Dortmund - Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Max Kruse was all smiles as he answered reporters' questions after his side's surprise 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
The game marked Gladbach's first win of 2014 and Kruse's first goal after 872 minutes, and helped both club and player out of a rut, as the 25-year-old discussed at the final whistle.
Question:Max Kruse, has a huge weight been lifted off your shoulders after you finally hit the back of the net again?
Max Kruse: I wouldn't quite say huge, but it certainly was a relief. It was the first time I've been involved in a goal in 2014, and I'm delighted to score just before my birthday on Wednesday. But on the whole, it was important for the team to get three points again. At last we won again! We worked hard to do what we'd been lacking in recent weeks and we did a great job holding out for 75 minutes. We deserved to win.
Question: Gladbach were heavily involved from the beginning, even ending the first half with more possession. Where did that self-confidence come from after so many games without a win?
Kruse: It's the result of our work in training and from our recent games. I can safely say we never played badly, we just lacked incision. The coach reminded us during the week that we can't let the pressure from outside get to us. What was important was that we played our football and enjoyed ourselves, and you could see that in this game, particularly in the first half.
Question: Speaking of enjoyment, explain how you danced your way past Roman Weidenfeller and Lukasz Piszczek...
Kruse: I took the ball on my left foot from Juan [Arango] and I wanted to touch it inside, but then I saw that Roman and the defender had anticipated that move a little so I decided to throw a dummy and then I didn't look back.
Question: After you scored, you made a gesture as if you were wiping all the misfortune off your shirt...
Kruse:(Smiles) My shirt was dirty... No, seriously, of course in a moment like that you feel a weight lifted when you've not scored for nine games. It was important for me to be able to help the team, and it just makes it even nicer to celebrate a personal achievement too.
Question: At the end it you had your backs to the wall with only ten men...
Kruse: My nerves were certainly jangling for those last 15 minutes when we virtually didn't touch the ball. We were very deep and probably let them push too far up the field. That meant every pass and every cross was a threat and that's something we've got to work on. I also think that we played too many long balls in the second half, which has been another problem in recent weeks.
Question: What did you think when it seemed Dortmund had scored a second?
Kruse: Initlaly I thought the referee wasn't going to rule it out. It looked like he was going to return to the halfway line, but then he reconsidered after seeing Marc-Andre [ter Stegen] on the ground, and that was such a relief.
Question: You had to watch the final few minutes from the bench after being substituted. How difficult was it to watch?
Kruse: For the first five minutes after I'd come off I took a seat at the back, but then I couldn't keep myself seated for the last ten. The four minutes of stoppage time felt like an entire half.
Question: Are you pleased that you don't have to hear the word 'crisis' for a while after this win?
Kruse: It was about time all that stopped. Today was a really great day for us. To win in Dortmund - after nine games without victory - that's a good sign and we can enjoy the rest of the weekend after this. But then we've got to move on. We'd be well-advised not to start talking about Europe, but just to think from game to game. From Monday, all we'll be thinking about is Hertha Berlin.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from Dortmund