DORTMUND — Julian Weigl was happy with his Borussia Dortmund’s reaction in their come-from-behind 3-2 win in their Euro League home tie against Atalanta in the round of 32 on Thursday.
Was Atalanta the tough opponent you expected?
“Yes, I would say so. You could see in phases that they have a lot of quality. They definitely did not make things easy for us. After an OK first half, we were poor coming out of the locker room. But even when things are not going your way, you mustn’t concede on the international stage. Especially not at home. Those two goals [scored by Atalanta] hurt. But I liked our reaction, we started to play football again. We became more courageous and started to create more scoring opportunities. You can always say that such a late goal is somewhat lucky but it’s vital for us to enter the return leg with a lead.
Why was the team caught napping after the break?
“It’s hard to say. Us and the coach pushed ourselves during the break but so did the opponent as they were trailing. The problem was that we ceased to play football and did not have any relief from the opponent’s pressure. We were lacking courage and played too many long balls down the field, so Atalanta quickly regained possession. Once we started to play football again, we became stronger.”
How important was the substitution of Mario Götze in the 60th minute in that regard?
“Mario [Götze] is of course very important for us but I don’t think Marco [Reus] was worse than him. Especially in the first half, our attacks on the transition was very good. It’s Marco’s big quality to bring a lot of pace into these attacks and to find clever solutions. He also was at the end of a good chance. We are very glad that both are fit.”
How problematic are the two goals you conceded when looking at the return leg?
“We certainly did not want to concede twice but, as I already said, entering the game with a lead is vital. We don’t have to hide [in Bergamo] even though they will throw everything at us at home. We’re able to win over there as well.”
Michy Batshuayi scored 5 goals in 3 goals. How do you see him in the dressing room, how did he integrate?
“He could do worse. For us, he’s a very important player. He integrated incredibly fast, which speaks for him and his quality. In general, he weighs in and is working very hard. Especially in moments, where we do not find a way forward with our combination play, he’s someone who can help out with his great hold-up play.
“This helps us a lot at the moment and especially today, it made us a lot calmer to have him up front. When it was 2-2 with four minutes left, you know that you don’t have to throw the kitchen sink at your opponent because you have someone who is highly lethal at all times. He and the entire team were rewarded for that tonight.”