Gelsenkirchen - Following an inconsistent first half of the 2013/14 season, FC Schalke 04 appear to have finally found their feet. The Gelsenkirchen club's victory over Hannover - their third successive win since the turn of the year - proves that Jens Keller's team are starting to get back into their groove, according to midfield star Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Following the match at the Veltins-Arena, the Ghanaian international analysed Schalke's current form, two of the club's brightest talents, and the Royal Blues' UEFA Champions League prospects.
Question: Kevin-Prince Boateng, Schalke have now won three consecutive matches at the start of the Rückrunde - would you say you're currently enjoying your best spell since your arrival at the club?
Kevin-Prince Boateng: We can be really pleased with ourselves. We thoroughly deserved to win these three games. Now all the hard work we put in at our winter training camp is paying off. We've grown a lot closer as a team, which you can see from our football on the pitch. We also help each other when things aren't going so well, and that ultimately wins you matches.
Question: So your work during the training camp has laid the foundation for this run of victories?
Boateng: We talked about a lot of things during the winter break, not all of them to do with football - we also spoke about other internal matters. We resolved everything and have become more of a team since the turn of the year. You can see that on the pitch.
Question:: Schalke played with gusto and a great team spirit against Hannover. Was that something you also worked on during the winter break?
Boateng: I think several factors come into play here. After two successive wins, things are obviously a lot easier. Our concentration levels are higher and you also start enjoying your football again, which you saw against Hannover. I have to pay huge compliments to my team-mates - we put in a convincing display, particularly in the first half. The win was thoroughly deserved.
Question: What would you say is the main factor behind Schalke's current run?
Kevin-Prince Boateng: It's just a lot of fun! The lads are all enjoying their football. Everybody wants the ball, everyone fights for the ball. That's what the fans want to see. We feel that we can beat any team at the moment.
Question: Schalke's youngsters were also very impressive against Hannover. Kaan Ayhan was on the field for just under an hour - what did you make of his performance?
Boateng: Kaan has been giving his all at the training camp and in recent training sessions. He really deserved his chance. He fulfilled his role quite brilliantly from the moment he came on. He was focused, disciplined, and played some good passes. Playing long balls from a standing position is one of his strengths. We know his qualities and I hope, for his sake as well as the club's, that he continues to develop.
Question: Another youngster - Sead Kolasinac - was outstanding in setting up the opening goal. Did you know he had those attacking qualities in his locker?
Boateng: Of course! He's shown in the last couple of games that he's very strong going forward. On this occasion he did brilliantly down the left to fight his way through and play such a perfect pass into the centre. The fact that he has the confidence to go forward like that shows how great his self-belief is, but the whole team is growing in confidence with each victory and each good performance.
Question: Schalke will need confidence in abundance when you play Bayer Leverkusen next weekend. What are your expectations ahead of that top-of-the-table encounter?
Boateng: We still want to win every game, and we want to show that again in Leverkusen. We can rest for a couple of days, but then the preparation begins. We have to remain focused and work hard in training this week. It's going to be a very difficult match at Leverkusen. We'll have to be just as disciplined as we have been in recent games.
Question: Do you have any doubts that Schalke will qualify for the Champions League?
Boateng: We have to take things one game at a time. If we keep playing like we are, I have no doubts at all [that we will qualify]. If you win games, you're in the mix at the very top - it's as simple as that, but we have to put up a fight each weekend, not only with the opposition, but also with ourselves to ensure we maintain our current level of performance.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from Gelsenkirchen