Dortmund - Playmaker and goalscorer rolled into one, Robert Lewandowski's performance had it all as Borussia Dortmund saw off Hannover 96 on Saturday.
Two goals for the Polish international provided the most concrete evidence of his contribution to the 3-1 victory at Signal Iduna Park. No sooner had the final whistle blown, however, than his thoughts were turning towards Tuesday's home meeting with Shakhtar Donetsk in the UEFA Champions League. Lewandowski spoke after the game about his relief at being back in action and a 'dangerous' team from Ukraine.
Question: Robert Lewandowski, was this 3-1 win the perfect answer to the DFB Cup defeat to FC Bayern Munich?
Lewandowski: The Hannover game was very important to us after the Bayern defeat because we desperately wanted three points. We knew we had to send out a sign after the Bayern game. It’s not like we were under any real pressure because the two competitions can't be compared, but what mattered was getting a win to go into the important Champions League game against Donetsk on Tuesday. Now we need to keep our foot on the pedal.
Question: On a personal level, was that your best performance of the season?
Lewandowski: That’s hard to say because the season’s not over yet. You can always play better. Of course I want to score goals in every game I play and I’m pleased about getting two, but it could have been more. I had enough chances. If I’d taken one or two more, it would have been an even more successful day.
Question: And you only knew on Friday afternoon that your suspension had been shortened and you would be able to play...
Lewandowski: That was really great news for me when I found out. It was a long hearing, but the main thing was that I was able to play again, because the two games I missed was already a long, long break for me. But I always believed in myself and it makes it even nicer to score two goals straight away.
Question: And you managed that from an attacking midfield position that you don’t particularly like...
Lewandowski: It’s not a completely new role for me. I've played quite often in the hole behind the striker, especially when I first came to Borussia. It was no problem for me. The important thing is that we’re successful and that we won 3-1. Julian Schieber also had a great game up front. I think it was a good peformance from the entire team.
Question: Could Dortmund have even won by a greater margin?
Lewandowski: We were definitely in control of the game and we never ran any risks. It was frustrating to concede a goal, but that didn’t have any impact in the end. What mattered was getting the three points and celebrating a win again. Now we can focus fully on the Champions League, but we know that we’ve got to play better than this against Donetsk.
Question: Should Dortmund take a rather cautious approach to that game? Considering you drew 2-2 away, you don’t necessarily have to win...
Lewandowski: Donetsk scored twice against us in the first leg and they showed how dangerous they are. We can’t play to get a 0-0 or 1-1. That would be far too dangerous.
Question: So does that mean Dortmund will go all-out to win?
Lewandowski: We desperately want to win it, even if it’s not going to be easy. We know we can score against Donetsk, we showed that in the first leg, and we should also get at least one goal on Tuesday. We’re at home after all, so we’ve got to be positive. We want to, and have to, get into the next round and that's the clear objective on Tuesday.
Question: Donetsk are particularly strong away from home...
Lewandowski: I’ve heard that, too, that they are always good away from home. Donetsk have a strong team, no doubt about it. They’ve now played their first game after the long winter break in the Ukrainian league so they’ll be fit and certainly in more of a rhythm than they were in the first leg. But that’s not going to be decisive. We’ve got to ensure we focus on ourselves and play the best we can. That’s what matters the most, and that way we’ll be successful again.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from Dortmund