Wolfsburg – After securing the services of Kevin De Bruyne for a princely sum from Chelsea FC a few days before the close of the winter transfer window, VfL Wolfsburg quickly earmarked the Belgian international for a pivotal role.
At home in the middle
Which role exactly remains to be seen, but half way through Saturday's 2-1 turnaround victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, coach Dieter Hecking switched him from the left wing into the middle – and to great effect.
De Bruyne brought more fluidity to VfL's general attacking game and stylishly laid on Ivica Olic's 69th-minute equaliser, paving the way for the win eventually secured by Naldo's spectacular last-gasp strike. After the match, the “very self-critical” De Bruyne acknowledged he feels most comfortable in the central playmaker's berth and delivered more encouraging news for Wolfsburg fans in view of the race for UEFA Champions League places...
Question: Kevin De Bruyne, were you satisfied with the team's performance?
Kevin de Bruyne: Overall, yes. We won the game, but we're still not consistent enough over 90 minutes – and we had to come from behind again. On the other hand, that shows we have good character.
Question: You set up Ivica Olic for the equaliser. Did you see him heading for the near post, or was that a training ground move?
De Bruyne: No, sometimes things are moving so quickly you don't have time to even look up and in a situation like that, you just hope a team-mate's going to be there. Near-post crosses into the space between the defender and the keeper are usually dangerous anyway. And 'Ivi''s obviously got a bit of a nose for where the ball might be going. He did a great job there.
Question: You played out on the left in the first half, then switched into the middle after the break. Which position do you prefer?
De Bruyne: I prefer playing in the centre – I've got more options there - but I'll obviously play wherever the coach puts me and try to give everything for the team whatever position I'm in. It's nothing new for me. I often played out wide at my previous clubs.
Question: Were you satisfied with your own performance?
De Bruyne:It was better than last week, but it still wasn't good. I'm very self-critical, maybe even my own biggest critic, so I'm never really totally satisfied. I think I can do a lot better, and that's what I'm working on.
Question:Maximilian Arnold occupied the central midfield role in the first half. How do you find playing together with him?
De Bruyne: We're still getting used to each other's game, but it's already working really well at times and I'm sure it's going to get a lot better. 'Maxi''s a great footballer.
Question: With Leverkusen only managing a draw against Braunschweig, Wolfsburg are now just a point away from fourth place. Are the team gunning for the Champions League now?
De Bruyne: We're giving it a go. The fact is, we want to get into Europe. If it's the Champions League then all the better, but we're going to need a bit of luck for that as well, preferably starting next week at Dortmund. That's going to be a very difficult game.
Jürgen Blöhs reporting from Wolfsburg
Hit play to watch Naldo's stunning last-minute strike that won Wolfsburg the game on the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: