Hamburg - No stranger to a battle for survival at the foot of the Bundesliga standings, Pierre-Michel Lasogga outlined exactly what Hamburger SV had to do before the game against Borussia Dortmund. “We’ve got to show what it means to be involved in a relegation battle. We’ve got to fight and leave it all on the pitch,” said HSV’s top goalscorer on Thursday.
Two days later and both he and his team-mates took those words to heart as they clinched a 3-0 win on home soil against the five-time top-flight champions to put an end to a run of seven-straight defeats. Lasogga played a pivotal role in the result, providing a hard-working fulcrum in the lone-striker role which allowed the Red Shorts' attacking midfielders to feed of the striker's physical presence.
After bagging HSV’s second of the afternoon, on what turned out to be a dream debut for new head coach Mirko Slomka, Lasogga now has 11 goals to his name and is likely to prove decisive in the Bundesliga Dinos’ ability to maintain their status as the league’s only ever-presents. Speaking to the press after the game, the 22-year-old discussed his “perfect day”, the influence of Slomka’s arrival and a crucial clean sheet for Hamburg’s backline.
Question: Pierre-Michel Lasogga, congratulations: with a goal and assist to your name today was perfect day for you. You’ve got to be pleased.
Pierre-Michel Lasogga: Definitely. It was a very good performance, but that goes not just for me, but for the whole team. Rafa [van der Vaart] is always telling me that I should be providing an assist every now and again. Because he wasn’t there I had to set-up Petr Jiracek instead, but I doubt Rafa would have a problem with that.
Question: Hand on heart. Were you confident of picking up three points today?
Lasogga: We’ve put a bad spell behind us now, but, even if this sounds a little strange, Dortmund came at the perfect time for us. We were still well aware that we’re capable of playing football. The change in head coach gave us all a new-found sense of motivation. Several players wanted to prove what they were capable of and we saw that in full effect against Dortmund.
Question: First there was a moment of reflection in light of Hermann Rieger’s passing and then unconditional support throughout the match. The atmosphere inside the Imtech Arena was something special right?
Lasogga: It absolutely was. You could feel it during the pre-game warm-up that the whole stadium was united in the mourning of Hermann Rieger. The support for us was also enormous. That lifted us to new heights today.
Question: How big a part did Hamburg’s new head coach Mirko Slomka in today’s success?
Lasogga: We’re still in the getting-to-know-each-other phase with our new boss. The most important thing is that we were all fully focused on the task at hand and that we all stuck to exactly what he wanted from us.
Question: Which ultimately saw you keep a clean sheet again.
Lasogga: We’ve also had a few problems with our performances up front since the start of the second half of the season, but I believe that ultimately it will be our defensive work that will make the difference in our battle for survival. Against Dortmund we finally looked like a compact unit again. Theoretically that was worth another goal in and of itself.
Michael Reis reporting from Hamburg
Watch more of Hamburg's stunning display against Dortmund courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: