Dortmund - While Marco Reus grabbed the headlines, Nuri Sahin was busy doing what he does best. The Turkish international produced a customarily cool, calm and collected display in Borussia Dortmund's 4-2 home win over 1. FSV Mainz 05 and it is no surprise that the midfielder's return from injury has coincided with BVB's upswing in fortunes.
'The way Marco Reus is playing is world class'
Although admitting that he has started 2015 'quite well' after scoring his first goal of the season, the modest 26-year-old was keen to deflect praise onto his team-mates after Jürgen Klopp's side picked up back-to-back wins for the first time since September...
Question: Nuri Sahin, how relieved are you after Borussia Dortmund’s second consecutive win?
Nuri Sahin: It’s a nice, and very important, moment. It demonstrates to us that we’re on the right track. We didn’t get thrown off course after the early setback and it’s another step forward.
Question: For the first time this season, BVB came from behind to win and put lots of pressure on the opposition, particularly before the break. It was quite a different performance to your last home game against Augsburg…
Sahin: We took it upon ourselves to make sure that what happened against Augsburg could in no way happen again. We have to keep developing, though. We’ve taken a huge step forward, particularly in the fact that we played football again and that everyone wanted the ball. We didn’t just resort to throwing the kitchen sink and hitting it long in the hope that the ball would land at someone’s feet. In fact, we earned our luck and played football again.
Question: And for the most part, that seemed to work well…
Sahin: We moved the ball very well in between the Mainz lines. The front four were very mobile and flexible. I also think that Ilkay Gündogan and I played very well. All in all, we put in a very good performance and deserved to win.
Question: Does the response to conceding the early goal best reflect the progress that BVB have made in a short time?
Sahin: Absolutely. Against Augsburg, it was really tough and you had the feeling on the field that someone had pulled the plug completely. Against Mainz, however, that didn’t happen. It was really good for us to take this important step forward. It’s not a rule that we always have to take the lead. It’s a pretty regular occurrence in football that you go behind, but that doesn’t mean that you stop trying to play football. We did very well in that respect. We didn’t just keep playing, but we managed to play in the areas which damaged the opposition the most. In the end, we got our just rewards.
Question: How important was the impetus provided by Marco Reus’ contract extension this week? What did you make of his performance?
Sahin: You only have to look at his statistics. Those numbers almost shouldn’t be allowed - they’re mad! The way he’s playing is world class. I think for him it was a relief to have made a decision, and I’m obviously happy that decision was in favour of Dortmund. We all congratulated him. Now, we’re really pleased that we have his qualities on the field. Those qualities, coupled with his goals and assists put him out on another level, perhaps even worldwide.
Question: Would you agree that BVB seem to be shaking off their crisis now?
Sahin: At the very least we’ve moved forward with two wins in succession. We haven’t managed that very often this season. We’re on the right track, but we have to keep it up. Next up we travel to Stuttgart and we intend to - in fact we have to - do more work. Once we hit our stride, we know what quality we possess. That was obvious against Mainz and it would be good if it happens again against Stuttgart.
Question: You also managed to score your first goal of the season. How pleased are you with your own performance?
Sahin: I think I’ve started the Rückrunde quite well. I’m fit and at a very good level physically. The coaches and the team are pleased with me, which is the most important thing. I’m comfortable on the field again and not feeling any pain any more. I can go the whole length of a game and throw myself into things. The fact I was rewarded for that with a goal against Mainz will obviously do me good as well.
Question: There was lots of applause from the fans after the full-time whistle...
Sahin: We haven’t given them much reason to cheer us this season. That alone meant that we celebrated the win with our fans. For them watching on, it’s really been a catastrophic campaign; they’re always behind us and have hardly been rewarded for it. The most important thing is that the fans, and particularly the Yellow Wall, can see that we’re giving everything - regardless of how it’s going. It was nice to be able to give them a little thank you with the win and the four goals.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from Dortmund