Stuttgart - Christian Gentner was given just 45 minutes of DFB Cup action before VfB Stuttgart coach Bruno Labbadia brought him off with a view to Saturday's hotly-anticipated clash with reigning champions Borussia Dortmund.
By that time, Stuttgart were already well on their way to victory over second-tier side FC St. Pauli having taken a 3-0 first-half lead. Gentner's contribution was completed with an assist for Hungarian international Tamas Hajnal, who volleyed in the third shortly before the break.
After the game, bundesliga.com spoke to Gentner the about the monumental challenge which faces his side this coming weekend and his memories of last season’s incredible corresponding duel.
bundesliga.com: Christian Gentner, that was pretty comfortable. A 3-0 win over St. Pauli and a place in the last 16 of the DFB Cup - and you even got to save some energy for Dortmund...
Christian Gentner: We scored a quick goal and that played into our hands. I think St. Pauli’s heads dropped pretty soon after that.
bundesliga.com: Stuttgart were able to rest a few players in view of the upcoming task in Dortmund. You only played 45 minutes, was that a bonus?
Gentner: It was good not to have to go the whole distance tonight. We have had a lot of games in recent weeks and the players who were on the field today played really well. It was important for our coach to know that he has plenty of strength in depth.
bundesliga.com: Next up it's Dortmund in the Bundesliga. Last year it ended 4-4, an unforgettable spectacle. What are Stuttgart’s chances this time around?
Gentner: Dortmund are the two-time German champions and they are top of their incredibly tough group in the Champions League. What else should I say? One thing’s for sure - we would gladly do without it being so spectacular if we get the points. I would even take a 1-0 win thanks to an own goal.
bundesliga.com: What is the tactical plan to survive in Dortmund?
Gentner: Fight and resist. Dortmund are a bit stronger than we are technically, but if we put in maximum effort, then we can achieve a lot. We showed that last season and we want to do the same again on Saturday.
bundesliga.com: You scored your side’s fourth goal in the 4-4 draw last year. Is that a goal that you’ll never forget?
Gentner: It was definitely an experience. It was a Friday night game, the stadium was full and everybody was watching Dortmund. I was lucky to have the final say and you don’t forget a goal like that in a hurry.
bundesliga.com: Stuttgart have been in good form lately. Do you think Dortmund will therefore show you a bit more respect?
Gentner: I’m sure our opponents will have noticed that we're on form. However, Dortmund are still favourites. Then again, that could be our chance.
bundesliga.com: Your former team-mate Julian Schieber may line up for Dortmund. Have you been in touch with him?
Gentner: No, not yet. I do hope that he plays. It’s definitely a special game for him and we're all looking forward to seeing Julian again.
Interview by Jens Fischer