Mönchengladbach - It was an emotional occasion for Marc-Andre ter Stegen as the Borussia Mönchengladbach goalkeeper helped his side secure their place in Europe next season with a flawless performance on his last home appearance for the Foals.
The 22-year-old will be leaving his childhood club in the summer after spending 18 years with the Rhineland club. "It was a perfect day all round," said the three-time Germany international after a moving farewell from the Foals' fans, while also looking back at some of the defining moments of his Gladbach career.
Question: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, congratulations on this 3-1 win over Mainz. How was your last game at the Borussia Park?
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: It was a very emotional game for me. The support from the fans was sensational.
Question: And you were at your very best again...
ter Stegen: It was a perfect day all round. What mattered was winning because we have another important game to come next week. We can still gain a lot from that game. I made some important saves when it was 1-0, and then we made it 2-0, which gave us some breathing room.
Question: During the game, were you able to keep it out of your mind that it was your last home game for Mönchengladbach?
ter Stegen: Yes, I could during the game. As soon as the final whistle was blown, though, it was difficult. I think I managed quite well. It wasn't an easy game because Mainz put us under a lot of pressure, playing a strange system which we really couldn't get to grips with to start with. It was a very difficult game.
Question: Borussia now have a final for fifth place in Wolfsburg next weekend. It's bound to be a nice, but also a hard week for you. What do you expect from that game?
ter Stegen: It's definitely going to be a nice week and I hope that, next Saturday, we'll get the same result as today. A win would be fantastic for us. We can still climb up the table and that would be a fine way to round the season off.
Question: Borussia have to win to overtake the Wolves - is that perhaps a better position to be in than knowing a draw would be enough?
ter Stegen: It does make a difference because we've got to win, but Wolfsburg are favourites. They won again today and so it's not such a bad thing that we've got to go there needing to beat them. The good thing after this win over Mainz is that they can no longer catch us up, so we can really give it a go against Wolfsburg.
Question: The last game of the season will be your last for this club. After 18 years here, your time at Borussia will then be over. What are your defining memories of this time?
ter Stegen: There are lots of them. I started playing football with Gladbach and experienced everything here, even some tough moments. I always gave my best for Borussia. The most important event for me and the club was certainly beating Bochum in the relegation play-off. That sparked a lot of euphoria and took us to the other end of the table in the following season. It was also nice working my way through the youth teams. I got a good education at Borussia and will always be Gladbach through and through. Nevertheless, I'm now looking forward to the future. First, though, let's get the three points against Wolfsburg.
Question: What will you miss?
ter Stegen: The stadium, the fans, the club, many people within the club and, of course, my friends.
Question: Are you going to reveal where your future will be after the season ends, or will the club do that?
ter Stegen: You'll just have to wait and see. I could say it whenever I like, but I've always said that I want to focus on Borussia. It was important for me to ensure Borussia qualify for Europe next season, and we've done that now. But we've still got a very important game to come and I'm not going to steal the limelight for myself. We'll do that once the season's over.
Interview: Tobias Gonscherowski
Recap ter Stegen's emotional farewell in this video, courtesy of the Bundesliga's official YouTube channel.