Borussia Dortmund roared past Borussia Mönchengladbach 6-1 on Saturday to cement their place atop the Bundesliga standings. Mario Götze laid on the second of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's three goals in a game which also saw Maximiian Philipp bag a brace. The perfect preparation then, for a clash with 12-time defending European champions Real Madrid on Tuesday...
bundesliga.com caught up with the resurgent Götze to get his thoughts on Dortmund's form, what Philipp has brought to the team, and the club's UEFA Champions League ambitions...
Question: Mario Götze, it looked as if Borussia Mönchengladbach had adjusted to the pace of the game but then they were completely dismissed. How did it feel out there?
Mario Götze: We generally played a very good game. If you look at the first half, then we can be very satisfied, apart from some chances for Gladbach. We had a lot of possession, our distribution was good and we scored a lot of goals. This was, of course, decisive. Leading Gladbach 3-0 at the interval: it could have been worse! Overall it was a great team performance, even with Englische Woche and only two-day gaps between games - Real credit to the team.
Question: The coach Peter Bosz made five changes to the starting line-up, but BVB still looked completely smooth. How can you explain this?
Götze: We are all playing at a good level and trying to absorb Peter Bosz's philosophy. And it’s working very well! Turning defence into attack, winning the ball back quickly, possession, pressing from the front, and we did all of this well against Gadbach. We did it very well!
Question: You could have been forgiven for taking your foot off the pedal after your clear half-time lead. Are you enjoying your football so much that it didn’t even cross your mind?
Götze: On the one hand it is immensely fun, especially if you're 3-0 up at half-time. At that point you know you could score one or two more. At half-time the coach told us not to drop the pressure and we scored pretty quickly. We played well. We remained focused and that was key in this game.
Question: What about Maximilian Philipp? He now has two braces after also scoring twice against Cologne [in the 5-0 rout on Matchday 4]...
Götze: He is absolutely top. He’s always there in those key moments. He trains how he plays. What you see in training is what you see in the stadium. I'm sure we'll have a lot of fun with him. Maxi is a great addition for everyone here - for us as a team and also for the whole club. He more than repays the faith the club have put in him.
Watch: Maximilian Philipp's disappointment at finally conceding
Question: What is still to be improved? Also with regard to Gladbach's chances?
Götze: Gladbach could just have had a goal or two in the first half. We know we invited them to score with some mistakes we made. But this was really the only minor flaw from this game.
Götze: Of course that's nice for us, but it doesn't have any real meaning at this time. We just want to win our games, and we've done that. But there's still a long way to go. It’s very nice right now, but we know it's still a long way to the finish line.
Question: Is this 6-1 win a boost ahead of the difficult task of Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday?
Götze: Definitely! I couldn't have imagined the evening we just had! We were very, very determined against a really strong team. Apart from the odd chance that we allowed it was really very good.
Question: How big is the pressure on the Real game after BVB lost their opening group game to Tottenham Hotspur 3-1?
Götze: We know it'll be a mammoth task against Real. But we’re playing at home and have always played quite well against Madrid. We're going to prepare well because we know how important this game is. It's definitely an interesting clash, that's for sure.
Dietmar Nolte reporting from Dortmund