Without their and the Bundesliga's top-scorer Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is currently competing with his country at the Africa Cup of Nations, Borussia Dortmund had to improvise on Matchday 17.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel found in Andre Schürrle the solution to his problems, fielding the former 1. FSV Mainz 05, Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Chelsea FC and VfL Wolfsburg forward in an advanced, central position – and it worked admirably.
Schürrle duly supplied his first goal for Dortmund and put in one of his most solid shifts yet in a BVB shirt in their 2-1 win at SV Werder Bremen. Here's what the 26-year-old had to say following his side's victory at the Weser Stadium...
Watch: Schürrle 'comfortable in attack'
Question: Andre Schürrle, congratulations on the win. It seemed to be a hard-fought victory – why were Dortmund not able to control the game better?
Andre Schürrle: Of course we wanted to have more control of the game when we had an extra man, but we'll take the win as it is. It was a very hard game with a lot of fouls, but we were prepared for that. We should have wrapped it up earlier, given the amount of chances we had, but we fought well and won the important aerial battles. In the end it doesn't matter how you win, just as long as you do win.
"We had a bit of luck with Roman Weidenfeller making some very good saves - we shouldn't be letting that happen." - Andre Schürrle
Question: Shouldn't Dortmund really have had more control of the game, given your excellent start?
Schürrle: We had some good chances on the break which we didn't take and then our energy levels dropped a bit and we were no longer so clinical in front of goal. We could have put the game to bed early on and that was our goal, and we discussed it in the dressing room at half-time, but like I've already said, in the end it doesn't matter in the slightest because we've won and we've got the three points. Now we can move on.
Watch: Reus: 'We won in the end!'
Question: Why do you think Bremen got better after Jaroslav Drobny was sent off?
Schürrle: That's hard to say. Many things can change the course of a game. While Marco Reus received treatment after that red card, there was a long break in play and that didn't help us – we were a bit more relaxed after that and lost a lot of our tackles. Then Bremen – who have a good attack – came at us and suddenly started creating good chances. We had a bit of luck then with Roman Weidenfeller making some very good saves, but of course we shouldn't be letting that kind of thing happen.
Question: Why is Dortmund's game so inconsistent? You had good spells against Bremen, but also some bad ones. Are you lacking a bit of experience?
Schürrle: We are definitely lacking a bit of experience and that will come the more we play, but we've still got to try to limit the number of silly mistakes we are making because they keep forcing us to chase games.