Wolfsburg - When it comes to home debuts, VfL Wolfsburg newcomer Julian Draxler’s could hardly have gone any better.
Not only did the former FC Schalke 04 star score the winning goal on his first outing at the Volkswagen Arena in a green and white shirt, but he did so in the pressure-cooker environment of a UEFA Champions League group stage opener.
Here’s what the 21-year-old Germany international had to say following Tuesday's 1-0 triumph over Russian outfit PFC CSKA Moskva…
Question: Julian Draxler, you scored the decisive goal in Wolfsburg’s opening Champions League fixture. Is that how you envisaged your home debut?
Julian Draxler: I don’t have any complaints. We won at home. That was incredibly important. Of course it’s nice that I scored, but we could also have played with a bit more composure. We played an open game for too long. If there’s one criticism it’s that we didn’t score earlier, but that’s really being picky.
Question: So the bottom line is that it was a hard-fought win?
Draxler: No. I think we played very well in the first half. We were strong. That’s why I’d say it was a deserved win; it just should have been by a bigger margin.
Question: Your home debut and in the Champions League at that. Could you feel the pressure?
Draxler: There’s definitely pressure, but I’ve been in the business a long time now. You have to block it out and perform. And that’s what I did.
Question: Describe your goal. After the header, you stuck away the rebound…
Draxler: Max [Kruse] put in a great cross, but it’s no secret that my heading ability isn’t one of my strong points. That’s why I’m happy I put away the rebound.
Question: You haven’t had a lot of time to practise, but the link-up play with Kruse worked really well. Why’s that?
Draxler: Before the game, the coach told us that we should work together and take turns to drop off to help out Luiz [Gustavo], who was on his own in front of the back four. Luiz was then able to give out orders from the back. It’s not something we practised in training, but the coach had full faith in Max and me. I think we did a good job, especially in the first half.
Question: Is it an option in the future?
Draxler: Why not. The important thing, though, is that we’re flexible. The coach can decide what the best system is on a game-by-game basis, according to the opposition. It worked really well today.
Question: On paper, VfL are set up to attack. Is that a win guarantee?
Draxler: If you’re in the 18-yard box, then of course it’s easier to score goals. And that was the case today with plenty of us in the box. We just didn’t convert that into goals.
Question: PSV Eindhoven beat Manchester United 2-1 in the other Group B game. Does that mean much?
Draxler: Of course you have a look, but it’s too early to read anything into the table after one match.