Heiko Westermann says Hamburg are fully focused on getting the job done in the relegation play-offs
Heiko Westermann says Hamburg are fully focused on getting the job done in the relegation play-offs

Westermann: 'We're feeling good going into the play-off'

Hamburg - Hamburger SV may have avoided automatic relegation to the second tier by beating FC Schalke 04 2-0 on Matchday 34, but veteran defender Heiko Westermann is refusing to celebrate just yet, with the club's two-legged play-off decider just around the corner.

Speaking after Saturday's triumph, the 31-year-old discussed what he thinks will make the difference in the upcoming games with Bundesliga 2 side Karlsruher SC...

Question: Heiko Westermann, how are you feeling after such a gruelling game?

Heiko Westermann: I'm already thinking about Thursday, I'm already a step ahead. The whole team is focused on Thursday. We'll now try to prepare well and regroup.

Question: How difficult was it out on the pitch not knowing how the other games were going?

Westermann: We knew before the game that we had a great chance if we won and we deserved to win. We've picked up ten points in the last five games. We believed in ourselves as a team, even when plenty of others had lost faith. We're feeling good going into the relegation play-off.

Question: Just like last season, HSV have to go through the relegation play-off. What are you expecting on Thursday?

Westermann: The important thing is that we've shown solidarity in recent weeks and kept our nerve. They're the two most important things.

Question:Ivica Olic got the decisive breakthrough when he made it 1-0 with another goal that came about from a set-pice.

Westermann: Obviously it was a really important goal, but we know we can do better from free kicks. We made something good out of one that wasn't all that great (laughs).

Question: How much did the fans help you? The most dedicated ones escorted you to the stadium before the game.

Westermann: That was really moving. We had goosebumps on the bus.

Question: Did you hear about what was going on elsewhere?

Westermann: No, I didn't hear a thing. After I was substituted, I was constantly checking what was going on in the other games.

Question: How tense was the situation going into a must-win situation?

Westermann: We'd got used to the pressure in recent weeks, but of course it was a special game because it was [the last day of the season] - but that's football.

Question: How fit is the team at the end of a long season?

Westermann: We're fitter than last year and also in a better place mentally. None of us are tired yet. There's still more to come.

Question: Is it an advantage to have experienced the relegation play-off last season?

Westermann: I don't know if it's an advantage. I only know that we've stood up to the test of a relegation battle, you could see that in the last few games. Now we have to keep our feet on the ground and focus on the next game. It's over two legs, so anything's possible, but we won't celebrate. There's nothing to celebrate. Now it's about taking good care of ourselves, eating well and relaxing. Then we can celebrate in ten days.

Alexander Barklage reporting from Hamburg