Stuttgart - Borussia Dortmund warmed up for their UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg encounter with Real Madrid on Wednesday with a hard-fought 3-2 victory away to VfB Stuttgart on Saturday.
Speaking to bundesliga.com after the match, defensive stalwart Mats Hummels gave us his thoughts on the encounter and looked ahead to the forthcoming tie in the Spanish capital.
bundesliga.com: , Dortmund seemed to struggle early on against Stuttgart and quickly went two goals down. Why do you think that was?
Mats Hummels: I don’t think we were any worse than Stuttgart in the first 20 minutes but we just made too many mistakes. After that we controlled the game. They hardly had any chances after that and we could have scored more. At the end of the day I think we deserved to win.
bundesliga.com: Did Dortmund underestimate Stuttgart initially?
Hummels: No, I don’t think so. We know Stuttgart are going through a difficult period and we didn’t want to allow them to get their confidence back. After a difficult opening we showed we had the right attitude and our team spirit shone through.
bundesliga.com: Stuttgart’s Ibrahima Traore was particularly dangerous. Was Erik Durm left too exposed at full-back?
Hummels: I think he [Durm] played well. It’s tough against Traore, I wouldn’t like to go up against him one-on-one. But over the course of the game we managed to get a grip on that.
bundesliga.com: Dortmund have flattered to deceive in recent games preceding a Champions League match, losing on several occasions. Do you think that curse has now ended?
Hummels: I'm not sure if it was a curse. Unfortunately it’s not only been before to Champions League games that we’ve lost. Our game on Wednesday against Real Madrid didn’t matter to us today. We wanted three points and we managed to get them.
bundesliga.com: Your mind must have wandered a bit towards the Champions League surely?
Hummels: No, that wasn’t the case at all. There were 50,000 people in the stadium here and Stuttgart were playing well, so in that sense, there really wasn't any room to be thinking about our game on Wednesday.
bundesliga.com: How will Dortmund aim to play against Real Madrid?
Hummels: Like we did from the 25th minute onwards against VfB. We'll try to be solid at the back and try to score on the break.
bundesliga.com: Real Madrid have gone through a bad patch and lost a couple of games recently. Does that make you believe you can beat them?
Hummels: I watched their game against Barcelona and I don’t think you could call that bad. Real were by no means outplayed and they have a lot of world-class players, but they’re still beatable if you know where their weaknesses are.
bundesliga.com: Is there a secret formula for defending against Cristiano Ronaldo?
Hummels: There’s more to Real Madrid than just Ronaldo. They’ve got [Karim] Benzema, [Angel] di Maria and [Gareth] Bale too. That’s a lot more than just one player.
Jens Fischer reporting from Stuttgart
Dortmund's Marco Reus bagged a hat-trick and really made an impact on the match. Watch it below on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: