Schalke showed in Saturday's derby draw with Borussia Dortmund that they can now match their Ruhr rivals, but midfielder Suat Serdar warned his teammates, "We've won nothing yet."
The freshly capped Germany international was one of a number of Schalke players who had clear-cut chances to give David Wagner's men a famous Revierderby triumph that would have lifted the Royal Blues above their arch-rivals in the Bundesliga table.
Serdar highlighted the progress Schalke have made since struggling through the 2018/19 campaign, but pointed out a lot of hard work still needs to be done.
bundesliga.com: Suat Serdar, do Schalke only have themselves to blame for not getting the goal that would have won this derby?
Suat Serdar: "We can be proud of our performance. We dominated the whole game, everyone could see that. Salif Sane hit the crossbar and I hit a post. We were unlucky. We need to be more ruthless. That's the regret we can have, but other than that, everything was very good. We also defended well, didn't give them much and kept a clean sheet."
bundesliga.com: Did Rabbi Matondo need a hug after missing some good chances?
Serdar: "He's still young and has a lot to learn, just like me. He'll score again at some time. He was close to a goal, just like Salif and me. We mustn't dwell on that and now focus on the DFB Cup game."
bundesliga.com: Are you worried that Schalke aren't scoring many goals at the moment? Could it become something that plays on your minds?
Serdar: "I'm not worried about that. Sometimes we score and other times the goals dry up. Right now, it's just two games in which we haven't scored. I simply hope that things will be different in the next game."
bundesliga.com: The next game is a DFB Cup tie against Bielefeld on Tuesday. Schalke aren't that used to midweek games any more, is that a problem after a sapping derby?
Serdar: "It's the first tough week [laughs], but you could say we've had enough rest for it. We now have three days and then we'll be back at it and full on on Tuesday. I think all those who played 90 minutes in the derby will be able to play for 90 minutes again. I was struggling a bit at the end of the game, so playing every three days will do me good."
bundesliga.com: Last season, there was a significant gap between Schalke and Dortmund. Now, in both the game and the table, you're on level terms. Is that encouraging for the future?
Serdar: "It makes me proud how we have developed since last season. It's reward for the hard work of recent weeks and months. Now, we have to keep going in the same vein. We've achieved nothing yet. It's important to take things step by step, game by game."
bundesliga.com: Talking of rewards…you were called up by Joachim Löw for the first time, made your debut against Argentina and also played against Estonia. How do you see your future in the national team?
Serdar: "I now have to kick on with my club. Then we'll see if the national team coach calls me up again. Of course I'd be happy about that, but it's my performances with my club that count now, my performances for Schalke. Everything else will come then."
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