From firing Borussia Mönchengladbach into the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds for the first time to making his debut for France, 2020/21 has been an event-filled season so far for Marcus Thuram.
The 23-year-old forward may have only scored three goals and claimed one assist in the Bundesliga this season, but Thuram came alive in the Champions League group stages with two goals and four assists helping set-up the Foals' last 16 tie with Manchester City.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, Thuram discusses Gladbach's goals for the remainder of the season under Borussia Dortmund-bound coach Marco Rose, the prospect of facing the English Premier League leaders and his hopes for the European Championships with France this summer...
bundesliga.com: The decisive part of the season starts now - are you looking forward to those do-or-die games in the next week?
Marcus Thuram: "Yes I am. In order to play the next games well, we have to simply concentrate on the next one."
bundesliga.com: What do you think about the shape of the team?
Thuram: "We're pretty good, we're pretty good. We've lost two games in 2021. The team is good, the spirit is good. There's no reason anything bad can happen to us. We're going out there and playing our football."
bundesliga.com: After your suspension, you made a fantastic comeback with a goal - how important was it for you to show that you are back with a bang?
Thuram: "I don't think people doubt this. We got the win and this is the most important thing. I don't see this as a personal thing that I came back and showed everyone. The most important thing was I didn't want to come back and lose the game because the team won five games without me, so the only thing I asked everyone was I'm back, you're going to play I don't want to lose. I don't want people saying 'it's Tikus, it's Tikus,' no. Play, win, please win and, like this, we can go on. That's what happened, we won and it was all good."
bundesliga.com: You scored the goal and then they had a little doubt about winning, right?
Thuram: "No, the team did it. I came on for 15 minutes! I played 15 minutes against Dortmund. It was a good team win."
bundesliga.com: You are a young and highly talented player - and a popular saying says: you learn from mistakes. What did you learn in the last few months? How difficult was it for you after you missed matches because of the red card?
Thuram: "Yes it wasn't very good but I made a mistake and I had to take the consequences. I'm glad the team could perform when I had to watch the game from home. Now I'm back and I hope I have learned from my mistake."
bundesliga.com: Did the team help you through this situation?
Thuram: "Yes. From Max to all the players, everyone supported me and it was very warming. I thank them for that."
bundesliga.com: To be in the last 16 in the Champions League is a historic moment for the club. The situation with the whole team in front of the screen in Madrid is one of the highlights of the whole season. Can you describe this moment?
Thuram: "It was very very stressful because we knew that after losing against Madrid the result in the other game could either qualify us or eliminate us. Even during the game, some people were watching their phone. After the game, we all went and watched the phone and at the end of Inter against Shakhtar we all celebrated."
bundesliga.com: Was it the best defeat in your career?
Thuram: "No, a defeat is a defeat but we were happy after that."
bundesliga.com: What do you expect from these two games against Man City?
Thuram: "It's going to be a good game. Manchester City are a good team but at this stage of the competition, there are only great teams left so we have to play them. We'll give everything we can so we can beat them."
bundesliga.com: In the Bundesliga, you've been very good in those big matches. Is there any doubt that this could happen again against Man City?
Thuram: "No, we're going there to play our game like we always do. To put in effort together and try to win this first game."
Watch: All of Thuram's goals and assists in 2019/20
Thuram: "What is special about Leipzig? Everything is special about Leipzig! You're asking me what is special about them? Everything is special about them, they have a great defence, they have a great midfield and they have a great attack. And they have a good coach. Everything is special about Leipzig."
bundesliga.com: There are only six points between third-placed Eintracht Frankfurt and Gladbach in seventh place - so it could be a very exciting final part of the season. What are the most important factors to be successful?
Thuram: "We have to concentrate on ourselves. We have to keep training, training, and training. When we go out there on Saturday or Sunday or in the Champions League game, we have to be very focussed on ourselves and not thinking about our opponents or the teams in front of us. We have to concentrate on ourselves and if we fully think about ourselves and the style of game that we play, we can do good things."
bundesliga.com: Many young players like yourself, Moussa Diaby and Silas Wamangituka have made the move from France to the Bundesliga recently. What do you think are the advantages of playing in the Bundesliga?
Thuram: "Playing in the Bundesliga is good because it's a very offensive league. The coaches and the teams aren't afraid to trust young players because we see in every team there are very young players. It's a good league because even the teams who are in the lower positions want to attack. If two teams want to attack it makes for good football."
bundesliga.com: The Bundesliga is not only a hotbed for up-and-coming players from France, but from all over the world. How does the opportunity to play against other young talent increase the attractiveness of the Bundesliga?
Thuram: "It's a good thing because it's a showcase for all young players and they can develop fully in the Bundesliga playing against other young players."
bundesliga.com: Let's have a look into the summer: European Championship - France, Portugal and Germany together in the group stage - that sounds quite interesting.
Thuram: "I hope I make the Euros first before thinking about the opponents. Then, if I make the Euros, France are the second-best team in the world after Belgium. We have excellent players in France so I think there won't be any problem for France."
bundesliga.com: Is it more complicated to have contact with the national coach and other national teammates?
Thuram: "No there's Facetime. To call people? There's the phone. To see people, last time I went with the national team we all met but if not, it's not that complicated."
bundesliga.com: After a crazy week with some background noise around your coach - how difficult is it to focus on league football at the weekend?
Thuram: "The coach made his decision. I'm happy for him because he's going to join a very talented and very good team. As he said, he's here until the summer and he will give 100 percent like he always has."
bundesliga.com: Is the team resolved to write some successful chapters with Marco Rose until the end of the season?
Thuram: "The coach wants to and the players who play for Mönchengladbach want to finish the season in the best way they can."
bundesliga.com: What has to happen that you will be satisfied with the season?
Thuram: "That the team plays 100 percent every game and without regrets."
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