With eight goals and seven assists to his name already this season, Hoffenheim's Croatia forward Andrej Kramaric has been central to the Sinsheim club's charge up the Bundesliga table.
Ahead of Hoffenheim's clash with fellow European aspirants Hertha Berlin on Friday, bundesliga.com caught up with the 25-year-old, who has big ambitions for both club and country…
bundesliga.com: Andrej Kramaric, you've played in Croatia, England and Germany so far in your career. How do you rate the level of the Bundesliga?
Andrej Kramaric: I like the style in Germany a lot. It's more focused on possession and even the "smaller" teams play to win. Everything is so professional here: the clubs, the training centres, the organisation. The stadiums are always full. Many clubs are working at the highest level. It's a pleasure to play my football here.
Watch: Kramaric scored the Goal of the Week in Matchday 24's 1-1 draw at Freiburg:
bundesliga.com: And what about Hoffenheim? Can you qualify for the Champions League?
Kramaric: We have a lot of potential in the team, but we must remain humble and not say the magic words! Nobody expected the start we had, especially given how things were just six months earlier. The team has changed a bit since then and with the coach we're improving day by day.
bundesliga.com: How important is Julian Nagelsmann to you as a player?
Kramaric: He's a bit different from other coaches, and not just because he's the youngest in Bundesliga history. Julian has everything to become one of the greatest coaches ever. The players are delighted to go into every training session with him, and that's how we approach our games. This is why were are enjoying such a good period.
bundesliga.com: What about Niko Kovac? Now at Eintracht Frankfurt, he was considered to have discovered you when he was Croatia coach…
Kramaric: He is very important to me. It was under him that I won my first cap and scored my first goal for the national team. I will never forget that. He is a great man and a great coach and I'm glad he's been so successful with Eintracht Frankfurt. We're still in contact when we face each other. He'll always be a special person for me who gives me a special energy.
bundesliga.com: Do you believe the current generation of Croatia players can emerge from the shadow of the golden generation who finished third at the France '98 World Cup?
Kramaric: Everybody in Croatia asks this question. Many thought we could have gone all the way at Euro 2016 last summer. It's true we have some very, very good players right now. I'm sure we have the desire in this current generation.
bundesliga.com: Guys like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic are not getting any younger…
Kramaric: That's true. The World Cup in Russia will be the last big opportunity for some of them to achieve something great. It's interesting, we have a good team and play very good football.
Kramaric: It's always good to have competition. You can't play at the same level for a whole year. We train together, everyone gives their best, and in the end the coach decides. I really have to say that I'm happy here. It's fun on and off the pitch.
Andrej Kramaric was speaking to Tobias Schächter.