Michael Gregoritsch has a debut to remember for Schalke, scoring one and assisting another as David Wagner's men beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-0, and now thinks the Royal Blues have nothing to fear against Bayern Munich next Saturday.
bundesliga.com caught up with the winter loan signing from Augsburg after the full-time whistle at the Veltins Arena…
Michael Gregoritsch: "I think it was a good debut overall. We won and I was able to participate. I have to give credit to Benito Raman for my goal. He was looking for me and I knew I had to make the run. Half of my goal is his."
Question: Was that the Michael Gregoritsch Schalke fans can look forward to in the second half of the season?
Gregoritsch: "I hope I can keep this level of performance up. Everyone knows how fast football can go. It was definitely a very good start. I also felt very comfortable at Schalke in the first few weeks. I hope it will go on like this and will give it my all. In any case, a game like this makes you want more."
Question: What was your impression of the Veltins Arena and the Schalke fans?
Gregoritsch: "Cool! It was amazing, I said that when I was warming up. The journey to the stadium before the game is something special. I have to absorb it now that I have this chance. I can only say it again: it really is something special."
Question: From the Augsburg bench straight to the Schalke starting XI and then being the match winner. Can you believe it?
Gregoritsch: "That's football! It doesn't work so well with one club and then it's better with another. I see this as a huge opportunity. I'm really happy with the start I've made and I really enjoyed this evening. We have to continue this way, though. The season's not over today."
Question: Were you surprised to play 90 minutes?
Gregoritsch: "I have to speak to the coach again because I actually wanted to come off a few minutes earlier (laughs). But in a game like this you're carried in a certain way. If you're in the lead, you can change the game a bit and pull it back. You work hard and when it ends up being rewarded with three points, it shows that it works."
Question: What can you bring to the team that Schalke may have been missing in the first half of the season?
Gregoritsch: "I didn't follow Schalke so much in the first half of the season that I could say what was missing. But I try to bring my game, which I hope will work against more teams than Gladbach, playing with a lot of passion and commitment. And I always try to get in front of goal."
Question: Your coach has also confirmed that you enjoy defending...
Gregoritsch: "I have to defend (laughs)! No, seriously: If there are nine players running behind you, it's nonsense if you don't also run up front. You have a responsibility to make it easier for your teammates."
Question: What can Schalke expect next weekend at Bayern?
Gregoritsch: "There is everything to play for. We don't need to hide. We know Bayern Munich are a brilliant team but it's also a nice feeling to be in the top third of the table and travel to Munich knowing that it's a top game. I've not experienced that before."
Dietmar Nolte reporting from Gelsenkirchen