With their emphatic 5-1 win over Hannover, Borussia Dortmund set a new club record: never before have they had as many as 48 points after 19 games.
It is no surprise that Marco Reus found plenty of positives when he met reporters afterwards, and reflected on BVB's continuing hot streak, while he had some words of warning as the title race heads into a critical stage.
Marco Reus: That's fantastic. We've carried on where we left off before the winter break, with the same passion and aggression. But the game against Hannover also showed that we can have problems even against the second-to-last team in the league if we don't show the same attitude we did in the first half of the season and against Leipzig. We've got to be self-critical, but at the same time pay a big compliment to the team. Once we find our gear and Jadon [Sancho], Rapha [Guerreiro] and Mario [Götze] get involved, then we've got so much power. Then it's hard for anybody to stop us – but then, and only then.
Question: Hannover had some good chances, particularly early on. Is that a mental issue, or something to do with the approach?
Reus: It's a bit of everything. We've got to ensure that, in particular at home, we make our opponents feel that they're not going to get anything by attacking us. Of course our opponents will try something based on how we play, and sometimes they do manage to surprise us. But we've got to assert ourselves even more to ensure they know they won't get anything against us. We're getting there. We've not got a bad record at home this season, and are still unbeaten, so long may that continue.
Question: You started to gain control about halfway through the first half...
Reus: We didn't make a good start and Hannover put us under pressure, pressing us early and trying to force us into mistakes. We couldn't string passes together and lacked confidence in our game and it wasn't until we managed to find our composure and then build up a bit of tempo that we started to get dangerous. If I'd taken my first chance, I'm sure we'd have settled sooner. Achraf Hakimi got a great goal and that gave us more self-confidence, and that's when we also started to be more assured in our movements and our passing.
Question: The three goals inside eight minutes in the second half then finished the game off quickly...
Reus: At half-time, we discussed how we had to play better and be more determined and that we had to win our tackles. We did that better in the second half, and when we went 2-0 up, we pretty much killed the game off.
Question: It was your goal which made it 2-0...
Reus: I was actually a bit angry with myself because I should have scored my two chances in the first half, but it was only my first game back. I'd not had the ideal preparation and so I was playing catch-up. There was a bit of luck involved in the goal, and a great assist from Achraf.
Question: Roman Bürki was particularly unhappy about the goal you conceded – was he right to be?
Reus: Even when we're 4-0 up, we've go to ensure we don't lose our focus, even if we do move down a gear or two. It was the most unnecessary goal of the year to concede and of course Roman Bürki and the back four are right to be annoyed about it, because it was totally unnecessary.
Question: What can you tell us about Axel Witsel, who after scoring against Leipzig, has now scored another against Hannover?
Reus: We've always said how important it is that one of our defensive midfielders also plays between the lines, whether it's Axel or Thomas Delaney. We need one of them to push up at times and Axel does a great job. He's also working a lot on his shooting and the way he's put the ball in speaks volumes.
Question: Raphael Guerreiro also seems to be a real asset...
Reus: He does a great job. He really deserves it too. He's had to fight with so many little knocks and niggles that have prevented him from getting into a rhythm, but now you can see how good he really is and it's really good to have him in the team because he also does a lot for us defensively and has an incredibly good understanding of the game. It works really well.
Question: Next week you go to Eintracht Frankfurt – another side renowed for their attacking prowess. Are you looking forward to that game?
Reus: To be quite honest, I've not really given that much thought to it, but I'm sure it's going to be a fantastic game next week.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from Dortmund
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