Having signed with Eintracht Frankfurt last summer, Bas Dost has endured a difficult return to the Bundesliga with the Eagles' wings tired out through the first half of the 2019/20 season.
Dutchman Dost has proven he has what it takes to score goals at the Bundesliga level, with four strikers from just eight starts in the league this season, but he knows he can give more.
The 30-year-old striker sits down with bundesliga.com to discuss settling in at Frankfurt, his striker partners and still having what it takes to compete in the Bundesliga.
bundesliga.com: Have you and the team been able to re-focus during the winter break after a difficult first half of the season?
Bas Dost: "We've managed to move forward, you're correct. We're satisfied with that. Ultimately, we don't have as many points in the Bundesliga as we'd have liked but we're still in the middle of it; we're ready to push on. Personally, I struggled with the training drills a bit when I first arrived. They did me well but I needed to get used to it. Afterwards, I got injured and was unable to perform at the level I expect of myself. That annoyed me. I'm happy to have arrived here, however, for the moment I haven't truly arrived. There's still much more that I can do. That's how I'd describe it."
Dost: "It takes a bit of time; it always does. We've proven that the chemistry we have can work. As a new player at a new club, the first couple of weeks you need to begin to understand how each player thinks. I think it's improved. Again, there has always been one injury or another; there have always been changes in terms of who has played and who hasn't. It'll do us good to all be fit and get some much-needed practice on the pitch with each other."
bundesliga.com: You have also played in an attacking midfield role this season, behind the strikers. The so-called No.10 role. What is your preferred position?
Dost: "My biggest quality is scoring goals. They usually happen from inside the box. That means you often have to stay deep. You're right, I've also played deeper, however, that was mainly due to a lack of fitness which made it harder for me to get close to the goal. The training drills here are helping me get there. I don't feel any pain anymore. If it continues this way, I'll soon be able to refocus my attention on scoring goals."
bundesliga.com: What are the differences between the top-flight in Portugal and the Bundesliga?
Dost: "They are staggering. In Portugal, there are three or four teams that are very good and the rest that have low budgets. Therefore, even though they do their best, they cannot compete with the top four. They're simply better. That means you're a favourite to win each game - assuming you're in one of the top four teams. That's completely different in the Bundesliga. As we've seen, we're able to beat the likes of Bayern Munich but then go on to lose to Cologne who were last. This shows that the Bundesliga is so much tighter."
bundesliga.com: Where do you believe Frankfurt will finish this season and how likely is European qualification?
Dost: "That's what we want. We're quite disappointed about having collected such a small amount of points. I remember when we won against Bayern and had 17 points when everyone started saying 'Hey, we're on our way up!'. Since then we've only managed to clinch one point; against Hertha. It's been disappointing but also somewhat obvious. We have players that have played so many games last year. They were simply tired. It was noticeable. With the number of injuries as well… Now we can start fresh. My expectations are high. When I watch the training sessions, everyone is there and ready. That's why I'm expecting to leave the bottom half of the table and look towards the future."
Watch: Dost has been finding the net in the Bundesliga!
bundesliga.com: What can Eintracht improve on in terms of challenging for the top half of the table?
Dost: "A team can always improve. What I think is important is finding our way back to where we were. We were in a phase where we'd continuously push, press forward, quick ball retention, quick up-field play. That energy has been missing. The match against Cologne where we were up by two goals was a kind of match that we'd normally have killed off, however, in the second half we simply couldn't run anymore. This is all normal. These weeks are the perfect time to train and recuperate our energy. For the moment, I'm pleased with what I'm seeing."
bundesliga.com: What are some of your personal goals/targets?
Dost: "I came to this team because I still have plans to show what I can do here in the Bundesliga; to still achieve something. Unfortunately, the first half of the season didn't present me with a lot of opportunities to play. I didn't enjoy it too much. I tried all I could but sometimes it is what it is. Now, I've set myself targets. I want to push on, I want to show who I am. That means scoring goals but also helping the team. I want to climb back up the table. For the second half of the season, we've set targets and I also expect a lot from myself. If it works out, I'm sure we can still have a lot of fun!"