Mönchengladbach - Having signed a long-term deal at Borussia Mönchengladbach shortly before forming part of the the side which became the first to defeat FC Bayern München at the Allianz Arena this season, life is good for Thorgan Hazard, who turned 22 on Sunday.
Indeed, the Belgian was in chatty mood when bundesliga.com caught up with him to discuss that win in Munich, his side's burgeoning UEFA Champions League dreams and Lucien Favre's tactical strengths...
bundesliga.com: Thorgan Hazard, how does a win away to FC Bayern feel?
Thorgan Hazard: It’s an amazing feeling. There aren’t many teams who can pick up points at the Allianz Arena. Our win was completely deserved, as well. Bayern didn’t have many chances and we defended very well. We took our opportunities clinically. Winning in Munich is an outstanding result.
bundesliga.com: With the three points, Gladbach have also taken a major step towards qualifying for the Champions League…
Hazard: In the table, we currently have a nice lead over FC Schalke 04 and FC Augsburg, but there are eight games left and our run-in is tough. Saying that, we’re playing VfL Wolfsburg, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund at Borussia Park, so it’s in our own hands. We’re playing with a lot of confidence at the moment, and we want to keep it up in order to end the season successfully. We’ll do everything to defend third place right up until Matchday 34.
bundesliga.com: Eight months after joining Gladbach, how would you assess your current situation on a personal level?
Hazard: I certainly needed a little bit of time to get used to things because it was all so new to me, be it the style of play in the Bundesliga, the tactics used by the coach or the understanding with my team-mates. Step by step though, I found my place in the team and now I’m really happy. I’m also noticing that I’m getting more and more playing time. I’m very pleased.
bundesliga.com: What do you like most about Borussia Mönchengladbach?
Hazard: It’s an amazing club. Clearly, we’re having a fantastic season but at the start of the campaign, I would never have thought that we would be so impressive and in third place after 26 games. For my career, it’s the perfect place to take the next step. Here, I have everything to develop myself: the right atmosphere, the trust of the coach, an understanding with my team-mates. Also, the fans are absolutely unbelievable. I think most recently in Munich there were about 8,000, which is brilliant. Our fans have supported us, and, I’m assuming that they’re happy with our results. I hope we keep making them happy for a long time to come.
bundesliga.com: The proof of how happy you are at Gladbach came last month when you signed a five-year contract…
Hazard: Absolutely. I really wanted to sign on a long-term basis to bring myself and my family some stability. I always planned to spend several years at one club and now that’s the case at Borussia. I want to keep working hard in order to continue developing.
bundesliga.com: Another reason for your happiness seems to be Lucien Favre. What makes him such a good coach?
Hazard: Lucien Favre is the type of person who never lets up. In every training session, he goes right into the smallest detail. He’s a perfectionist and tactically he’s unbelievable. We don’t just play good football, but we also concede very few goals. For him, first and foremost, it’s all about defending well and giving the opponent no space. It’s going really well at the moment and in just eight months I’ve learned a scary amount.
bundesliga.com: You’re away from home again after the international break. What are you aiming to take from the trip to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim?
Hazard: We’re travelling to Sinsheim to win. We know, however, that it’ll be anything but easy. Hoffenheim are having a good season and rarely lose in front of their own fans, but we’re third and we want to stay third. From that point of view, we should really win.
Thorgan Hazard was speaking to Alexis Menuge.