Berlin - Matchday 17's emphatic 5-0 success at Hertha Berlin marked very much a fitting ending to Ermin Bicakcic's first six months in TSG 1899 Hoffenheim colours.
The 24-year-old Bosnia-Herzegovina international has become a dependable presence at the heart of the Hoffenheim defence since arriving from Eintracht Braunschweig last summer, helping his new club finish 2014 in contention for a place in Europe.
Talking exclusively to bundesliga.com after victory at the Olympiastadion on Sunday, Bicakcic spoke about how easily he has adapted to life at Hoffenheim, the different challenges he faces compared to his Eintracht days and the Sinsheimers' prospects for the current campaign.
bundesliga.com: Ermin Bicakcic, a 5-0 win looks a rather one-sided scoreline, but was this an easy win for Hoffenheim?
Ermin Bicakcic: No game is easy and today was no different. We wanted to give it our all in our last game in 2014 and I think it was a good way to end our year. We were very calm before the game and we let our football do the talking.
bundesliga.com: Sejad Salihovic looked very much back to his best today, enjoying a dream return to the Hoffenheim starting XI.
Bicakcic: I'm really happy for Sejad that he scored two goals and also put in a good performance; we're good mates and he's my countryman too of course. The whole team played really well.
bundesliga.com: Was he particularly motivated facing his former side?
Bicakcic: You'd have to ask him that (laughs). It's obviously special for him being a former Herthaner to play against his old club, as it is for me when I'm up against [VfB] Stuttgart. It gives you that extra boost.
bundesliga.com: You've been at Hoffenheim for almost six months now. How would you sum it up so far?
Bicakcic: For me personally it's turned out really well. I've had a great start and my team-mates and coaches have supported me from day one. Unfortunately I got injured early on but I stayed positive and fought my way back into the first team. I really feel at home here.
bundesliga.com: Hoffenheim have finished the first half of the season in seventh. Are you happy with your league position?
Bicakcic: I'd say we've been doing rather well. We've fought hard in every game and for every point and managed to end the year on a positive note by winning here.
bundesliga.com: What is it like playing for a side eyeing European competition rather than one fighting against relegation like you did last year with Braunschweig?
Bicakcic: Braunschweig and Hoffenheim are like chalk and cheese. You can't compare the two clubs. I've not had to change much, though. I just try to do my best day in, day out, develop my game and just be me, Ermin. I always want to give my best to the team. We're all working very well together here and playing as a unit.
bundesliga.com: As a defender, is it difficult playing for an attack-minded side like Hoffenheim?
Bicakcic: I agree that we're an offensive side and attacking is our greatest strength. But we're working hard in training to develop a good understanding and the defenders benefit from that.
bundesliga.com: Do you believe Hoffenheim can finish in the top four come the end of the season?
Bicakcic: We don't want to distract ourselves by thinking of particular targets for the season. We have to make sure we recharge our batteries in the next few weeks so we're at the same level when we play Augsburg at the start of the second half of the season, and then we'll see what we can achieve.
Felix Seaman-Höschele reporting from the Olympiastadion