Mönchengladbach - A few eyebrows may have been raised at the conclusion of Matchday 17, when Borussia Mönchengladbach edged above Borussia Dortmund to spend the winter break in third, but for Foals' defender , it's a fitting reward for the team's efforts.
Speaking to bundesliga.com, the versatile 24-year-old defender analyses his side's barnstorming first half of the 2013/14 campaign.
bundesliga.com: Tony Jantschke, if anybody had told you before the season started that you would be spending the winter break in third, ahead of Borussia Dortmund, what would you have said?
Tony Jantschke: I'd have said: let's just wait and see!
bundesliga.com: You wouldn't have told them they were crazy?
Jantschke: No, I wouldn't. We know we're good and it's maybe a touch surprising that we're third, and maybe it would have been hard to imagine, but when you see the way we've been playing lately, it's no longer so surprising. I think we thoroughly deserve to be where we are. What's more important than the position, though, is the number of points we've got. We've earned our 33 points. We'd set ourselves the target of 25 and we've got eight more, so we can be proud of that.
bundesliga.com: And it could have been 35 points too, had you not thrown two of them away against VfL Wolfsburg…
Jantschke: That was pretty frustrating, particularly because we had chances to make it 3-1. But if you don't take your chances, then things can always get tight for you. Wolfsburg brought on a giant up front in and we lost our shape a little because they threw everything they could find at us. Of course we were a bit disappointed because we'd have loved to have won, but you've also got to be realistic and note that Wolfsburg had gone nine games without losing.
bundesliga.com: Nevertheless, the joy at such an excellent first half of the season must prevail over the disappointment. What was the mood in the dressing room after the final home game of the year?
Jantschke: It was still good. The coach had a few warm words for us. We all know that we played a great first half of the season. The Wolfsburg match didn't exactly end in a good way, but it was an exciting, fast-paced Bundesliga game that swung from one end to the other.
bundesliga.com: Would it not be a good idea to raise the season's objectives a little?
Jantschke: We shouldn't do that. The league table looks good right now, but it's only momentary. We want to remain near the top, but we have still to play. We hope to carry on improving so our Borussia-Park remains a fortress next year too. Hats off to the team, the whole club and the fans. It was a fantastic six months.
bundesliga.com: The start to the season was pretty average. It's only from Matchday 10 that things took off. Was there anything in particular which sparked that streak?
Jantschke: I think it was just our development. We had a few difficult away games at the start of the season and were still looking for the right balance. You can see how some things have now sunk in – we're more compact, conceding fewer chances and not getting caught out on the counterattack as frequently as at the start of the season.
bundesliga.com: What are your thoughts on the first game of the second half of the season, against FC Bayern München?
Jantschke: That's going to be a great game, and we've got nothing to lose. It seems like Bayern have won 100 games in a row. Everybody expects us to lose. It's the first game of the second half of the season and the whole world will be watching. What more can you want?
bundesliga.com: Do you hope to move back to your usual position again soon, or have you developed a taste for playing centre back?
Jantschke: I don't really mind where I play. Anybody who knows me knows that I'm a player who wants to defend his own goal. Whether that's on the right, left or in the centre, or even just in front of the defence – I'll do anything.