Bayern Munich are buzzing, having opened up a ten-point advantage at the top of the Bundesliga last weekend. However, they may be brought crashing back down to earth if they are not careful this Sunday, since they face the team who, after them, have picked up the most points in the league in 2017.
bundesliga.com speaks with Joshua Kimmich ahead of a Bundesliga classic between the league's two form teams.
bundesliga.com: Joshua Kimmich, Borussia Mönchengladbach host traditional rivals Bayern Munich on Sunday. What are your memories of this fixture, and how much are you looking forward to this special game?
Joshua Kimmich: We look forward to every game because each one represents a new challenge. Last season we lost in Mönchengladbach and this year we want to win there. We've got a bit of an advantage in the league and of course we now want to increase or at the very least maintain it.
Watch: could Kimmich fill the retiring Xabi Alonso's boots next season?
bundesliga.com: Bayern are looking quite confident right now, or at least that is the impression you get...
Kimmich: The impression we give off on the outside is there for people on the outside to judge. All I can say is that the way we're playing at the moment looks good. We've had some pretty big wins of late, but that's always the expectation of a club like Bayern Munich: to win games as comfortably as possible.
bundesliga.com: Spring is when the business end of the season arrives. How hard is it, particularly in this phase packed with decisive fixtures, to keep your focus?
Kimmich: You would like to think that it's actually the other way round – that it's actually easier to be focused for the important games. Everybody knows what's at stake and all the players are on board, with a healthy competition for places. That means everybody has got to be fully focused.
bundesliga.com: A lot has been said in recent days of Carlo Ancelotti's training management and how he said he doesn't want to 'kill' his players in training, using a Spanish saying that 'whoever gives plants too much water can drown them'. Do you, the players, relate to that?
Kimmich: If you see how many fit players we've got right now then clearly the coach has got everything right. The aim is always to have your players fit at the right time, although you can't always influence that since injuries do occur from time to time. At the moment, we've got a fully-fit squad of players, though.
bundesliga.com: You mentioned last season's defeat to Gladbach. What makes you think Bayern can get a better result on Sunday?
Kimmich: Like I said, we've got a lot of self-confidence. We've established a bit of a cushion, everybody in the team is in good spirits and we're all fit, and this is why I expect us to come away with a win from Mönchengladbach.
bundesliga.com: How important is this aforementioned team spirit going to be in the business end of the campaign?
Kimmich: It plays a big role, of course, not only in decisive games, but over the whole season. If your team spirit is spot on now, then it's certainly no disadvantage. There are always setbacks over a seasons and it's important that you can stick together as a team when that happens, but we've already proven that we can do that.
bundesliga.com: The race for Europe is set to go right down to the wire in the Bundesliga, but things are also hotting up at the other end of the table...
Kimmich: It's always difficult when you're right down there because there are a lot of clubs grouped within a small number of points. If you don't have luck on your side then you can quickly get sucked in there. On the other hand, if you can put a few good results together, you can earn a bit of breathing space. It's a series of ups and downs, which is why you've got to try to find some consistency. It's the same at the top as it is at the bottom.
Interview by Oliver Trust / translation by Ben Gladwell