Munich - Two games, two defeats, 11 goals conceded – Benedikt Höwedes had probably imagined a different return from injury to the one the Schalke captain got.
After Saturday evening's 5-1 defeat at FC Bayern München, the 26-year-old spoke about a "week to forget", finding some stern words to sum up the past seven days.
Question:Benedikt Höwedes, after the 6-1 humiliation in the Champions League in the Champions League, you've now lost heavily in the Bundesliga against Bayern. How would you rate your team's performance?
Benedikt Höwedes: It was not worthy of discussion, particularly the way we played in the first half, which was extremely embarrassing. That ruined the whole game for us and there can be no excuses.
Question: Would you agree that the team didn't learn anything from the crushing Champions League defeat to Real Madrid?
Höwedes: We wanted to play more defensively and not start in the attacking manner we did against Real. Nevertheless, we were tactically like a schoolboy team. It was really poor. We didn't get into the tackles and also committed some shocking individual mistakes. It was another bitter lesson for us. At the same time, you'ver got to remember that Real and Bayern are not the teams we have to measure ourselves up to, even if that cannot explain the margin of these defeats.
Question: Was the tactical change to three defensive midfielders with Roman Neustädter, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Leon Goretzka also a reason for your inferiority?
Höwedes: It's got nothing at all to do with that. The players who were on the field just made a mess and we don't need to talk in hindsight about the coach getting anything wrong tactically.
Question: At 4-0 down going into the break, the game was alredy over. What was the gameplan for the remaining 45 minutes?
Höwedes: We wanted to be tighter, more aggressive in the tackles and stand up for ourselves more. Despite the disappointing result, we did pretty well in the second half. The penalty was frustrating once again, particularly since we'd cleared things up by then.
Question: You're referring to the red card for Kyriakos Papadopoulos. Kevin-Prince Boateng puts him into a risky situation with a reckless pass. Was that too careless of him?
Höwedes: I wouldn't criticise any individual players. You can't point the finger at any individual player today, it was a collective failure and we just played badly as a team.
Question: After the midweek game in the Champions League, this was now your comeback in the Bundesliga after an injury absence. How do you look back on this week personally?
Höwedes: It was clearly a week to forget. When you lose twice and concede 11 goals in the space of just four days, then of course it's frustrating. And for it to be my birthday today too just rounds everything off. Personal concerns just don't come into it.
Question: In your next game, you face 1899 Hoffenheim at home. What do you have to do now?
Höwedes: We've got to be ready. I hope we can put these two defeats behind us come next weekend and that we can show a different side of ourselves against Hoffenheim.
Question: With Papadopoulos suspended, you are without another central defender, which doesn't help, does it?
Höwedes: It hurts. Felipe Santana's going to be out for a while and we're gradually losing all of our central defenders. We're going to have to see now who plays in the centre of the back four against Hoffenheim.
Yannik Schmidt reporting from Munich
Check out some of the best goals to have been scored in matches between Bayern and Schalke over the years courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel: