Summary

  • Kampl opened scoring 32 seconds after replacing Chicharito.
  • He had not played since breaking leg against Dortmund on 21 February.
  • Slovenian prepared for "crunch encounters" with top-four rivals.

Returning Bayer 04 Leverkusen midfielder Kevin Kampl showed that playing football is just like riding a bike against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.

The Slovenia international scored within 32 seconds of his second-half introduction at the BayArena and says he is now more determined than ever to help Die Werkself secure a place in next season's UEFA Champions League, following a taxing 55-day stint in the treatment room with a broken leg.

Read: Leverkusen 3-0 Frankfurt

Question: Kevin Kampl, congratulations on the 3-0 win and your fantastic goal. What made it so difficult before you opened the scoring?

Kevin Kampl: We all knew what a difficult game it was going to be. Even the teams at the bottom are tough to play against. Frankfurt also had the better chances, which Bernd Leno did really well to keep out. We got a bit lucky, but we had more in the tank and did really well in the second half. You have to win games like these. We didn't always get the rub of the green in the Hinrunde.

Watch: Reaction to Leverkusen vs Frankfurt

Question: Why did you run over to Roger Schmidt after your goal?

Kampl: I wasn't sure if I'd even be in the squad until yesterday. There's always a bit of risk after a fibula break. The bones need a certain amount of time to heal. I'm proud and happy that the coach named me in the squad and gave me the chance. I've only done two half-training sessions: one shooting practice and one pre-match session. I had to see if my leg could manage it. It was a little thank you to the coach for the faith he'd shown me and I was able to pay him back.

Question: You're not really the kind of player who looks to score. What was different today?

Kampl: The ball fell perfectly for me. There was a lot of emotion, frustration and happiness behind the strike. I'm back with the lads after my rehabilitation. It's depressing when you're always in rehab and not with the lads. You're at home and unhappy. Just being back in training with the team is a completely different feeling. And then being back on the pitch and opening the scoring after seven weeks out injured - that's something I won't forget for a long time. The feeling was indescribable.

Read: Tenacious Aranguiz worth the wait

Question: Bayer are now third and have Champions League qualification in their own hands.

Kampl: We all really want to play in the Champions League, but we know we've got three massive games coming up against Schalke, Hertha and Mönchengladbach. They're all chasing Champions League football. I hope Ömer Toprak and Lars Bender can come back this week. We can go into our upcoming games full of confidence, but we know it'll be really difficult.

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Question: Where have Leverkusen made the most progress in recent weeks?

Kampl: You can see we're more confident on the ball and combining better. We're calmer in possession. When we've got a full squad, every player on the pitch has competition. That spurs every player on.

Question: How will you approach the final four games of the season?

Kampl: We want to follow our own path, that's the aim. We'll be jumping into each other's arms if we qualify for the Champions League. We're on the right track, but we mustn't think we're already there. We have to stay focused, recuperate after every game and rest. We have to analyse the game because there's plenty we could have done better against Frankfurt. We know that. We've got some crunch encounters coming our way.

Tobias Gonscherowski reporting from Leverkusen