Mönchengladbach - Finally, victory! Borussia Mönchengladbach notched up a 4-2 win over FC Augsburg in their first game under interim coach Andre Schubert, prompting scenes of huge relief for the Foals.
Granit Xhaka, who was made captain for the evening, spoke after the game to the assembled media about interim coach Andre Schubert, former supremo Lucien Favre and, most importantly, Gladbach's first win of the season.
Question: Granit Xhaka, congratulations on the first win of the season. How was the game for you, as Gladbach captain?
Granit Xhaka: I was only told that I was going to be captain just before the game. It was a dream come true for me to skipper such a big club here at the Borussia Park. After a win like that, I won't be forgetting the experience any time soon.
'A good team is one which picks itself back up'
Question: It has been a turbulent last few days. How has that been for you, and have you heard anything from Lucien Favre?
Xhaka: Mr Favre called every single player up individually in order to thank us. I was very surprised by what happened. It is always a shame when a manager who has given a club so many good years and so much success decides to go. It was difficult to accept because we couldn't do anything about it. Training without him was completely different, but Andre Schubert has done a fantastic job.
Question: What has Andre Schubert done differently with the team to get off to such a good start, then?
Xhaka: It's not like we had forgotten how to play football. He changed a few little things, mostly in terms of mentality. He let us know that we could make mistakes, and that we could play with confidence. Against Augsburg, yes, we made mistakes, but we won 4-2. He wanted us to put huge pressure on the opposition and to get after the ball as soon as we lost it. That probably surprised Augsburg in the first half-hour. Maybe they thought that we were out of sorts, but we reacted really well. I said several times before the game that a good team is one which picks itself back up when it's been knocked down.
Question: Looking ahead to the game against Stuttgart, how much more energy will the team have on the back of this success?
Xhaka: An enormous amount. It's not easy when you lose six games in a row, and don't even create chances in four of them. Against Augsburg, practically our first four shots all went in, and we could even have scored more. Stuttgart also won, though, so it'll be a challenge. We'll be trying to really put the opposition under pressure again.
'Everything finally clicked again'
Question: After such a long run without victory, how much good will this win do?
Xhaka: It'll do us a lot of good, and I hope that it carries on in the same vein. We took the lead for the first time this season. That always makes you calmer, and gives you more confidence in your own game. The fact that we scored even more goals so quickly obviously gave us even more confidence.
Question: Why was there such a change in body language in comparison to the last game?
Xhaka: The manager got us really fired up. Lucien Favre did that too, but it was a new start on Monday. We have to forget the last few weeks, and not really think about them. That's why our body language was so important against Augsburg. We also had a few players returning from injury.
Question: After a game like that, would you say that there are certain things in football that no one can explain?
Xhaka: It's just that so much of the game is about mentality. When you are constantly chasing the game, when you are constantly behind and have lost several games in a row, it becomes more and more difficult. To have not even created any chances in several games was particularly disappointing with the quality we have. Against Augsburg, though, everything finally clicked again.
Question: What was going through your mind when it was 4-0 after 20 minutes?
Xhaka: No one could have imagined that before the game. It was good that it didn't happen the other way around. Imagine if we'd gone behind again. Taking the lead did us a world of good, everyone could see that.
'An 18-year-old and a 22-year-old...that's 40 years of experience!'
Question: What about the two penalties Gladbach gave away?
Xhaka: It's never nice to concede goals from penalties. It has happened to us quite a lot. We need to sort that out and stop giving away so many. We have to learn from that.
Question: You were substituted off. Was that a precautionary measure to make sure you didn't get a red card?
Xhaka: I could have got a second yellow card for the penalty. I was lucky. From that point of view, it probably made sense to take me off.
Question: How was it playing alongside Mahmoud Dahoud? Is there a strong partnership growing there?
Xhaka: We worked well together. Yes, there's a partnership growing. He is 18 and I am 22, so we have 40 years of experience between us (laughs). In all seriousness, though, the kid has a lot of quality, and he has earned the right to play with the way he has trained in the last few weeks. It's a lot of fun to play with someone like that.
Markus Hoffmann reporting from Mönchengladbach.