Dan-Axel Zagadou has established himself as a first-team cert at Borussia Dortmund since his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017.
Now, ahead of the Bundesliga's return, the 20-year-old Frenchman sits down with bundesliga.com to discuss learning from the experienced head of Mats Hummels, new signing Erling Haaland and facing former club PSG in the UEFA Champions League.
bundesliga.com: How did you find the training camp in Marbella?
Dan-Axel Zagadou: "It went well. It was a bit hard, but things are always intense at training camps. It's important to rest well between each training session."
bundesliga.com: You played in five consecutive games to end the first half of the season. How was that for you?
Zagadou: "I was happy to be back on the pitch after so long. We won some of those games, we lost others, and I think we also drew… All in all, it went well for me personally, but I'd rather have won them all."
bundesliga.com: Dortmund coach Lucien Favre has experimented with his tactics in recent months, especially in defence. Do you prefer playing with three or four defenders?
Zagadou: "I feel good with both, as long as I'm playing. It doesn't matter whether we are three or four defenders."
bundesliga.com: Were you concerned when you weren't able to play?
Zagadou: "I wasn't concerned. I spoke to the coach a lot. He said that he'd play me again at some point, no matter what. I just didn't know when. I wasn't concerned, but I was impatient."
bundesliga.com: Has Mats Hummels' experience helped you improve?
Zagadou: "He helps a lot, he's got a lot of experience and he's won a lot. You can feel it on the pitch, he speaks and directs us. It's good for the team to have him."
bundesliga.com: Do you believe Dortmund are still in the title race?
Zagadou: "Of course, we'll have a chance until the very end. There are still lots of games to go. I don't think the final result is foreseeable. We're still there."
bundesliga.com: What are your first thoughts about Erling Haaland having trained with him recently?
Zagadou: "I didn't really know him, other than the fact that he scored lots of goals in the Champions League. He's been out with an injury, so he hasn't trained with us a lot yet. He's quite big and strong for his age. I hope he'll do us some good."
bundesliga.com: Are you happy about the developments in your friend and former teammate Abdou Diallo's career?
Zagadou: "He's had a good journey so far. He started in Monaco, now he's at PSG, and he's worked a lot between Belgium and Germany, at smaller clubs and bigger clubs. I'm happy for him, and I'm happy to be seeing him again soon when we face PSG."
bundesliga.com: And on that note, what do you think about facing your former club, PSG, in the next round of the UEFA Champions League?
Zagadou: "I'm happy about the draw because I went through all of PSG's youth teams. It'll certainly feel special to play against them, and it'll feel good to go back there."
bundesliga.com: Have you been thinking about your chances of getting into the France national team if your good performances with Dortmund continue?
Zagadou: "A little bit! But for now, I'm with the U21s and we have several big events coming up: the Olympics, the EURO qualifiers… I'm focused on that, and if anything comes after that, it'll be like a bonus."
How AFCON change affects Bayern and Sadio Mane
The 2023 Africa Cup of Nations has been rearranged - what does it mean for Bayern's marquee summer signing?
10 American moments in the Bundesliga
From trend-setter Andy Mate to the rise of Gio Reyna, we celebrate Americans in the Bundesliga this July 4...
Why are America's hot prospects flocking to the Bundesliga?
On July 4, we examine why Reyna & Co. are looking to follow in Pulisic's footsteps and make the grade in Germany...