Dortmund - Matchday 10 was a weekend of frustration for league and Cup champions Borussia Dortmund. The Black and Yellows were unable to build on their impressive DFB Cup win at VfR Aalen and had to settle for a disappointing 0-0 home draw with VfB Stuttgart, thereby conceding further ground to FC Bayern Munich in the title race.
Dortmund midfielder had the most touches of the ball and won more tackles than any other player, yet the individual praise he received was scant consolation for a draw that "felt like a defeat" for BVB. Instead, the 22-year-old Germany international was quick to put the result behind him and focus his attention on much bigger priorities, like the upcoming clash with Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.
Question: Ilkay Gündogan, how big is the disappointment among the players after the goalless draw at home to VfB Stuttgart?
Ilkay Gündogan: It was a really competitive game, but we knew that Stuttgart had a good team going into the match. In the first half we could have defended one or two of their counterattacks better, but after half-time we dominated the game and created a lot of chances. It’s obviously very disappointing that we didn’t take any of them, because this felt like a game we had to win.
Question: Was the failure to make your chances count Dortmund’s problem in this match?
Gündogan: We were a bit hasty and one of two of our passes in the final third weren't quite good enough. We could and should have done better in those situations to turn our dominance into goals.
Question: Is this game and result a setback for the club as it prepares for that difficult trip to Madrid?
Gündogan: Absolutely not. Real Madrid and the Champions League - that will be a completely different challenge for us. Two weeks ago we lost to Schalke but then managed to beat Madrid four days later. This Stuttgart game feels like a defeat, but wasn’t. We’re going into the Champions League game having taken a point.
Question: What do you expect of Real Madrid, especially after you won the first game against them?
Gündogan: They will do everything they can to beat us. But there are always two teams on the pitch. It will depend on us, how we cope with the challenge and how we perform on the night.
Question: Is it an advantage to you that Madrid have to chase the game, whereas you can afford to play slightly more reservedly?
Gündogan: We’ve shown a lot in the past that we can control games when we need to and I don’t think people should make too much of the Stuttgart match. Of course, we could have done a few things better, but that’s no reason to doubt the team’s ability.
Question: So you are confident going into this game, despite being held by Stuttgart?
Gündogan: We don’t have to panic about facing Madrid and I think there’s something to be taken from that game for us. The coaches will have us well-drilled on how we'll line up against them and I’m sure we’ll put in a good performance there. We're hoping to get something from the game, no question. But there’s no reason for us not to go there in a confident frame of mind.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from Dortmund