- Kalou grabbed hat-trick in 3-0 win over Gladbach.
- Father and Aunt recently passed away.
- Says atmosphere at Hertha is "fantastic".
Following a few difficult weeks due to off-field events in his private life, Hertha Berlin forward Salomon Kalou had reason to smile once more after scoring a hat-trick in his side's 3-0 win at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Matchday 10.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the 31-year-old Côte d'Ivoire international discusses his improving form, Hertha's development and his aims ahead of the winter break.
bundesliga.com: Salomon Kalou, how do you feel after scoring a hat-trick against Gladbach?
Salomon Kalou: It's unbelievable. I haven't felt this good in a long time. I'm very happy. The last few weeks have been anything but easy, but I'm feeling that my fitness is steadily improving.
Watch: Salomon Kalou is hungry for more after his hat-trick heroics against Gladbach:
bundesliga.com: So are you back in top form now?
Kalou: These three goals show that I'm getting back to my best. Now I want to continue performing like this and win back my place in the team.
bundesliga.com: With almost a third of the season now gone, how would you analyse the campaign so far?
Kalou: After we were knocked out of the Europa League qualifying rounds by Brondby, a lot of people expected us to have a lot of problems in the Bundesliga too. But obviously we're very happy with our results so far. We're also happy with our playing style, which is attractive and successful. It's no accident that we're in fourth. We deserve to be there. The chemistry is good.
bundesliga.com: Compared to last season, what has changed at Hertha?
Kalou: Only a few small details. The most important thing was that we had continuity in every position. The club managed to keep all the key players. On top of that, in Ondrej Duda and Alexander Esswein, two players arrived who improved the overall quality of the squad. We also got a young player in Allan. We're all a year old now and as we've all known each other for a while now, things quickly became second nature to us this season. That's undoubtedly an advantage we have over our rivals.
[Dardai] can always rotate and bring in fresh legs. That's helped us become more unpredictable.
bundesliga.com: What is Hertha's biggest strength this season?
Kalou: Our efficiency. Right now we don't need ten chances to score, which is different from last season. Now we're a lot more clinical in front of goal. We're also a bit more solid and compact at the back, and we hardly let our opponents create any chances.
bundesliga.com: Do you think that the competition for places up front has helped the team?
Kalou: Yes definitely. Regardless of whether the coach picks Vedad Ibisevic, Julian Schieber, Sami Allagui, Alex Esswein or myself, he can always rotate and bring in fresh legs. That's helped us become more unpredictable. And we all get playing time. The atmosphere's fantastic.
Watch: Kalou had a blast with his team-mates at Hertha's annual Bundesliga Media Day:
bundesliga.com: Hertha travel to FC Augsburg on Matchday 11. What are you hoping for from that game?
Kalou: Augsburg are famous for being good at home. It'll definitely be hard work and no walk in the park. But if we play with the same self-confidence and unity, then we can pick up all three points in Augsburg. That's our aim. It's also important to stay humble and keep working hard, without paying too much attention to the table. We'll only be able to take stock properly during the winter break.
bundesliga.com: What objectives do you have between now and the winter break?
Kalou: We've played against every team in the top third of the table so far, apart from RB Leipzig. But if we ease off then we'll be punished straight away, so we'll keep playing with full concentration and vigour. If we're still in the top five after Matchday 16 then we'll be able to enjoy a great holiday for a few days.
Salomon Kalou was speaking to Alexis Menuge
Watch: Relive Kalou's match-winning display in the 3-0 win against Gladbach