- Bellarabi discusses joy at "special" moment scoring #Bundesliga50k goal.
- Dedicates goal to suspended Hakan Calhanoglu.
- Praises youngster Kai Havertz, who created the opening goal in win at Augsburg.
It took Karim Bellarabi until after the full-time whistle of Bayer 04 Leverkusen's 3-1 win at FC Augsburg on Matchday 21 to realise that he had once again written himself into Bundesliga history – this time by scoring the 50,000th goal in the history of the German top flight.
On Matchday 1 in 2014, Bellarabi scored what was then the fastest goal in Bundesliga history (since equalled by current team-mate Kevin Volland) after only nine seconds at Borussia Dortmund's SIGNAL IDUNA PARK.
At the WWK ARENA on Friday night, the winger secured himself another place in the history books when he converted Kai Havertz's perfect cross for the landmark goal in league history. Bellarabi spoke afterwards of his joy at the "special moment", dedicated the goal to Hakan Calhanoglu and also praised young-team mate Havertz…
Watch: Karim Bellarabi reflects on scoring the #Bundesliga50k goal:
bundesliga.com was on hand to hear what Bellarabi told journalists afterwards…
Question: Karim Bellarabi, congratulations on scoring the 50,000th goal in Bundesliga history. You're quite a history maker…
Karim Bellarabi: Yes, that's what it sounds like. I'm really happy about the record. First and foremost, though, the three points were most important. It's good to see that we're moving in the right direction again. I hope that we'll keep it up over the next few weeks.
Question: Are you dedicating the goal to anybody?
Bellarabi: I usually dedicate records or goals to my family, but this one is also for my friend Hakan [Calhanoglu], who unfortunately can't be with us at the moment. He's an important player for us and an important part of the team.
Question: Was the record a talking point for the team beforehand?
Bellarabi: To be honest, I didn't really expect it. I heard this week that there would be a record, but I didn't really think about it during the game. I didn't know at half-time, either and only really realised after the game. Of course, though, I'm really happy about it: it's very special.
Question: Will the trophy be given a place of honour on your mantelpiece?
Bellarabi: I'll take it home with me first and then my mum can choose whether she wants to keep it or whether it'll stay at mine. After all, she makes all the decisions anyway!
Watch: Bellarabi celebrates #Bundesliga50k:
Question: [Leverkusen sporting director] Rudi Völler said recently that you still had some room for improvement, but you were getting better with every game. Do you see it like that as well?
Bellarabi: I was injured for a long time, and it wasn't just a knock, either. So, of course, from that point of view you always need a few games to feel your way back into things. Slowly the match sharpness is coming back; that's something I'm noticing with every passing game. I'm pleased that I'm getting back to my old fitness levels, that we're winning games again and that slowly things are looking up.
Question: The team looked to be really enjoying their football out there today. How big a role does Kai Havertz, who assisted your goal, play in that?
Bellarabi: You don't often think that he's only 17. Honestly, it's unbelievable how [well] he's playing. He played 90 minutes last week and then again this week. You've got to take your hat off to that. It was a very good display today and I'm really pleased for him because he's a great lad. I hope things continue like this for him.
Question: That's now two convincing wins in a row against Eintracht Frankfurt and then in Augsburg. What will you be taking from these games going into the UEFA Champions League last-16 tie against Club Atletico de Madrid on Tuesday?
Bellarabi: We're confident at the moment and really want to give it a good go. We're going to recover properly over the next couple of days because it's going to be really tough on Tuesday. We're looking forward to it, although until today we've only been concentrating on the game against Augsburg. From now on, it's total focus on Atletico so that we give it everything on Tuesday – and, in the best-case scenario, win.
"I'm pleased to have had the honour of scoring the Bundesliga's 50,000th goal. Thanks to everyone for all the good wishes!"