Matchday 23 saw goals galore in the Bundesliga over a weekend that generated plenty of reaction and talking points from players and coaches alike.
FC Bayern Munich tightened their grip on the lead with an emphatic 3-0 win away at Cologne, while Borussia Dortmund’s delight at their 6-2 thrashing of Bayer Leverkusen was tempered by the news they will be without Marco Reus for a month with a muscle injury. BVB striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang moved clear of Robert Lewandowski in the battle to be the season’s top scorer with two goals taking his tally to 21.
Let’s take a look at what some of the weekend’s key figures had to say…
Ribery: ‘The title is not ours yet’
Bayern’s Franck Ribery made an excellent return to Bundesliga action with a goal-scoring cameo in the champions’ win at Cologne, but the French winger told Bundesliga.com he is not getting carried away despite their strong position.
Franck Ribery: "This is the way we've got to continue. It's great to win games like this, but you can't keep winning every game 3-0 or 4-0. Things are going very well at the moment, but now we've got the three most important months of the season in which we're going to need all of our players.
Ribery: "We've been playing well and scoring lots of goals and we were always in control in Cologne after we took the lead. Maybe we were a bit tired, but we did a good job. We've taken a big step towards the title, but we've definitely not won it yet."
Javi Martinez: “It was a very good game from us because we controlled it from the first minute. We had a lot of chances, obviously they were still dangerous because they have some good attacking players but we have the best goalkeeper in the world and his save was unbelievable.”
Dortmund's mixed feelings
Thomas Tuchel: "It's hit us hard. Marco took a lot of responsibility today and was really up for it. He's been playing at an outstanding level for several weeks and is an important character on the field. That he's not going to be able to play on Wednesday is a major blow and overshadows today's win.
Tuchel: "For weeks now, we have been creating a lot of opportunities. We also had a lot of clear-cut chances against Freiburg and Wolfsburg. You can see that we have confidence, that we're focused and taking it step by step. At the moment, we're developing well and having a good spell."
Julian Weigl: "Leverkusen never gave up and made us work hard, pressed as expected and never let us breathe for a minute. We scored the goals at the right time. The game could have turned each time they pulled a goal back, but luckily we responded quickly on both occasions. All in all it was a deserved victory."
Gonzalo Castro: "We have a very good balance to our game. Defensively we work very well, while at the other end we attack with pace. Everything is working really well right now. When we have the ball we're aware of the positions and the passing channels and know where our team-mates are. That makes us unpredictable at the moment; it's difficult for any opponent to face."
Szalai takes his chance for Hoffenheim
Adam Szalai: “I was very pleased that the coach gave me the opportunity to start the match today. I think that was obvious not just through my two goals, but through my enthusiasm on the pitch today. It was a strange game, but I think the better team won. Ingolstadt were strong at set pieces, but we deserved the victory today.”
Benjamin Hübner:Szalai is always full throttle and has a good character. He is an absolute phenomenon, he has more than he has used his chance. He is a total team player, very head strong and holds also the ball up well. And if he gets only a minute of playing time, he grabs everything in this minute."
Bremen battling away towards safety
Alexander Nouri: “I’m to blame for the first half, and for the second half I’m just grateful how the game ended. We weren’t committed enough. At half-time, we were able to correct that and show a different story in the second half. We had three to four certain chances, we proved we can persevere, and earned the points after the break.
Nouri: “It was definitely loud in the dressing-room. We were all disappointed and I was emotional. We decided as a team that we would all pull our weight and correct the problem.
Nouri: “The three points are great, but we’d do better not to let the excitement get to us. I’m sure we won’t become too arrogant.”
Hasebe humble after breaking record
Makoto Hasebe: “I’m very proud, of course, but the team’s result is more important, which is why I’m a bit sad now.”