Summary

  • Modeste the Bundesliga's joint-leading scorer so far this season.
  • Köln sixth in the standings after ten matches.
  • Frenchman targets Rhine derby points against Gladbach.

It is the start of Karneval season in Cologne, but that is not the only reason why the North Rhine-Westphalian city is celebrating.

Fuelled by the 11 goals of the German top flight's joint-leading marksman Anthony Modeste, 1. FC Köln have made a flying start to the 2016/17 campaign and currently occupy sixth place in the Bundesliga standings.

In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, Modeste shared his thoughts on the Billy Goats' campaign so far, his own rich vein of form and the Matchday 11 clash with fierce rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach.

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bundesliga.com: Anthony Modeste, what explains your red-hot form at the moment?

Anthony Modeste: My maturity. I'm 28 now and I feel level-headed and confident. I'm better equipped to rate and analyse my performances.

Watch: All 11 of Anthony Modeste's Bundesliga goals so far this season:

bundesliga.com: What does that mean in practical terms?

Modeste: After every game, I watch the entire 90 minutes and observe what I did with the ball and how I moved off it. That helps my development. I work hard. I firmly believe you reap the rewards when you do that.

bundesliga.com: What’s the secret to your form?

Modeste: Working hard every day and perseverance. I never let up because I don't want to stagnate. I always want to progress. What's more, I'm playing in a fantastic team. We have a fantastic team spirit. People often say the goals dry up for me in the winter. Now I'm doing everything to maintain my consistency. I'm anxious to see if I can, but I'm feeling good about it because I'm brimming with confidence and because we're functioning better and better as a team.

"Aubameyang is a world-class striker... Lewandowski is capable of scoring three or four goals in a single match."

bundesliga.com: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was singing your praises in a recent interview with bundesliga.com. What's your relationship with the Borussia Dortmund striker like?

Modeste: Very good. We've known each other a long time. We played against each other a lot in Ligue 1, and we send each other regular messages now we're both in the Bundesliga.

bundesliga.com: What did the last one say?

Modeste: I sent him a text the other Monday to say that he'll have to wait a while longer to catch me in the scoring charts. Then it was his turn to rub it in a week later, when I didn't add to my lead and he scored four (laughs). He said he didn't need to make up for lost time. Auba is a world-class striker and all his success is down to hard work.

bundesliga.com: You've both scored 11 goals - four more than Robert Lewandowski. Do you expect the FC Bayern München striker to catch up before long?

Modeste: Definitely. Lewandowski is always in a position to score three or even four goals in a match. He'll be right up there at the end of the season again.

Modeste scored his first career Bundesliga hat-trick against Hamburger SV on Matchday 9.

bundesliga.com: At the start of the season, you set yourself a 16-goal target. Have you had to adjust your objective?

Modeste: First I want to reach 16 goals. If I get there relatively early, then I might set another objective, but not before.

bundesliga.com: You scored a hat-trick against Hamburger SV, after missing a first-half penalty. Did you have a performance like that in you last season?

Modeste: I don't think so. The fact I was able to score three goals after missing a penalty shows how much progress I've made and that I keep getting better as a player. Before my head would have dropped a bit and I would have been berating myself. That didn't happen this time. We've also developed as a team. We support each other really well on and off the pitch.

bundesliga.com: What's you assessment of Köln after the 1-0 defeat to Eintracht Frafnkurt?

Modeste: After ten games, we've only lost twice and we're sixth in the table - which is great. I'm confident we'll finish in the top half come the end of the season.

Watch: Highlights of Köln's Matchday 10 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt:

bundesliga.com: Next up you travel to Borussia Mönchengladbach for the Rhine Derby. What's the objective?

Modeste: We want to take something from the game. A derby is really special. We want to give our loyal fans even more reason to cheer. It's always tough there, but I believe we can come away with at least a point.

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Anthony Modeste was speaking to Alexis Menuge