Mainz - There were no doubts about who was man of the match in 1. FSV Mainz 05's 3-0 against 1899 Hoffenheim as Adam Szalai netted his first Bundesliga hat-trick, clutching the matchball at the whistle.
Both Szalai and Mainz have been on song lately, the 24-year-old international becoming the Bundesliga's second-highest scorer with seven goals and his team collecting ten points in their last four games, seeing Thomas Tuchel's side rise to sixth in the table.
"He's very important for our game, whether he scores three goals or he doesn't," said his coach after the game, adding: "We are of course very happy for him today." The Budapest-born striker, who played for VfB Stuttgart and Real Madrid at youth level, told bundesliga.com what he has learnt from missing most of 2011 with a torn cruciate ligament and that there's nothing like winning as a team.
bundesliga.com: Adam Szalai, how does it feel to have scored your first hat-trick in the Bundesliga?
Szalai: It feels really good. It's difficult enough scoring in the Bundesliga, so getting three is something special.
bundesliga.com: And now you get to keep the matchball...
Szalai: Yes, I'm never going to give it away.
bundesliga.com: What are the reasons for your good performance against Hoffenheim?
Szalai: To be honest with you, I was very motivated as I was still angry that we lost two points in Leverkusen [where Mainz drew 2-2 on Matchday 8].
bundesliga.com: You're already on seven goals, only one behind the Bundesliga's current top scorer Mario Mandzukic...
Szalai: I don't care about the scoring charts at all. To me it's only important that the team won three points. Scoring was made easy for me as I only needed one touch for each goal.
bundesliga.com: A knee injury kept you out for almost a year. What have you learnt from that period?
Szalai: It's important to believe in your strengths, even at difficult times. I now see certain things in a different light and I've learnt to realise what I'm good at and what I'm not able to do. In the end, it's just really good seeing all the hard work I put in during pre-season pay off.
bundesliga.com: You're most probably enjoying today's success very much...
Szalai: I am, but goalscoring opportunities come and go. I don't know how many more will come in my life and how many I've already had.
bundesliga.com: Mainz have now collected ten points from their last four matches...
Szalai: I don't believe this is about us being in form, you have to prove yourself every weekend. Personally, I have no idea where my limits are, but today I benefitted from three outstanding assists.
bundesliga.com: By the way, what's the inspiration behind your goal celebrations?
Szalai:The South Korean rapper Psy has a very catchy song which is always in my head and the moves come from that song.
Interview by Tobias Schächter