Leverkusen - Bayer 04 Leverkusen had a mere three days to prepare for their Matchday 14 clash with 1. FC Nürnberg after the humbling 5-0 home loss to Manchester United FC in the UEFA Champions League. Against the toothless Franconians however, die Werkself bounced back to winning ways in impressive style with a 3-0 success.
South Korean forward Heung Min Son was the matchwinner with two goals, stealing the show yet again, just as he had done in the 5-3 win against Hamburger SV on Matchday 12. After the final whistle the 21-year-old reflected on his impressive form and looked ahead to his side's DFB Cup clash away to SC Freiburg.
Question: Heung Min Son, you’ve scored five goals in the last two Bundesliga home games. It’s obviously going quite well for you at the moment, wouldn’t you say?
Heung Min Son: Yes, it’s great to have scored five times in the last two games at the BayArena. I’m delighted because the team came away with three points.
Question: How near are you at the moment to your best form - the sort of form you were showing in a Hamburg shirt last season?
Son: Well, I still need some time in order to totally fit into the team. The last two home games have been really, really positive, though.
Question: More pertinently, how important was this reaction after the 5-0 defeat to Manchester United in midweek?
Son: It was very important because we suffered such a heavy loss on Wednesday night. That was only one game in a whole season, though, and we said to ourselves that we had to come back and show what we’re capable of against Nürnberg. That worked well today, and because of that we picked up the three points.
Question: How difficult was it today to get your heads back in the right place after Wednesday?
Son: It took a bit of time and we started off nervously, as you could see. We didn't have the same levels of self-confidence we usually do, but the first goal to take the lead was crucial. After the break we really hit our straps and I’m very happy.
Question: After your goal you formed a little heart with your fingers. Who was the greeting aimed at?
Son: It was for my mother and my aunt, Kil Song Mi, who was at a Bundesliga home game for the first time. In fact, it was the first time she’s ever seen me play. I wanted to surprise her with a little present.
Question: Leverkusen have only lost four of 21 competitive games this season. The side has always reacted well and picked up a win in the next game, including against Nürnberg. Is that a sign of the team’s mental strength?
Son: You could certainly say that. We’ve got a good squad here and we know how to cope with a loss. It’s very important to be able to do that - there's still a long way to go this season. You can always lose the odd game, but we’ve shown that we can summon a performance next time out.
Question: On Wednesday it’s the DFB Cup. How are the team viewing the trip to the Black Forest to face SC Freiburg?
Son: For us, every game is important, and particularly the cup, because each tie is like a final. We need to show what we’re capable again of since it’s a tough competition and Freiburg are a strong Bundesliga outfit. We know we’re going to have to be at the top of our game.
Question: You still haven’t scored away from home for Leverkusen, but Freiburg presents another opportunity...
Son: Well, obviously that would be great. I always try and score away from home but unfortunately it hasn’t quite worked out for me yet. To be honest though, there’s not a huge difference whether I score at home or away. A goal is always special.
Tobias Gonscherowski reporting from the BayArena