The last Borussia Dortmund captain to get his hands on a major trophy some five years ago, retired midfielder Sebastian Kehl is quietly confident the class of 2016/17 can strike gold once again with victory against Eintracht Frankfurt in Saturday's DFB Cup final.
bundesliga.com: Sebastian Kehl, your name is synonymous with Dortmund's last DFB Cup triumph. You were captain of the 2011/12 double winners…
Sebastian Kehl: Even now, that still gets spoken about a lot. The DFB Cup in 2012 was the last final Dortmund won. Since then, the final has only caused heartache. There are mixed emotions for the people of Dortmund right now. On the one hand, there's the disappointment of the recent final defeats. On the other, there's hope that the cup will be coming back to Dortmund this year.
bundesliga.com: How do you remember 12 May 2012, when you'd just beaten Bayern 5-2 and were able to lift the cup?
Kehl: I have wonderful and incredibly emotional memories of that day. We didn't just play a fantastic final; we were fantastic all season. We were the first team in the club's history to win a Bundesliga and DFB Cup double. That's something for the ages. If only you could bottle up the moment - it was exhilarating - but I can still picture Joachim Gauck handing me the trophy and us all running over to celebrate with the fans. Most of my memories of that night are a bit hazy, though. Everyone was just overcome with joy and emotion. An indescribable feeling!
bundesliga.com: Players always make a huge deal about reaching the final in Berlin. Why do you think that is?
Kehl: Essentially, you spend all your time working towards being part of such games. The regular Bundesliga season is over, a lot of teams are already on holiday. At club level, these are the decisive days, it's about titles - whether it's the DFB Cup, Champions or Europa League. The excitement and tension grow in equal measure. And particularly in Dortmund, the whole city gets on board. You literally soak that up as a player. Tens of thousands will make the trip and deck Berlin in black and yellow again, just as they have in recent years. BVB have made it into something of a second home.
Watch: Step inside the Olympiastadion, the traditional venue for the DFB Cup final
bundesliga.com: That level of consistency has taken Dortmund into a fourth successive final - an unparalleled achievement. BVB also contested the 2012/13 Champions League final, yet they lost all four. Will the players carry a certain burden with them into Saturday's final?
Kehl: I wouldn't call it a burden. I don't think the winner of each final was necessarily deserved - especially the Champions League final. On the one hand, it's obviously a massive shame to have lost those finals. It's very frustrating for all concerned. On the other, the likelihood of the cup going back to Dortmund this year increases. The players will be fully focused on that, and won't be entertaining any negative thoughts. What's more, there are players in the squad who were not part of those final defeats.
bundesliga.com: When you think of the double win in 2012, do you think the title and the big win over Munich were the catalyst for Bayern's recent dominance?
Kehl: I do think Dortmund's successes in 2011 and 2012 were the decisive triggers that have made Bayern so successful and consistent again. It made them change a few things - not just personnel-wise, but also in their mentality. It was the catalyst for a very successful era for Bayern, along with an unbelievable dominance. I don't see many teams that will really be able to threaten Bayern in the new season. I don't think that's necessarily a good thing, mind.
bundesliga.com: Why do you think Dortmund weren't able to seriously trouble Bayern this season?
Kehl: My main criticism was the lack of consistency. They had a good run in the Champons League, but dropped unnecessary points in the league. The team has massive potential in attack, scored a lot of goals, but also conceded a fair few. Forty goals conceded and six defeats is too much for one season. You can't win the title like that. The team has to and will learn. The potential is there, but you have to play an incredible season to threaten Bayern. And for different reasons, Dortmund weren't able to do that this year.
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bundesliga.com: You spoke about the defensive problems, which were also apparent in the 4-3 win over Werder Bremen on the final day. Is that something BVB fans should be worried about in the final with Frankfurt?
Kehl: It was a real spectacle for the spectators with a happy ending for Borussia, but it rammed home the point that while the team are always capable of scoring goals, they neglect the defensive work - and that goes for all areas of the team and in the transition. That gives opponents opportunities. It'll be very important to keep things tight to prevent giving away chances against Frankfurt.
Kehl: Nuri's really started to show his strengths again, after a long spell out injured. I'm delighted he's back. If he plays on Saturday, he'll have a lot of responsibility because of his experience. It's about being stable and organised, so Frankfurt don't have many chances to counter. I have faith in Nuri, but he can't do it alone.
Watch: Dortmund locked down third place after turning the tables on Bremen
bundesliga.com: One player who could make the difference on Saturday is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang…
Kehl: Without doubt, Auba is a massive reason why the team finished third in the league and is in the final. His goals have often made the difference this season. He's invaluable to the team. Even when he's gone through phases without scoring, the team have had his back. That has done him the world of good. The Torjägerkanone is reward for that - for him and the team. Congratulations for that! I think this final will rubber-stamp his story, and I believe he'll make the decisive contribution again. In doing so he could make his own fantastic season into a great one for the team.
bundesliga.com: Marco Reus is another key Dortmund component, who also played a blinder against Bremen. What does he bring to Dortmund - particularly as one of their own?
Kehl: For me, Marco's a hugely important role model for Borussia Dortmund - a link between the team, the club and the fans. He's had a lot of bad luck in his career, having missed a number of major tournaments because of injury. So I'm willing him to win his first major title all the more. His motivation and ambition have been plain to see in recent weeks. He's in very good shape. It wasn't just his goals that ensured Dortmund turned the game around against Bremen. Along with Auba and Ousmane Dembele, Marco is definitely the player that can decide the game against Frankfurt.
Sebastian Kehl was talking to Dietmar Nolte