Lilian Thuram (l.) won the FIFA World Cup with France in 1998 but son Marcus (r.) feels no pressure. - © Getty Images
Lilian Thuram (l.) won the FIFA World Cup with France in 1998 but son Marcus (r.) feels no pressure. - © Getty Images

"You see Lilian Thuram, I just see my dad!" - Borussia Mönchengladbach's Marcus Thuram


Lilian Thuram may have been a FIFA World Cup winner with France in 1998, but for son Marcus there is no pressure, and six goals and five assists in his maiden Bundesliga season suggest Borussia Mönchengladbach have acquired a fine player in his own right. sat down with the 22-year-old ahead of Gladbach's clash with Rhine derby rivals Cologne on Sunday to get his thoughts on the big game, and how the season is going so far for the Foals… Marcus Thuram, have you had nightmares about Christopher Nkunku's goal in the past few days [Gladbach were held to a 2-2 draw by RB Leipzig last Saturday after Nkunku's late goal]?

Marcus Thuram: “No, no nightmares. It was a tough battle. We knew we played 10 against 11 and we had to stay strong. We didn’t lose the game at least, so it’s a good point we brought back from Leipzig.” Bayern Munich have returned to their usual rhythm recently. Do you think this team is destined for the title now?

Thuram: “Yeah, I think Bayern are a very, very good team, but I think there are four, five, six other very good teams in Germany and in football we cannot talk until the end, so we’ll wait and see.”

Watch: Highlights of Gladbach's thrilling 2-2 draw with Leipzig Did you expect that the fight for the title could be as close this year?

Thuram: “I didn’t expect anything. I just came to Borussia and tried to play some good games, so the team could win as many games as possible and here we are today, in the position we are, and I hope we'll try to continue playing like this.” Some observers doubted you when you left Guingamp. Are you happy to prove them wrong?

Thuram: “You know, there will always be doubters. I think if you’re a human being, people will doubt you and it’s good, you continue working and prove them wrong. I’m not getting into a battle with that, I’m just concentrating on what I like to do, playing football, and that’s it.” Do you feel like you've changed your playing style since your arrival in Germany?

Thuram: “Yeah, I've grown in the game, I understand it better. I try to do the essential things and important things better and I hope I can continue getting better and better.” There are a lot of French players in the team. Did they help you integrate?

Thuram: “Yeah, when I came here I didn’t know a lot of players, but I could link up with the players who spoke French very quickly and that helped me in my integration.”

French foals: Alassane Plea (l.) and Marcus Thuram (r.) have combined for 14 goals and 10 assists for Borussia Mönchengladbach this season. - Getty Images What differences have you seen between the Bundesliga and Ligue 1?

Thuram: “The number of fans in the stands.” Borussia have a lot of fans. How does it feel when they're supporting the team?

Thuram: “It’s incredible to see so many people when we play away from home and when we come back to Borussia, the stadium's always full. It’s an incredible atmosphere.” Is it an advantage or disadvantage that your father was a professional player?

Thuram: “No, he’s just my dad and I’m just his son, that’s it.” Did your father give you some good advice about becoming a pro player?

Thuram: “Yeah, he has a good idea about how to be a good man and I think when you’re a good man, life rewards you with some good things.”

Lilian Thuram (No.15) started six of France's seven games on the way to World Cup glory on home soil in 1998. - Getty Images Your father won the World Cup with France. Does that put you under more pressure to play for the national team than other players have?

Thuram: “No, never, because I saw my dad as my dad, not as the soccer player. That’s you and others who see Lilian Thuram, but I see my dad.” Do you dream of one day playing with your Gladbach teammate Alassane Plea for France? And what's your relationship on and off the field with Alassane?

Thuram: “Yeah, it would be good and fun to play with Alassane, because we like each other on the pitch and it would be good.” Did you know him before you came to Borussia?

Thuram: “Yeah, he was in Nice, he's a bit older than me but we know each other.” Is Euro 2020 a realistic goal for you? Or are you targeting the 2022 World Cup instead?

Thuram: “I don’t know, I’m not the one choosing. I'll just try my best with Borussia and at the end of the season, we’ll see.” What is France's goal at Euro 2020?

Thuram: “I hope so they'll win it, and I think so, because they just won the World Cup, so I think they’ll go at the Euros with the will to win it too.” What kind of player is your brother Khéphren?

Thuram: “He’s a midfielder. Very calm, very technical. He’s a very good player.”

"The Bundesliga's that way, Khephren!" - Marcus's younger brother Khephren Thuram plays under dad Lilian's former France teammate Patrick Vieira (l.) at Nice. - imago images Have you been able to watch your brother's matches with Nice?

Thuram: “Yeah, he played last week against Lyon, they won. He’s good, very good.” When did you start playing football?

Thuram: “I know I started playing football when I was born, because there were balls everywhere.” You took part in the derby against Cologne in the first half of the season? What did you learn about the relationship between Mönchengladbach and Cologne?

Thuram: “I know that it’s a big rivalry, I know that the fans stole each other’s flags and things like that, so it is going to be a big game and we have to win it.” At the weekend you will face Cologne again. Do you feel already a special spirit in the locker room?

Thuram: “I know it’s going to be a tough game, because derbies are always tough, but I know that the atmosphere in the stadium is going to be great.”

Watch: Gladbach edged Cologne 1-0 when the teams met in September With five wins in the last six games Cologne are playing better than a team in 14th…

Thuram: “I don’t know. I don’t watch Cologne play, I didn’t see any of their games. I only know that we’re playing against them this weekend and we’ll prepare ourselves to win.” What were your personal aims for this season? Are you on course to reach them?

Thuram: “They change each time I get better, but it’s ok for now!” What do you think could be your limit? 15 goals? 20 goals?

Thuram: “I don’t know, the sky's the limit.”