Dortmund - Saturday was a good day for Borussia Dortmund. They edged closer to FC Bayern Munich at the Bundesliga summit with a convincing 3-1 win against struggling Greuther Fürth, but they also welcomed back a player that has been one of the cornerstones of their recent success: Jakub Blaszczykowski. And what's more, Poland's captain looked like he'd never been away, turning in a dazzling display that included two assists.
'Kuba', as he is affectionately known, had previously been unavailable for the reigning champions having spent six weeks on the treatment table with an ankle injury. Yet there was absolutely no sign of any rustiness, as bundesliga.com discovered after the game.
bundesliga.com: Jakub Blaszczykowski, were you surprised by your inclusion in the starting line-up after spending six weeks out?
Jakub Blaszczykowski: I told the coach [Jürgen Klopp] that I was ready to come back, and then before the game we talked about the fact that I would play. I’m obviously delighted that to be back on the pitch and able to help the team. I worked hard getting back to fitness and the joy at being involved again is even greater as a result.
bundesliga.com: Are there any after-effects following your injury?
Blaszczykowski: It wasn’t a minor injury that I suffered. I can still sense the ankle isn’t fully healed and every now and again there’s a little bit of pain. I’ll need a little more time before I'm completely pain-free, but it was just a great feeling to be able to train with the ball again. In the match the injury didn’t give me any problems, and I played almost the whole 90 minutes.
bundesliga.com: A goal for yourself would have made it the perfect comeback...
Blaszczykowski: I had two very good chances, but unfortunately they didn’t come off, but that’s not a problem. I think we put in a good performance and won deservedly. The one thing that really mattered was that we took all three points. Now we can look further forward in the Bundesliga and travel to Amsterdam for our Champions League match full of confidence.
bundesliga.com: Your compatriot Robert Lewandowski scored Dortmund's second from the spot kick. Isn't it normally your job to take penalties?
Blaszczykowski: I normally would have taken it, but it's better not to when you were fouled yourself. That's one of football's rules. I'm next in the line though!
bundesliga.com: Dortmund have now reduced the gap behind table-toppers Bayern who only drew at Nuremberg...
Blaszczykowski: We only concentrate on ourselves. It doesn't help looking much at other teams. No doubt, Bayern are very strong, but there 34 games to be played in a season.
bundesliga.com: Do you feel fit enough to play on Wednesday in the Champions League as well?
Blaszczykowski: We haven't spoken about that yet. The coach certainly has ideas about who he wants to play. I'm feeling good and trust myself to play in Amsterdam, but I'm not sure for how long.
bundesliga.com: What do you expect from Ajax?
Blaszczykowski: We've already played Manchester City and Real Madrid, but this will be our most important match in the group stages. We have a great opportunity to qualify for the last 16 with a draw. It's very important for the team and the club to return to Dortmund with at least that one point.
bundesliga.com: How strong a team are Ajax in your opinion?
Blaszczykowski: Ajax proved when we played them in Dortmund that they're really strong. They made life very difficult for us and we only managed a narrow win. It will be a very hard test for us on Wednesday, no question.
Compiled by Dietmar Nolte