In an interview with the club’s official website, bvb.de, the 29-year-old reflects on his comeback from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, Dortmund’s current plight and what the Jürgen Klopp’s side can do to get themselves out of their predicament.
Question: Jakub Blaszczykowski, these last few months have not been easy for you. After tearing your ACL you suffered two further injury setbacks - first you tore a muscle and tendon in the autumn - then you came down with the flu after the winter preparations.
Jakub Blaszczykowski: Those [setbacks] don’t have much to do with each other. I only came down with the flu for a week, but it still wasn’t easy because I was feeling good having taken part in all the mid-season preparations, but then I got sick. The torn ACL was a completely different story - I didn’t play for eight months. The torn muscle then added another two or three months on top of that. But that’s all behind me now because I can’t do anything about what’s happened. Now I just want to start picking up points with BVB.
Question: At what level of your capabilities do you feel you’re currently performing?
Blaszczykowski: That’s difficult to say. The training camp was important for me. Even under the heavy burden there was no reaction in my knee. I was in absolutely no pain anymore, which was the most important thing. What I’m missing right now is match practice - training is certainly somewhat different to a match. You regain the confidence you need in a mach environment.
Question: Recently you’ve had to watch a lot of games from the stands, which is a completely different perspective to out on the pitch. What have you noticed and what has the team been lacking?
Blaszczykowski: I think we’ve done enough talking and now we need to take action out on the pitch. To answer the question: right now we’re just not playing our game. We used to do certain things differently and everything - and I mean everything - came together wonderfully. Now we’re doing it wrong. I believe that we’ve got to continue to keep faith in our game, because only then can we make use of all our qualities and fully exploit the potential we posses. We’ve got to show what we’re capable of. We still continue to have good moments in matches, but we've made the wrong decisions too often.
Question: Dortmund’s game is all about pressing and counter pressing, which in the absolute high points was characterised by an unwavering ability to hunt the ball down. In principle, is that the right way to climb off the foot of the table, or can you only play that way when you’re playing with a lot of confidence?
Blaszczykowski: No, you can definitely play that way, but you’ve got to be clicking 100 per cent with one another. The timing has to be right. It won’t work if one striker is closing down and everyone else isn’t in that moment. It’s all got to come together. Then, and only then, can it give you a huge advantage. We’ve also got to cut out our individual mistakes as well, though. It’s like this: in football you’re always going to make mistakes and that’s not a bad thing. You’ve just got to make less than your opponent. So we’ve got to dramatically reduce the amount we’re making - or at the very least win the ball back as quickly as possible when we lose possession. That’s what I believe we’ve got to put on display again - then everything else will come back to us as well.
Question: Including the team's self-belief...
Blaszczykowski: Of course. But that won’t come back by itself. We’ve got to execute the things that we’ve just spoken about because at present every opponent sees an opportunity to beat Borussia Dortmund. Everyone knows that we’re not currently playing the way we could be. The only one that can help us in this situation is ourselves. Every single one of us has to understand that and show that. That’s the most important, but also the most difficult thing.
Question: You’re an experienced player and have been at BVB since 2007. Can you compare the current situation with any you’ve experienced before?
Blaszczykowski: When I came to Dortmund the situation was completely different anyway. We weren’t competing near the top of the table, none of us were expecting to be competing for any titles. Now the situation has changed and the team has too. The pressure on us is therefore a lot bigger, but that’s part of the football experience. You’re always playing under pressure, but you have to deal with it. It’s normal and something that can’t be changed. The point is that no one, absolutely no one expected us to be in the situation in which we currently find ourselves. But every now and again you’ve obviously got to sit at the bottom to know what it’s like, because only then can you truly appreciate the better moments. That’s how it is in life.
Question: Luck shines on very few people all the time.
Blaszczykowski: Exactly. Right now we’re in a difficult situation, but it also gives us valuable experience. Obviously I'd happily avoid these difficult moments, but that’s life and that’s the predicament we’re in right now. We’ve just got to keep battling.
Question: How are you approaching the battle?
Blaszczykowski: In response let me ask you a question: What did we do in our title-winning season 2010/11? We were under pressure then as well. We had an eight-point lead, but had Bayer 04 Leverkusen behind us. There was a lot of pressure on us then too and back then we only had one thing on our minds before every game: “What’s tomorrow? Which team are we playing against tomorrow?” What comes tomorrow, the next game - that’s what matters, not what’s going to happen sometime in May. You can’t think about things like that. Of course it’s difficult to push the pressure of a relegation battle to one side, but at the end of the day we just have to concentrate on the next game and only by doing that will we start playing better again.
Question: The fans are obviously also feeling the pressure. For them they’re worried about their club. Can you understand the fans’ mixed reaction following the last home game against Augsburg?
Blaszczykowski: Definitely! We’ve got to understand it. We’ve received such unbelievable support from our fans over the years. You don’t get that anywhere else, at no other club, you only get that at Borussia Dortmund. We talked about the fact that even though we had a poor first half of the season, we’re still experiencing being given the maximum support. Perhaps we needed to experience the other end of the stick, perhaps that will help us now. In any case, we understand our fans 100 per cent because we haven’t given them much reason to celebrate recently.