Borussia Mönchengladbach defender Oscar Wendt believes his side’s recent dip in form should not detract from what has otherwise been a “sensational” few months in which the Foals embarked on a ten-game unbeaten run in the Bundesliga.
That streak culminated in a 3-1 win over FC Bayern München, but since then the Foals were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League, suffered a 5-0 humbling at home to Bayer 04 Leverkusen and then lost 4-3 to SV Werder Bremen in the DFB Cup last 16.
Speaking exclusively to bundesliga.com ahead of Gladbach's Matchday 17 encounter with SV Darmstadt 98, the Swedish defender reflected on the club's topsy-turvy season so far.
bundesliga.com: Oscar Wendt, first the 5-0 defeat in the Bundesliga, then the 4-3 reverse in the cup against Bremen – it seems like Borussia are running out of steam after such a remarkable recovery…
Oscar Wendt: Leverkusen was a really poor game – we got nothing right there. You can't say anything good about that game; it was all bad. Leverkusen was a catastrophe. Yes, that's what it was. But things like that do also happen. It's bad, but it can happen. It was different against Bremen – we made many mistakes at the back, but we also had bucketloads of chances, which is why that defeat was more frustrating. There's no doubt that what we had achieved in the weeks and months up to the Leverkusen game was sensational, but now people are only talking about these two defeats and not the 15 great games which defined that period.
bundesliga.com: And now you have Darmstadt for the final game of the first half of the season at Borussia Park…
Wendt: Darmstadt are tough opponents. They're having a very good season and will fight to the very end, trying to disrupt us. Our 0-0 draw against Ingolstadt showed how hard it is to face a promoted side, which is why we're going to have to summon up everything one more time on Sunday. I don't care if we win 1-0 - even scoring in stoppage time – we need these three points so we can go into the winter break with a good feeling.
bundesliga.com: Have all these injuries finally taken their toll on the team?
Wendt: I don't think so. We ran 120km against Bremen and put a lot into that game. What I would say is that some mental tiredness is gradually creeping in. I don't want that to sound like an excuse, though, because we wanted this packed schedule. You can't work your socks off all year to earn this and then start complaining as soon as it starts to get a bit demanding – that would be a completely wrong sign.
bundesliga.com: Gladbach played some outstanding football against Hannover, Hoffenheim and Bayern, although you still conceded plenty of chances in those games. Is that the risk you take with such a style of football?
Wendt: It's normal that Bayern create chances. What matters is we always had the feeling we could score a goal at any time. We may have been a bit too attack-minded at times, but that style of play suits us.
bundesliga.com: Indeed, it looks like you enjoy this attacking style – your goals against Hertha and Bayern are two of Borussia's best of the season…
Wendt: That's true, but things have been like this for the whole team, disregarding the past few days. The atmosphere's fantastic and you come to work each day with a smile on your face because you're looking forward to training with the lads, and when you're enjoying your football, the rest just falls into place.
bundesliga.com: This season, you've been on the field for every single minute. That's not normal for a 30-year-old outfield player…
Wendt: As a matter of fact, I've now played 40 games in a row, including the back end of last season. I know, of course, that I'm 30 now and no longer 20, but I've never felt as fit during my career as I do now. I feel strong and don't even consider my age. I always said I needed to be playing regularly and I just try to give everything possible in every game, and it's worked well – up to these famous four days.
bundesliga.com: You once said that there could be no better club for you and your career than Borussia. Can you imagine ending your career here?
Wendt: Absolutely! Everything's fantastic here as a footballer, but also the social life for my daughter and my wife – it's all perfect. We feel really happy and have a great life here - the only thing I miss a bit right now is the snow . As a Swede, you've got to have snow at Christmas. I would play out on the snow all winter when I was a kid – snow brightens up the winter.
bundesliga.com: You've recently been called up to the Sweden national team. Would a call-up for EURO 2016 crown everything for you?
Wendt: My time at Gladbach has been great and so intense that I've not really had time to think much about anything else. Of course every footballer wants to represent their country at a major tournament, but I'm not going to suffer if it doesn't work out. I'm already living my dream as a professional footballer, playing for a top Bundesliga club. I have a great wife, a wonderful daughter and a second child is on its way. I'm totally happy.
Oscar Wendt was talking to Andreas Kötter