Berlin - was Hertha Berlin's marquee signing in summer 2014 and swiftly repaid the club's faith in him by netting five league goals prior to the winter break.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the 29-year-old Ivory Coast international gives his thoughts on settling in the German capital and analyses how the Bundesliga compares to some of Europe's other top leagues.
bundesliga.com: Salomon Kalou, how would you sum up the first half of the season at Hertha?
Kalou: To be honest it was up and down. Things started well: I scored a few goals and adapted to the team’s style of play quickly. But after several positive weeks I then had to deal with a few difficulties.
bundesliga.com: Such as?
Kalou: The Bundesliga was unchartered territory for me. I’d played for clubs in the Netherlands, France and England but the game’s played very differently in Germany. You attack very quickly and when you lose possession you have to help out your team-mates in defence. I just need time to get used to the process of adjustment.
bundesliga.com: Are you frustrated at having only been a substitute lately?
Kalou: Of course you’re never satisfied at being left out. On the other hand I have scored five goals, which is a good record - even if I know I can do more.
bundesliga.com: After 17 rounds of matches Hertha are currently in 13th place…
Kalou: Our objective is to avoid relegation but I’d be very happy if we finished in the top half of the table at the end of the season. There’s no question that we’ve got the potential in our side to achieve that.
bundesliga.com: What can the team do to improve?
Kalou: Over the summer the club brought in a lot of new players and all of them, myself included, have had different problems in the first half of the season. Things are increasingly getting better though. I’m certain we’ll play better in the second half of the campaign because our movements will all be second nature to us. The best example of that was our performance in the 1-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund at home recently. On top of that we’ve got a lot of quality in attack. It’s just at the back where we need to improve.
bundesliga.com: You’ve been in the Bundesliga for four months now. What’s your impression of the league been so far?
Kalou: The atmosphere, the infrastructure and the stadiums are all very impressive. The atmosphere’s amazing in our Olympiastadion. Hertha fans support us with a lot of passion at away games too and almost every match we play on the road is sold out. I really like it here.
bundesliga.com: And what about the level of football played in the league?
Kalou: It’s no coincidence that six Bundesliga clubs are still in European competition going into the new year and that four German teams are in the Champions League Round of 16. That’s incredible. It’s always intense and there's never a dull moment because teams always want to go on the attack. I’m really enjoying it.
Salomon Kalou was speaking to Alexis Menuge