Bremen - Kevin de Bruyne is the new man in the spotlight at Werder Bremen. The 21-year-old winger, who joined the Green-Whites from European champions Chelsea FC on a one-year loan deal, has started life in the Bundesliga with a bang after slipping straight into coach Thomas Schaaf's first-team line-up.
One of a crop of exciting new talents to emerge from Belgium in recent years, de Bruyne got off the mark with a goal in Bremen's 3-2 loss to Hannover 96 on Matchday 3. Talking exclusively with bundesliga.com, he discusses how the Bundesliga compares to the Belgian Jupiler League, his new team role at Bremen and what he hopes to achieve domestically, as well as on the international stage.
bundesliga.com: Kevin de Bruyne, what's the mood in the team like after the first three games - two losses - yet all three games were close [against Dortmund, Hamburg and Hannover]?
Kevin de Bruyne: The mood is quite good actually. We knew it'd be difficult to play away against Dortmund and Hannover, but we played good football and were unlucky not to earn more points, especially against Hannover. We just have to start collecting more points.
bundesliga.com: What was the motivation behind your decision to move to Werder Bremen?
de Bruyne: I had a good feeling when Bremen contacted me. They were already interested in signing me before I moved to Chelsea but couldn't match Genk's asking price. I didn't hesitate for long when the chance to move here on loan came up this year.
bundesliga.com: What are your first impressions of Bremen as a club?
de Bruyne: I like the club very much. We have a lot of young players and sometimes it shows that we might be lacking a bit of experience. But I think we play good football and to me that's the most important thing.
bundesliga.com: How, if at all, does the style of play in the Bundesliga differ from the Belgian Jupiler League?
de Bruyne: There are many things that differ. The quality is higher here and the stadiums are nicer. The game is probably a bit more physical in Belgium, so I find it more difficult to play in the Jupiler League. In the Bundesliga, the tempo is really high and the players do more running.
bundesliga.com: Could you envision playing longer-term in the Bundesliga?
de Bruyne: I could, but it's all in Chelsea's hands and they plan to have me back next year.
bundesliga.com: How do you feel about playing in central midfield, when for most of your time at Genk you operated on the wing?
de Bruyne: I quite like playing in central midfield and believe it's my best position.
bundesliga.com: Do you see yourself in a leading role at Bremen after the comings and goings during the summer?
de Bruyne: Not yet, anyway. I've only played a few games and I don't speak enough German yet to take up that role. My type of football might help me be a leader out on the pitch, though.
bundesliga.com: What can Bremen achieve this season? What would be a realistic finish for the team?
de Bruyne: We have a chance to claim a European spot, but it will be difficult as there are a lot of teams capable of taking those places. But there's a lot of competition in the Bundesliga and every team will drop points over the course of the season.
bundesliga.com: Belgium have a very talented squad right now. Is it realistic to think the country will qualify for World Cup 2014?
de Bruyne: I think we have the chance to. We were the better side in each of our first two qualifying matches - especially against Croatia, where it ended 1-1. The better team doesn't always win. I think we've made a good start to the campaign nonetheless and now we have to build on it.
bundesliga.com: Do you believe you will be in the squad for the World Cup if Belgium do qualify?
de Bruyne: I don't know, but I came on in the two qualifiers and I'm positive as I'm only 21 years old and can still develop.
Interview by Felix Seaman-Höschele