It is hard to imagine the Borussia Mönchengladbach defence without Chelsea FC loanee Andreas Christensen at its heart.
The Denmark international has become a cornerstone of the side since swapping London for the Rhineland in summer 2015 and while his future beyond the end of this season remains unclear, there can be no arguing with the fact that the Bundesliga has helped shape him into one of the best young centre-backs in the business.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, the 20-year-old defender discusses Gladbach's 2-1 defeat to FC Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League, looks ahead to Sunday's clash with FC Schalke 04 and shares his views on how the Bundesliga compares to the English Premier League…
bundesliga.com: Andreas Christensen, does such a narrow defeat to a world-class team such as FC Barcelona hurt more than other defeats?
Andreas Christensen: No. Every defeat is synonymous with disappointment, regardless of the opposition. We did a lot right in the first half against Barcelona, but we couldn't build on it in the second.
"The Bundesliga is a real spectacle. Almost every game is played at a breathtaking tempo."
bundesliga.com: Schalke are up against it right now. Given their struggles, is the onus on you to win?
Christensen: To say that wouldn't really do justice to Schalke's quality. Obviously they're having a few problems at the moment, but they're a good team. Like I said, we want to play our own idea of football in every game. If we can do that on Sunday, we'll beat Schalke. It's not going to be a walk in the park, though. Games against Schalke are always tough and Schalke are going to push us to our limit in their own stadium.
bundesliga.com: You once said in an interview that you left school after Year 9 and there was no alternative but to play football. Did you not consider finishing your exams first, before concentrating on football - like your fellow Dane Yussuf Poulsen of RB Leipzig?
Christensen: I took this path after finishing Year 9, but long before then, when I was playing in the Brondby youth team, Chelsea had come calling and they made it clear they really wanted to sign me. I really didn't want to miss out on the opportunity. So I waited until I'd completed Year 9 and then went to England.