Dortmund - Having struck a personal best of 11 goals and set up another nine in the Bundesliga this season, Polish national team captain Jakub Blaszczykowski has been playing an integral part in Borussia Dortmund's impressive campaign.
The Yellow-Blacks all but secured second place with Saturday's 1-1 draw against FC Bayern Munich, a pulsating prequel to the UEFA Champions League final.
Speaking to bundesliga.com after the game, the 27-year-old expressed his frustration at being held to a draw but looked ahead to the London final with confidence...
bundesliga.com: Jakub Blaszczykowski, how do you feel about the draw against Bayern?
Jakub Blaszczykowski: It's a bit of a shame we only managed a draw as we played rather well. We had a number of chances to wrap up the game, but unfortunately we missed them and even failed to convert from the penalty spot. Maybe we could have done better in the final 25 minutes of the game, when we were one man up.
bundesliga.com: In your opinion, did the encounter live up to all the pre-match hype?
Blaszczykowski: Both sides played really well, it was a quality game. There was action at both ends, tension - all in all a really good match between Germany's two best sides.
bundesliga.com: The fixture also served as a prequel to the Champions League final at Wembley in three weeks' time. What did you learn from the game?
Blaszczykowski: Both sides made quite a few changes in order to rest some players and help others to recover from minor injuries. The starting line-ups will certainly not be the same on 25 May and the final will therefore be a slightly different match. However, I'm sure in London we'll be seeing another very interesting and intense game of football.
bundesliga.com: Do you expect the final to be a similarly fiery contest?
Blaszczykowski: I hope it's going to be intense, but not too fiery. Football should take centre stage. Of course it's always going to be emotional when these two clubs meet, but things should stay within the boundaries.
bundesliga.com: Emotions seemed to boil over when Rafinha was sent off for a second bookable offence - and you were in the thick of it...
Blaszczykowski: It was a clear foul on me and the referee decided accordingly. I was quite amazed by the discussions that followed, but I prefer not to comment on it as I consider it finished. It was important to keep cool on the pitch and not rise to the provocation. It wasn't at all easy, but fortunately we managed it.
bundesliga.com: Did you already have the Champions League final in mind during the game?
Blaszczykowski: I was fully focused on this Bundesliga encounter, so there was no space for such thoughts. I didn't think about what I would be doing in three weeks or what would be happening that day. There's still a way to go until the final. This game was important for us as we wanted to do everything we could to secure second place in the table. We're now six points ahead of Leverkusen. It's our goal to reach second place this season, so we should be very proud to have achieved it.
Interview: Dietmar Nolte