RB Leipzig's crushing 5-0 win at Schalke on Matchday 23 was a statement to the rest of the Bundesliga. In the same week that they had beaten Tottenham Hotspur on the road in the UEFA Champions League, Leipzig showed their elite level as a team.
Speaking to bundesliga.com from the Veltins-Arena, Leipzig shot-stopper Peter Gulacsi discusses the five-goal thrashing, how the club's ridiculous squad depth distinguishes them from the rest, and their title chances...
bundesliga.com: Peter Gulacsi, an early goal never hurts. Was it especially good for RB Leipzig after the late return from London to take the lead against Schalke inside the first minute?
Peter Gulacsi: "Definitely! You come to Schalke and know how they are going to play. Schalke give everything from the first minute, they also pressed us early. Then such an early goal in the first minute always helps. Especially if you’re not 100 per cent fresh after the difficult game in the Champions League. We still kept up physically very well, and emotionally as well, which was a very important aspect of this game. In the end, we were able to use our quality."
bundesliga.com: Your goalkeeping opposite, Alexander Nübel, looked a little unhappy with the early goal…
Gulacsi: "He knows himself that he should have kept that shot. But that happens to every goalkeeper. Unfortunately, that’s how it is in our position. I think Schalke's defeat was not due to Alexander Nübel, but to our quality and the way we played, especially in the second half. The early lead was an advantage psychologically, but after that, there were still 89 minutes to play. In the end, we won deservedly."
bundesliga.com: In the second half Leipzig took chances almost every minute. Did you get a second wind?
Gulacsi: "It was a key to victory that the guys who came into the game brought in a lot of quality again. The substitutes came on with physical freshness and the necessary mentality. It distinguishes our team from the rest in the league because we have such a deep squad. Even the guys who may not have played as often as they would have liked recently come onto the pitch with the right mentality. You do everything for this team. This is a strength that we want to maintain until the end of the season. That can still make us very, very successful."
bundesliga.com: Speaking of success: Things have been going much better again since Leipzig had to relinquish top spot in the Bundesliga. Do you feel more comfortable when you're chasing a team, in this case, Bayern?
Gulacsi: "(laughs) I feel just as good at the top. I think it's not so much different. Of course, there’s also a mental side to this. But we’ve generally played our way very well lately. We’ve become very stable at the back, which is always the key to a successful team. The guys in front of me work really hard, including the whole team. We do it very well defensively. This gives us a lot more chances with the ball. And we made good use of it in the second half against Schalke, for example."
bundesliga.com: Leipzig have not conceded a single goal in the last four games. What makes this defence as strong as you just mentioned?
Gulacsi: "We've changed something and are playing a slightly different system. It's very good for us. We have two very aggressive full-backs who are defending from the front, and the three guys at the back of the chain do an outstanding job. In addition, there are two defensive midfielders who always run around 13 kilometres per game. It's unbelievable what the boys bring to the pitch again and again from game to game in a combative and breezy manner."
bundesliga.com: And is that also the reason why Leipzig can attack again at the top of the table?
Gulacsi: "That's one reason why we've gotten better lately. This defensive stability is the key to being successful. We’ve shown this at Tottenham, also at Bayern and now again at Schalke. If you can play three times away from home and keep a clean sheet, that's a really strong record."
Peter Gulacsi was speaking to Dietmar Nolte in Gelsenkirchen