American teenager Joe Scally is still on a high after making his Bundesliga debut for Borussia Mönchengladbach - but he doesn't plan to stop there.
Scally made his competitive bow in a DFB Cup first-round win over Kaiserslautern, and was kept in the side for a Bundesliga debut against Bayern. He more than held his own at left-back, helping Adi Hütter's team to a 1-1 draw against the champions on the opening night.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the 18-year-old describes the thrill of playing against Bayern and Robert Lewandowski as well as his ambitious targets for the season.
Watch: See how Scally and Gladbach got a point against Bayern
bundesliga.com: You made your Bundesliga debut against Bayern Munich. Has it sunk in yet?
Joe Scally: "Yeah, it's crazy. I'm still on cloud nine. It was a great moment and I'm just looking forward to every game now after it."
bundesliga.com: How did you ensure you went into the Bayern game full of confidence?
Scally: "I think a lot of the confidence comes from the coach, who helped me a lot during pre-season and gave me so much trust. And just watching these guys on TV - I feel like maybe it made it even easier because I watched them on TV every day. So being able to know their moves so well from watching them, it helped a lot and it just gave me so much more [of a] great feeling going into the game."
bundesliga.com: Were you surprised by how well you performed against the record champions?
Scally: "It was definitely surprising but I knew I had it in me from training and all the pre-season matches we've had. I've done very well… finally I was able to show what I can do, and it surprised a lot of people."
bundesliga.com: You drew plaudits from head coach Adi Hütter amongst others for your performance. What does that mean to you?
Scally: "That means everything to me. The icing on top - it's amazing to hear that. Like I said, it gives me so much more confidence now going into the next game, the next training. I just want to keep making the coach happy and everyone happy."
bundesliga.com: Were your family there to support you for the match against Bayern?
Scally: "Yeah, that night was great with my whole family - everyone was there. We stayed up all night and re-watched the game. It was a great day and still it's amazing to even think about it. I have all my friends and everyone still texting me like: 'you went up against Lewandowski.' It's great."
bundesliga.com: Did you ever expect to be going up against Robert Lewandowski in the Bundesliga?
Scally: "Like I said, it's a dream. We all wanted to do that when we are little, and for it to actually happen is crazy and is something I will never forget."
bundesliga.com: What did it feel like having fans back in the stadium?
Scally: "It was great. It felt like it was full. When you looked at the stadium, it seemed like every single seat was taken and to think that another 30,000 is going to be in the stadium - because of how loud it was - that's crazy. It's going to be so loud, so we're all looking forward to it."
bundesliga.com: Does having fans in the stadium make a difference out on the pitch?
Scally: "It gives you so much more energy for the game. It gets you so much more pumped up, and you just want to do everything for the fans. It was great. Just for all of the players, for all of us, to rally up with the fans, to bring all the energy, the connection. The whole family back together - it was really nice."
bundesliga.com: Do you ever have to pinch yourself?
Scally: "Yeah, it's crazy. You dream of this as a kid, and for all of it to be happening... my friends, my family... it's just so cool that it's happening. Because you play Xbox games and this happens and you're like: 'wow, this would be so crazy if this was actually me'. And for it to be actually happening - it's like a dream."
bundesliga.com: What are your main traits as a player?
Scally: "My main thing is my athleticism. I'm a very fast, strong, physical player, who likes to get up and down the field. And I love getting into one vs. one duels and headers in the air. And I love to play on the ground and keep possession. Those are my main traits."
bundesliga.com: What are your aims for the season?
Scally: "For the next weeks I would love to just play as many games as I can, help the team out. Maybe go with the national team if I'm able to... if I get called in. And for the whole season, to just make a Champions League spot and of course win the cup and win the league."
bundesliga.com: Is your objective to win the Bundesliga?
Scally: "Yeah, of course. I think if you're not in it to win the league, what's the point of even playing? All of the guys know this. Of course we want to go on and win the league, which is everyone's main goal."
Watch: Scally's reaction after the Bayern game
bundesliga.com: Why is the Bundesliga such an attractive place for young American players?
Scally: "It's a great place for young Americans to come to develop their game and everyone who has come here so far has gone on to do great things. So I'm hoping I can just do that as well."
bundesliga.com: How did you first get into football as a kid?
Scally: "My mum played when she was younger so right away she and my dad put me and my brother into soccer. And I've always followed my brother's footsteps, so when he started playing I instantly wanted to play and it just went on from there."
bundesliga.com: Who has helped you most in your career to date?
Scally: "I would say my brother helped me out a lot because he was always older than me and he always played soccer before me. He played basketball before me. So I've always looked up to him and he's always helped me out with everything that I ever did."
bundesliga.com: Tell us about your professional debut for New York City and the emotions that surrounded that match...
Scally: "It was great. We had David Villa on the team and I got subbed in for him so he gave me great tips when I was going into the game. It helped me out a lot. The coaches said: 'go out there and have fun.' It was against our rivals, New York Red Bulls, so it was a great game for me to play. We lost 4-0, so I'll never forget that. But it was amazing."
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