Borussia Mönchengladbach defender Matthias Ginter has tipped former club and current Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund to win the title, but says defending champions Bayern Munich cannot be ruled out yet.
Speaking after the game, Ginter - who spent three years at BVB before joining Gladbach in summer 2017 - shared his thoughts on the title race and discussed the Foals' lofty aims for the remainder of the campaign...
bundesliga.com: Matthias Ginter, nine points, no goals conceded - Gladbach have made the perfect start to 2019. What makes the team so formidable?
Matthias Ginter: We put in a lot of hard work during the winter break, and we also addressed our away form. We’ve won all our home games, but we want to take points consistently away as we have in Leverkusen and Schalke. It’s not been flawless, but we’ve made the perfect start to the year.
bundesliga.com: The team appears to be very confident and composed at the moment. You only conceded one chance against Schalke...
Ginter: There have been a few games where it’s been goalless at the break and we’ve had to be patient. We’ve decided some games in the second half. We scored two late goals at home to Augsburg last week, too. We gave next to nothing away against Schalke, and dealt with their counter-attacks. Then errors started to creep into their game. Gaps started to appear as they tired. It was what we were waiting for.
bundesliga.com: Have the team taken another step forward? Are you tighter as a unit compared to the first half of the season?
Ginter: I think that one or two have upped their game. We defend as a unit and give our all. And we all know that we can score goals. We’re very tight. We're all delighted with our progress.
bundesliga.com: And now Gladbach are waiting for Dortmund to slip up...
Ginter: (Laughs) Not really. I think BVB are widely seen as the favourties for the title. You can’t rule out Bayern, though. They have so much quality, but I’ll be surprised if Dortmund don’t win it.
bundesliga.com: Borussia Mönchengladbach are commanding more and more respect from the opposition, though...
Ginter: We’ve all earned it. We want to keep going, but there are no easy games in the Bundesliga. Now we have to turn our attentions to the game against Hertha. It’ll be tough as we know from our previous meeting.
bundesliga.com: With a 10-point cushion on fifth place, Gladbach are looking good for a place in the Champions League and could pull even further clear...
Ginter: We’ll have to wait and see. We’ve got games against Hertha, Frankfurt, Wolfsburg and Bayern to come. It’s not the easiest run of fixtures. It could look a lot different for us after that. We’re enjoying it right now, but it’s too early to make those kind of forecasts.
bundesliga.com: Gladbach could take a huge step towards Champions League qualification with the right result against fifth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt on Matchday 22. Will that be like a final for you?
Ginter: (Laughs) No, because it’s already mission accomplished if you win a final. Frankfurt have insane quality, so do Leipzig – and Dortmund and Bayern. Champions League qualification will go down to the wire, it’s going to be really tight. We’re trying to focus on ourselves and continue to improve – as we have in the last few months. Then we’ll see what comes at the end of it.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from Schalke's Veltins Arena