Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s two goals on Matchday 12 were to no avail as FC Schalke 04 suffered a 3-2 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the first Revierderby of the season.
Nevertheless, the Dutchman took consolation from the Royal Blues' performance against a Dortmund side bang in form and insisted in his post-match media comments that there were positives to be taken from the game.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, you’ve come out on the wrong side of a narrow defeat in the derby. Where did it go wrong for Schalke?
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar: We gave everything and we could have got a point at the end. Both teams played well. We did a really good job closing them down, especially in the first half and they didn’t find too many of their men free to pass to. It’s frustrating that the shortest guy on the pitch [Shinji Kagawa] scores a header, but we still managed to come back strongly. If we’d taken all our chances, we’d have got something from the game. Unfortunately we didn’t and that’s a pity.
The team played with a lot of spirit here. Did the fans’ visit to your final training session before the game give you all a bit more motivation?
Huntelaar: It was great that they came to see us train and it showed the type of fans that we have at this club. Everyone celebrates together and that’s great to see. We can be happy with how things are going, I think. If we carry on playing the way we are, we’ll get back on track.
You were able to get back on track yourself in terms of scoring goals to end your barren run. Was that down to the adrenaline you felt, with this game being a derby?
Huntelaar: We played well and created a lot of chances, which we hadn’t really been doing that much in the last few weeks. When we do that, we score more goals.
You played up front with Leroy Sane. Is that a combination that works better than others?
Huntelaar: I don’t want to talk about individuals. What was important was what we did tactically. We matched Dortmund really well. In terms of the personnel that play next time, that’s up to the coach.
Does this game give you encouragement for the next few games, starting with FC Bayern München at home on Matchday 13?
Huntelaar: We can take a lot of positives from this match. We need to do exactly what we did here. Everyone enjoyed the game - the fans, the people that watched on TV and us players as well. The first-half performance in the DFB Cup game against Gladbach was the same. These were good performances that can give us confidence going forward.