Thomas Delaney knows exactly what it'll take for title hopefuls Borussia Dortmund to beat Schalke in the Revierderby. - © getty images
Thomas Delaney knows exactly what it'll take for title hopefuls Borussia Dortmund to beat Schalke in the Revierderby. - © getty images

"We have nothing to lose" - Borussia Dortmund midfielder Thomas Delaney


Thomas Delaney has told that Borussia Dortmund have "nothing to lose" in their pursuit of Bayern Munich, despite knowing a win over Schalke in Saturday's Revierderby would take his side two points clear of the defending champions at the top of the standings - for 24 hours at least.

The 27-year-old Denmark international has been a key component in Dortmund's title challenge in his first season at the club, and scored in the reverse fixture on 27 September 2018 as BVB claimed an emotionally charged 2-1 victory against their fierce regional rivals to cement top spot.

Bayern have roared back, though, and - even if Dortmund get the better of Schalke, Werder Bremen, Fortuna Düsseldorf and Borussia Mönchengladbach - will win the title if they take maximum points from their remaining four fixtures, on account of their superior goal difference.

"It's out of our hands," admitted Delaney, "but we still have good cards." caught up with the Dortmund enforcer to get his full thoughts on the Revierderby, the title race and life in Germany's foremost division... What makes the Revierderby so intense?

Delaney: "You know that there is a lot at stake and you just have to embrace it. It's not a bad thing to be nervous and you have to accept it and use it. The media talks about the game and everyone around you makes a big fuss about it, so it naturally affects us. We feel that pressure and eagerness to win." How did it feel to score in the Revierderby earlier this season?

Thomas Delaney: "That was amazing. I was looking forward to that game after hearing about it from the players, fans and people in the city. It’s a famous game because I knew about it as a small child in Denmark. I went into that game with a little bit of nervousness and with big expectations. It ended up being a very good day."

Watch: Thomas Delaney opened the scoring and Jadon Sancho scored the winner against Schalke on Matchday 14 How do you think Schalke will approach the derby on Saturday?

Delaney: "Schalke have nothing to lose. Looking at the table, we are clear favourites and have done better this season. They are probably going to come hard at us and will just try to go all out. This is always difficult to prepare for and a derby game always has a life of its own. It doesn’t matter if we won 4-0 or lost 4-0 the week before, the game starts again from 0-0." How important is mentality for you?

Delaney: "Mentality and how I want to be seen has always been a big thing for me personally. When you are in a situation where you have a seven-point lead at the top and then suddenly you are trailing by one, you feel the pressure and there are a lot of questions being asked by people from the outside. It’s make-or-break and, whilst you need talent, you don’t get far without a good mentality and a good work ethic." Why did things go so wrong in the 5-0 defeat to Bayern?

Delaney: "We were clearly beaten and it was a feeling of boys against men. We were not getting in the right positions and we were always one step behind. We never had control of anything, so it was a very bad performance from us in all respects. It was a long week after that game but, thankfully, it didn’t last that long because we came back with wins against Mainz and Freiburg. Even though it was a horrible game, it was nice to see that we could get back on track."

Thomas Delaney hasn't given up hope of pegging back leaders Bayern during the run-in. - Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images What did you make of the 4-0 win against Freiburg last time out?

Delaney: "It was nice to get back on track with a lot of goals and to not to concede any. The last couple of wins have been hard work and tight games, so it was nice to finally have a more controlled game. I guess that’s also what makes football so interesting. It's not a given that the biggest, best, or most expensive team wins. Whenever we score a lot of goals, we tend to make it easier for ourselves. This didn’t happen against Mainz, for example, and every team in the Bundesliga is a good team, so they will try to come back at you with all they have." The first goal against Freiburg was unbelievable, wasn’t it?

Delaney: "It went so fast. Normally I arrive late into the box to try to score a goal, but often I don’t have the time because it goes that fast. It’s about giving the boys some freedom and letting them do what they do best, which is scoring goals." Is it your job to create space among the chaos in the middle of the pitch?

Delaney: "Yes, more or less. It’s not only about that, but my role is to bring in balance both offensively and defensively and to make sure that we perform steadily throughout the season."

Watch: Thomas Delaney talks to's Patrick Owomoyela How would you describe the season so far? Like a rollercoaster ride?

Delaney: "If it’s been a rollercoaster, then it’s been going the right way most of the time. I can’t sit here and complain that we haven’t done well because we have done very well. Of course, we have made mistakes and there are matches that we are not happy about where we lost points that we shouldn’t have. We lost a seven-point lead but, in the end, it has been a very good year both for me personally and for the club so far. We're still in it and, although we may not have the ace in our hand, we still have pretty good cards." Do you now have something to lose this season?

Delaney: "No, I don’t think we have anything to lose. We weren't expected to be where we are at the moment and we're still fighting for the title. Of course, we can see that there are big hopes for this season and we want to achieve that, but it's out of our hands at the moment. We've done a good job so far, but we could've done better and we could've done a lot worse. I want us to play with the mentality of having nothing to lose because that makes us a better team." Is this the big chance to break Bayern’s dominance?

Delaney: "I don’t know about breaking the dominance but, if you ask Bayern, I'm sure they're not completely satisfied with how they started the season. This doesn’t mean that it’s easy to win the Bundesliga because Bayern will always be incredibly stable, and they've shown that yet again. Of course, a season like this is a good opportunity for many teams."

Thomas Delaney (l.) has made 26 Bundesliga appearances this season, producing two goals and four assists. - Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images How was it moving to the Bundesliga with Bremen in Janaury 2017?

Delaney: "I think it was very good for me that I signed six months in advance. I had German lessons for half a year, and I had time to sort out a place to stay, a bank account and so on. All of these things were sorted by the time I arrived, so it was calmer for me. I was still thrown into the deep end because we played Bayern, Dortmund, and Gladbach in the first three games and we didn’t win any of them. However, I still felt like it was the right place for me. At Copenhagen, we had been playing in the [UEFA] Europa League and the Champions League and we had been trying to play a high intensity game. I always enjoyed these types of games, so even though we weren’t succeeding at the start, I felt like it was a very good fit." How would you describe the Bundesliga?

Delaney: Above all, the Bundesliga is intense. It's very rare to have a game that is completely controlled because it seems to be attacking and defending and nothing in between. The games are always going one way or another. When you talk about the league, you also have to talk about the fans and the culture of watching football in Germany. I appreciate it as a player and I like to see it. It feels like the people are close to the clubs, rather than it being like a whole different world, which you see in other countries where the fans only ever see the players in the stadium."