Mönchengladbach - After five home games without a win, Borussia Mönchengladbach were finally able to celebrate in front of their own support on Matchday 26, collecting a 3-0 win over Hertha Berlin at Borussia Park on Matchday 26.
It comes as no surprise that the Foals’ return to form - they now have two wins on the bounce - has coincided with German international Max Kruse ending his goalscoring drought. After finding the back of the net in the 2-1 victory at Borussia Dortmund last weekend, the 26-year-old added another goal to his tally before setting up Raffael, a prolific strike partnership that has now been directly involved in 65 per cent of Gladbach’s goals this season. Speaking after the game, Kruse discussed the performance against the side from the capital, the importance of midfielder Juan Arango to the team and the Foals’ European ambitions.
Question: Max Kruse, congratulations on the 3-0 win over Hertha Berlin. Can we also congratulate you for scoring the second goal, or did someone else get a touch?
Max Kruse: I don’t have eyes in the back of my head! I definitely touched the ball, but I don’t know if someone got a touch after that. At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t matter. We won 3-0 and that’s what counts. It was also nice to be able to set up a goal again.
Question: In the games leading up to the win over Dortmund, Gladbach seemed to struggle despite taking the lead. Tonight you never looked like losing your composure, though. What was the difference?
Kruse: We made much better use of our chances than we’ve done recently. Even after going 2-0 up we never got complacent. Instead we pushed forward and continued creating opportunities, which allowed us to get a third goal before half-time. It was important that we went in at the break with a three-goal lead, and we gave them hardly anything in the second half.
Question: What was it that Gladbach did particularly well tonight?
Kruse: We stayed very solid at the back, countered them well and were clinical in converting our chances. We’re also pleased to have kept a clean sheet again, and to have put in such a good performance. Now we can start concentrating on Wednesday [against Eintracht Frankfurt].
Question: During your dry spell in front of goal you always maintained that you believed in yourself. Do you feel vindicated now?
Kruse: I’ve played better in the last two games but I still have to keep working hard. We’ve still got eight difficult matches ahead of us; they're very important for me and the team. I’ll keep trying to produce the performances I know I’m capable of and build on how I've been playing of late.
Question: How important is Juan Arango to the team?
Kruse: Juan is an integral member of the squad, just like everyone else. He’s a part of this team and does what’s required of his role, sometimes with something spectacular like we saw here.
Question: Borussia have moved back up into fifth place in the table. What does that mean for the remainder of the season?
Kruse: It means nothing. We’ve got 42 points on the board and on Wednesday we have to do it again in Frankfurt. We’ll just have to see where we are at the end of the season.
Question: After several difficult weeks in which you struggled to pick up points, have these two wins given you a new sense of security?
Kruse: It’s amazing: we went nine games without a win but we’re still in the mix near the top of the league. That’s a good sign. We can continue working on our performances and consolidate in the coming weeks. I hope that we’re back on track now, but it’s important we don’t get ahead of ourselves.
Question: Despite that winless run there was never a sense of panic surrounding the club. What are your thoughts on that?
Kruse: We just kept saying to ourselves that we shouldn’t let any of it affect us. We just had to calmly go about our business. Ultimately we’ve shown in the second half of the season that we can play good football, even if we didn't always get the wins we deserved. But we knew there'd be a time when luck would be back on our side. That’s what happened in Dortmund. It’s a great feeling to have got another positive result.
Interview by Tobias Gonscherowski