Munich - Chances proved hard to come by in Saturday evening's Rhineland derby between Fortuna Düsseldorf and Borussia Mönchengladbach, but it was the latter's Luuk de Jong came closest to breaking the deadlock, only to be denied at point-blank range by Fortuna stopper Fabian Giefer.
Speaking exclusively to bundesliga.com after the goalless draw, the 22-year-old Dutchman reflects on his side's performance, life in the top flight of German football and the long road ahead at his new club.
bundesliga.com: Luuk de Jong, Borussia and Fortuna Düsseldorf played out a 0-0 draw in the Rhineland derby. What did you make of the game?
Luuk de Jong: It was a difficult game. We gave the ball away too much. That wasn't great. We had a few chances and could have won it. I had a good chance myself but couldn't make it count - the keeper showed great reflexes to keep the ball out. In those instances you need a bit of luck. Nine out of ten times those ones go in. This time, though, that wasn't the case
bundesliga.com: With your first five competitive outings with Borussia in the Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League play-off behind you, how happy have you been with your performances?
De Jong: We play good team football - you could certainly see that in the second leg against Dynamo Kyiv. Sometimes, though, we gave the ball away a little too easily. We must be more assured in possession because we're playing ourselves into difficulty when we give the ball away. We need to work on that - to be quick and more precise on the ball. Then we'll create and take our chances. In Düsseldorf we played too many sloppy passes.
bundesliga.com: Are you making more progress yourself the more you play?
De Jong: Yes, of course. I'm still very young and can only get better playing in a league as competitive as the Bundesliga. I want to get stronger with every game. Everything will get better. It's just not quite right in front of goal. Once again I was unlucky against Fortuna, but I'm sure luck will be on my side again soon. I'm not worried about that.
bundesliga.com: Do you think it'll go better for you once you've got your first goal? How much do you want that goal to come?
De Jong: I don't think about it. I don't feel down because it still hasn't happened. Of course I want to score goals. As a striker it's my job to score, but the most important thing is that the team takes the points. I'll still make goals.
bundesliga.com: Is the Bundesliga becoming more popular in Holland because of the high number of Dutch stars in the league?
De Jong: Without doubt. Many Dutch players play in Germany. And many fans come to the Bundesliga stadiums, too. It's not that far. The Bundesliga is a magnificent league and has a great following in Holland.
bundesliga.com: What's the biggest difference between Eredivisie and the Bundesliga?
De Jong: In Germany it doesn't matter who you play. All teams are good. In Holland there are a couple of top sides, but after that the standard isn't that high. All the teams in the Bundesliga play good football. The kick-and-rush approach is a thing of the past. The teams are technically better and the games are played at a high tempo. There are also great players. The Bundesliga keeps getting better, and for younger players like me it's the right league.
bundesliga.com: On Friday the draw was made for the Europa League. Borussia face Marseille, Fenerbahce and Limassol. How tough a group do you think it is?
De Jong: It could be easier - it's a difficult group. We're playing tough teams but we're looking forward to it, but of course the Bundesliga is the priority. It's nice to be in the Europa League and we want to go as far was possible.
bundesliga.com: There's a two-week international break in the Bundesliga now. How much does that disrupt the rhythm?
De Jong: It's a little hard given that the national players have to head off and only come back two days before the next Bundesliga game, but it's always nice to travel with the national side. I really like playing for my country. The U-21s are playing Austria and we want to win the group.
Interview by Tobias Gonscherowski.