Wilhelmshaven - One of the biggest positives to emerge from Borussia Dortmund's hard-earned in the first round of the DFB Cup was the fresh confirmation that Nuri Sahin is getting back to the dominant level of form he was displaying before his departure to Real Madrid CF in 2011.
Returning from the Spanish capital, by way of Liverpool FC, on a long-term loan at the start of the year, the Ruhr district-raised Turkish international initially struggled to reestablish himself. Now, however, can't wait to get stuck into the season ahead - although, as he acknowledged in an interview with bundesliga.com after Saturday's game on the north coast, the Yellow-Blacks still need to fine-tune a few elements of their game.
bundesliga.com: Nuri Sahin, Borussia Dortmund eventually prevailed 3-0 in a game of patience. What's your take on how it played out against Wilhelmshaven?
Nuri Sahin: We actually made a pretty good start, but didn't manage to score early on. Obviously, that gives the opposition a boost and helps their own performance. Until we went in front, it was hard work and Wilhelmshaven only needed to make the most of one chance to have us in trouble. But after we scored it was fairly straightforward.
bundesliga.com: When the opposition's keeper seems to get stronger with every save, do you start to despair a bit?
Sahin: I wouldn't say that. In the DFB Cup you can more or less take it for granted that their keeper's going to be in great form on the day. We just needed to be patient, and we were.
bundesliga.com: So all-in-all, was that the perfect warm-up for the start of the Bundesliga next weekend?
Sahin: We've got a few days to go till it kicks off, but from here on we're settling into the normal Bundesliga rhythm. The win at Wilhelmshaven was a successful start, which is all that matters.
bundesliga.com: And were you satisfied with your own performance?
Sahin: It was okay, we moved the ball around pretty well. We could have maybe injected a bit more pace into the match, but then Wilhelmshaven were playing very deep. That doesn't make it any easier for us deeper-lying midfielders to pick out the gaps. But we managed to get plenty of service in behind their defence to our men in the pocket, so as far as that goes I was pleased enough with my own performance.
bundesliga.com: Are Dortmund as a whole already operating at 100 percent?
Sahin: We're heading very much in the . Now we've got a normal week's training in front of us, which will certainly involve a lot of tactical work. And then we'll hopefully be ready for the first league game at Augsburg.
bundesliga.com: And what are you most looking forward to in the season ahead?
Sahin: I'm looking forward to everything, to every competition. We hit a good run of form at the end of last season, but we need to become even more effective - conceding fewer goals and in the best case scenario, scoring more as well.
Interview: Michael Reis