Mönchengladbach – After having to make do with a 1-1 draw at Borussia Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga on Sunday, defending champions Borussia Dortmund are already turning their attentions to Wednesday's DFB Cup cracker against FC Bayern Munich.
A considerable improvement is going to be required if the cup holders hold any hopes of reaching the semi-finals, but Ilkay Gündogan is confident about his side’s chances in what he expects to be an even encounter.
Question: Ilkay Gündogan, what was lacking against Mönchengladbach?
Ilkay Gündogan: Even though we played without a real centre-forward, we did far too little with our chances. We wanted to turn it up a gear after the break but we failed to do so and then we were punished with the equaliser. These things happen, though, and ultimately we’ve got to live with the point.
Question: Was it difficult to keep Wednesday’s DFB Cup game out of your mind?
Gündogan: No, not at all. We had an important Bundesliga fixture against strong opponents who wanted to push their way up the league table today, so Wednesday’s game wasn't even in the back of our minds. We wanted to cement our position, but we didn’t really manage to do so. We still have enough games which we can win so we aren’t going to let our heads drop. Now we’re looking forward to the cup and, of course, we want to win it.
Question: How important will it be to have Robert Lewandowski back for that game?
Gündogan: Robert is undoubtedly an important part of our team and we’re glad to have such a great striker who also has defensive qualities. I’m sure he'll improve our game on Wednesday.
Question: How do you approach such a tough match?
Gündogan: The quarter-final against Bayern is a great challenge for us and we’re really looking forward to it. Of course we want to get into the next round, but Bayern aren't exactly the easiest of opponents.
Question: How much respect do you have for Bayern after their 6-1 win against Bremen?
Gündogan: We always have respect because we know Bayern have enormous quality year in, year out. We've had our noses in front of them for the past two years, but now things have changed. They deserve to be where they are at the top. They have a great team, but I think they'll have just as much respect for us as we have for them. I think it’s going to be an even game.
Question: The gap between yourselves and Bayern in the Bundesliga is huge. Is the cup the only chance you’ve got of besting them this season?
Gündogan: We're not even thinking about how far behind we are in the Bundesliga at the moment. We know how great the cup is and that it’s really worth reaching the final, winning it and getting your hands on the trophy. We know that feeling and we’ll be doing all we can to be experience it all over again as soon as possible.
Question: Bayern still have a few scores to settle with Dortmund...
Gündogan: They haven’t won any of their last five competitive matches against us. Of course they’re going to be extremely motivated because they want to show that they can beat us. That’s not going to be easy, though.
Question: A number of your national team colleagues will come up against one another. Does this make it an even more intriguing battle?
Gündogan: It’s particularly good for German football and the fans. It’s great when two top teams meet with so many national team players on show.
Markus Hoffmann reporting from Mönchengladbach