In Borussia Dortmund’s 3-1 home win over TSG Hoffenheim, Ilkay Gündogan touched the ball 81 times, had a pass-completion rate of 97 per cent and got an assist to his name - all in the space of 45 minutes. With the help of the Germany international, BVB came from behind late on to record another victory. An understandably delighted Gündogan talked in an interview with DFB.de about the week ahead, in which Dortmund will first travel to Darmstadt on Wednesday before welcoming Bayern München to the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
Question: Mr. Gündogan, what was different in the last ten minutes from in the first 80?
Ilkay Gündogan: In the last ten minutes... Did we score all three goals in the last ten minutes?
Gündogan: Okay, then it was this: We scored the goals. That was the only difference. I think we put really good pressure on before then as well, created a number of good chances to equalise, even when Hoffenheim still had eleven men on the pitch. But we just couldn’t find the opening. In the end though we won, and we’re very pleased about that.
Question: You mentioned Hoffenheim going down to ten men. What Rudy’s sending off a turning point in the game?
Gündogan: It might well be that things got more difficult for Hoffenheim after that, that they had to cover more ground individually and fell short in a few challenges as a result. But as said: We were already dominating the game before that and could very well have scored a goal or two. Obviously the red card played a role, but in terms of the way we were playing football, it changed very little. I think that was clear for all to see.
Question: You were only brought on in the second half. The stats tell us that you had 81 touches, 97 per cent pass accuracy and provided an assist. You couldn’t really have done much more, could you?
Gündogan: A goal of my own would have been great. I almost scored one when I hit the post. But joking aside, I was more than happy with my individual performance. I think it worked in my favour that I only played 45 minutes, mainly due to the cold I’ve had and the symptoms of which I’m still feeling. I’m happy I could play my part and we were able to turn the game around.
Question: Did the rating of your performance in Porto bother you? Your manager Thomas Tuchel even was unimpressed with you.
Gündogan: Obviously I was bothered and annoyed by that. But the performance had its reasons: I didn’t feel at 100 percent ahead of the return leg in Porto, and should probably have said that I didn’t feel up to it, as was the case before the Hoffenheim game. Of course, I realise it wasn’t a particularly good performance from me in Porto, but the same can be said for many other players. So I took the criticism on board and tried to make amends against Hoffenheim. But the criticism didn’t really spur me on any more. I knew what I’d done wrong.
Question: Are you worried that things aren’t running quite as smoothly as they were doing before the winter break?
Gündogan: I’m not worrying. It’s all completely normal. The reality of the situation is still that we have a lot of points on the board and are still winning a lot of games, even difficult ones like the one in Leverkusen. That game could have gone either way and we won it. That shows the quality we have. Also, turning a game around like we did against Hoffenheim doesn’t happen every day. These are all extremely important points which we will be needing in the coming weeks.
Question: Two very contrasting challenges coming up this week: first Darmstadt, then Bayern. How are you approaching this week? And don’t say one game at a time.
Gündogan: No, no, we’re looking forward to two fantastic games. Darmstadt will have their own ideas as often is the case, they are a difficult group to play against, especially away. We’ll wait and see what the pitch is like, I couldn’t really guess at the moment. Darmstadt have shown recently that they are very capable, and they have deserved to take points from some tough oppositions. After that, it’s Bayern München. Obviously us vs. Them is always a very interesting game. Then only five days later we face Tottenham Hotspur for the first leg. It’s a busy period of games for us.