Mönchengladbach - All-told, it was a busy summer at the Borussia Park. Borussia Mönchengladbach's summer recruitment drive led to the capture of five new players: Andre Hahn, Fabian Johnson, Ibrahima Traore, Yann Sommer and Thorgan Hazard.
Amidst the influx of wide players, Hazard has particularly caught the eye, despite coach Lucien Favre so far opting to restrict the 21-year-old to brief cameos from the bench. A stunning late brace in the UEFA Europa League in his second home game was a fine way for the loanee from Premier League side Chelsea FC to introduce himself to his new fans, and despite the Foals' sluggish start to the Bundesliga campaign, Hazard remains in a positive mood ahead of the visit of FC Schalke 04 on Matchday 3, as he explained to borussia.de.
Question:Thorgan, last week you were called up to the senior Belgian side, although you didn’t see play. Were you pleased to be there regardless?
Hazard: Of course. Obviously, I would have loved to have won my second cap, but we’ve got a really good squad with so many strong players, so it’s not that easy to get into the team. Having said that, though, even just training helps me to become a better player. I’m still young with a lot to learn and call-ups like that are a really good experience for me.
Question: You’ve been with Borussia for a few weeks now and have already got a few games under your belt. What sort of differences have you noticed between the Belgian league and the Bundesliga?
Hazard: There are certainly some obvious differences between the leagues. In my view, the Bundesliga, along with the Premier League, is the strongest league in the world. The tempo is higher, tactics play a much bigger role and you’ve got to be physically stronger.
Question: You’ve been brought on as a substitute in every match so far this season. What do you see as your role in the team, and how do you judge your chances of being in the starting line-up soon?
Hazard: All I’m trying to do is give my all every game in order to pay back the coach’s trust and help the team to pick up good results, and on that front, it’s so far, so good. Obviously, I want to be starting games as quickly as possible, and for that reason I’m putting in 100 per cent in training. It’s then up to the coach.
Question: In the UEFA Europa League play-off second leg against FK Sarajevo you scored your first two goals for the Foals: one from a free-kick and one from the penalty spot. Would you say set-piece situations are one of your strengths?
Hazard: I think so, yes. I just really like taking free-kicks and penalties and I’ve worked a lot on them over the last few years. When I was at SV Zulte-Waregem, I was chosen to be the taker. If the opportunity arises, I’ll definitely step up again with Borussia, even though we’ve got plenty of good set-piece takers in the squad.
Question: At the weekend on Matchday 3, you’ve got a huge game at the Borussia Park when FC Schalke 04 visit. How do you see this one going?
Hazard: It’s going to be a great game - we’ve been targeting this one all week. It won’t be easy though, Schalke have got a strong team. This fixture is absolutely huge for us. The two draws at the start of the season weren’t necessarily bad results, because the match away to SC Freiburg was particularly tough. Now though, we really want to pick up the first Bundesliga win of the campaign.
Question: For the first time this season, the Borussia Park will be sold out. What do you think about the support of the fans?
Hazard: There’s a brilliant atmosphere at the Borussia Park. There are always so many fans there to get behind us. In that Europa League win over Sarajevo, we put in a great performance and the fans got to witness a real show. In the Bundesliga, we haven’t yet picked up a victory unfortunately, but that’s what we really have to do on Saturday evening.