to function as a team and we did exactly that.”
You now started the first three competitive matches. Did you dare to dream of that when you joined?
“Honestly, I did not. Of course, I’m not the worst player, but being able to play the first three matches from the beginning is wonderful.
Though we have a lot of injuries, which I think is one of the reasons for why I did start. On the other hand, I think that I earned it with the performances I showed. Now we’ll go from week to week.”