Christoph Kramer and Borussia Mönchengladbach will meet Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal quarterfinals next Tuesday (20.45 CET). The 30-year-old world champion spoke to DFB.de ahead of the mouthwatering clash and Gladbach head coach Marco Rose, who will join the club’s rivals in summer.
DFB.de: Mr. Kramer, how much do you vibe with the spirit of the cup?
Christoph Kramer: I love it because the cup is the quickest way to win a trophy. The early rounds have a special charm, especially when Bundesliga teams take on outsiders. It’s really nice to win cup games.
DFB.de: You will face Borussia Dortmund in the quarterfinals. Would you have preferred a different opponent?
Kramer: Borussia Mönchengladbach has no luck with the draw - no matter what competition we’re playing in. (laughs) Whether it’s in the DFB-Pokal, the Champions League or the Europa League, we really haven’t had any luck since I arrived at the club. This time we’ve been given a real cracker. I didn’t necessarily want to face Dortmund, but we’ll take it as it comes.
DFB.de: What are your thoughts going into the game?
Kramer: I think that Gladbach and Dortmund, as well as Leipzig and Wolfsburg, who also meet in the quarterfinals, will fancy their chances, especially now that Bayern Munich are out. Dortmund might be the best team left in the competition. It will be a real test. I would say that it’s a fifty-fifty game.
DFB.de: Your coach Marco Rose will head to Dortmund for next season. How are you dealing with the unique circumstances?
Kramer: It hasn’t changed things too much for me. I am sure that Marco Rose doesn’t want to join the Pokal holders; he’d rather leave the reigning champions. And I’m also sure that our preparations for the game will go as normal. Obviously outsiders want to blow this out of proportion; for the media it’s a really explosive game. I know from my own experience how to deal with such explosive issues, like my transfer from Leverkusen to Gladbach and then back again. But when the match kicks off, hopefully it will just be a nice and exciting game.
DFB.de: What would it mean to you to win the Pokal?
Kramer: We all long to play in a final and take something shiny home as a team. The whole area is desperate for that. It would be nice to fulfill that dream as a team. But talk of Berlin is banned when you have a game against Borussia Dortmund on the horizon.
DFB.de: You have already beaten Borussia Dortmund and Bayern München this season. What is stopping Gladbach from being a top team?
Kramer: Top teams win 95-98% of their home games against teams like Hoffenheim or Köln. For us, that’s more like 70% right now. It’s obviously nice that we are capable of beating the best, but we’re missing the consistency against the rest of the sides. It’s easy maths; if you beat all the teams between 9th and 18th then you will already have 60 points without beating any of the top teams. We’ve let too many points slip away against the supposedly lesser teams.
DFB.de: You’ve already said that the whole club is itching to win a trophy. Bayern Munich recently won their eighth Bundesliga title in a row. Do you hope that there will come a time when more teams can win it?
Kramer: I really hope so. We all know how fast football can change, so I wouldn’t say that the train has left the station yet. Right now it’s lacking a bit of mystique since Bayern have been champions eight years in a row. When I look back on my childhood, the title race was always the most exciting thing. When the most exciting thing is seeing who reaches the Champions League and who gets relegated, it obviously doesn’t have the same appeal.
DFB.de: Let’s change the subject. You have twelve Germany caps and were a world champion in 2014. In July 2019, after more than three years out of the national team picture, you said that that ship had sailed for you. Would you still agree with that?
Kramer: That was just how I felt. I’ve never written off playing for the national team, because that would make no sense in football. Everything can change in a heartbeat. But if I had to bet right now, I would say that I’m more likely to be a pundit on TV than a Germany player in the future.