Leverkusen - Bayer 04 Leverkusen are just two points behind second-placed FC Schalke 04 after Saturday's 2-0 victory against their westerly rivals, the latest convincing display of an already promising season for Sami Hyypiä's men.
Central to their good form this term has been the oustanding play of attacking duo Stefan Kießling and Andre Schürrle. The two of them once again shone against the Royal Blues, each bagging a goal as die Werkself continued their unbeaten home run of nine matches. After the game, an understandably happy Schürrle shared with the assemble media his thoughts on a well-deserved success.
Question: Andre Schürrle, was that one of Leverkusen's best performances of the season so far?
Andre Schürrle: Definitely. We did really well. We let Schalke onto us a bit, but managed to win the ball in midfield and countered quickly, making the most of our chances. If you look at the second half, I think it was a fully deserved win.
Question: It was clear from the start that Bayer were up for this game...
Schürrle: Yes, exactly. We were really motivated and wanted to show the fans that the defeat in Wolfsburg was just a one-off and that we're still up there. We were outstanding in all areas against Schalke and that's how we need to continue.
Question: Your opening goal was quite a strike. How much of a relief was it to see the ball go in?
Schürrle: It wasn't just a relief for me, it was for whole team. It was our reward for a good first half.
Question: Were you expecting your shot to fly in as it did?
Schürrle: I connected well and was obviously pleased it went in, but more so that we got our reward for a good first half. Watching the flight of the ball, I thought it might go in and it was obviously nice when it did.
Question: The team passed the ball around very assuredly today...
Schürrle: Yes that's right, and we did similarly in our previous games. With the system we play, the players stick to their positions, which allows us to pass the ball almost blindly. As long as everyone remains disciplined, covers his space, there will always be solutions.
Question: How do you assess your combination play with Gonzalo Castro on the left?
Schürrle: We're all playing really well together and have all been starting games recently. "Gonzo" and I have a very good understanding on the wing.
Question: Castro and Stefan Kießling did well in the build-up to your goal, creating space so that you could go forward...
Schürrle: Exactly. I've often mentioned to the squad that I need teammates to keep the opposing players busy when I dribble the ball so that I don't have to take on two or three players. We've been improving that lately. The player in possession then has several options and can also play the ball deep.
Question: Were there things that the team could have done better?
Schürrle: We were a bit sloppy in converting our chances., but it's not always easy to remain cool in front of goal when you put so much into a game.
Tobias Gonscherowski reporting from Leverkusen