Borussia Mönchengladbach came from behind to beat both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga in January, with Nico Elvedi building his reputation with consistently inspired performances against the biggest opponents for the Foals.
After scoring twice in the win over Dortmund and before facing Union Berlin on Matchday 19, the Switzerland international centre-back sat down with bundesliga.com to discuss Gladbach's season so far, making life uncomfortable for Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League last 16 and his hopes for EURO 2021.
bundesliga.com: How are you? Do you still feel inspired from last week?
Nico Elvedi: "Yes, I'm doing great! Last week was probably the best week of my career. Three goals in two games is, obviously, superb. The team is doing really well at the moment too. We want to continue this way."
Watch: Gladbach 4-2 Dortmund - with Elvedi on target twice!
bundesliga.com: Why are you suddenly so successful in front of goal?
Elvedi: "Yes, I would say so. I haven't scored too many goals in my career. I have to say that the ball has found its way to me in the past couple of games! The free-kicks were well struck by the players. Obviously, you still need to convert them but at the moment, everything is going really well."
bundesliga.com: What is the reason for you performing the best against top clubs?
Elvedi: "There is nothing to discuss in terms of the quality of the team. We know that we're capable of defeating tough opponents. Obviously, things need to go right on that specific matchday but finally, we're able to prove that on the pitch. I think that's why we've been able to beat such top opponents."
bundesliga.com: You were even behind at times against Bayern and Dortmund. Did that make it particularly difficult?
Elvedi: "No, not at all. I think it has to do with the team morale. Even if we find ourselves chasing the game, we try to push ourselves onward. It has nothing to do with having played poorly but simply that we conceded. We stayed with it and tried to assert our gameplan. It worked out well!"
Watch: Highlights of Gladbach's 3-2 win over Bayern!
bundesliga.com: You have lost only once in the last 10 games. What does that say about your form and quality?
Elvedi: "Yes, I think we're in good form. I think we have a great squad; a deep squad. We have the quality to compete at the top and we have shown that in the last game. We're on a good run and we want to continue that."
You currently have 14 different goalscorers, only RB Leipzig have more in the Bundesliga this season. What is the reason for that? Does that make you even more unpredictable?
Elvedi: "Yes, I think it shows the quality of the team. To have 14 different goalscorers is, obviously, a lot. Now, even the defenders contribute to the goals which adds to the tally."
bundesliga.com: Where have you improved the most in the last three years?
Elvedi: "I definitely think that the club has developed. The quality that we have in our squad has never been as high as in the past couple of seasons. I think it's the main reason why we're doing so well at the moment."
bundesliga.com: Are there things that Marco Rose has improved about you?
Elvedi: "Yes, the coach made a lot of difference. I think we've managed to take a step forward under [Marco] Rose as a team: the pressing, something we weren't taking advantage of before; the quick transition of play; that first pass forward; the gegenpressing that we practice in training. These are definitely aspects that help us on the pitch."
bundesliga.com: Is your style of play actually more stressful for the defenders?
Elvedi: "It's definitely more intense because we often have to push through. A lot of the times, you end up playing one-v-one at the back so it's a risky tactic to employ but it seems to be working superbly."
bundesliga.com: Your way of playing is not only fun for the spectators but also for you players, right?
Elvedi: "Yes, definitely. If you look to retake possession or when you have possession, football is always more fun than when having to chase the ball."
bundesliga.com: Despite a tight schedule and the many highlights, including the Champions League, you are very consistent. Do you have the feeling that you have become more experienced?
Elvedi: "Of course. Experience plays a role. The coach assembles us well. If we have a Champions League match followed by a Bundesliga game, we know how important that is. I think the depth of the squad and being able to switch it up without dropping in quality makes us so consistent."
bundesliga.com: What are your expectations from the games against Union Berlin and Cologne?
Elvedi: "They're two difficult games. Union Berlin are fighting at the top. They're having a good season. It'll definitely not be easy. Cologne is a derby. It's always special. Our goal is to get the three points in each game."
bundesliga.com: What are your sporting wishes for the team for the rest of this season?
Elvedi: "We'll try to solidify our place towards the top of the Bundesliga. Our goal is to stay there and compete. We got a difficult draw in the Champions League but in football, nothing is impossible. We'll try to make it as uncomfortable as possible for Man City."
bundesliga.com: How great is the anticipation of playing in the European Championship with so many teammates from Gladbach in the Swiss national team?
Elvedi: "Yes, a lot. It'll be such a pity to have the European Championships without the fans, however, I'm still very excited! It'll probably be my first European Championship as a player, hopefully. We have a good team with Switzerland. A lot of quality. We'll see what we can achieve."
bundesliga.com: What do you think your national team can achieve in the European Championship?
Elvedi: "Of course our goal is to achieve something sensational. First of all, we need to get through the group stage and then we will look further. I think in terms of quality, there is definitely a possibility."
bundesliga.com: Do you tend to stay in a group with your Gladbach colleagues when you're on tour with the national team or are you also quite happy to have contact with other players?
Elvedi: "We're not our own separate group. We get on well with the Swiss team. It can happen that we split up and start conversations with others about the ongoings at their clubs."
bundesliga.com: You play almost every game with Yann Sommer behind you in goal. How would you describe him? What are his qualities?
Elvedi: "Yes, we trust each other a lot. I'm very pleased to have such a goalkeeper behind me. In terms of football as well, he is top class! I play very well with him. As a person, as well. He helped me get settled in the team when I first arrived. As I said, I'm happy to have someone like him behind me."