After a rollercoaster first half of the season, Lars Stindl told bundesliga.com he hopes he and Borussia Mönchengladbach will have a successful but smoother second half of the season and earn themselves another UEFA Champions League berth.
bundesliga.com: Lars Stindl, looking back on 2015, how was the Hinrunde for you as a newcomer?
Lars Stindl: Obviously it was very turbulent. We started well in the DFB Cup against St. Pauli and then had problems in the league. After going the first five games without a win there was a change in coach and about 48 hours after that another game against Augsburg. That's when the penny dropped and we were able to start our comeback. We also played well enough in the DFB Cup and Champions League, and we were a bit unlucky to be knocked out. All things considered, I think it was a decent Hinrunde.
bundesliga.com: You mentioned the comeback. What was the secret to this run of form in the Bundesliga?
Stindl: At the start of the season, we didn't play as we'd imagined and then we got caught in a downward spiral. After the change in coach, we didn't really have much time to prepare for the next game. Then we went 4-0 up against Augsburg after 20 minutes. That was our release and then we just played with a real buzz.
bundesliga.com: How much of the about-turn in form is down to Andre Schubert?
Stindl: He had a huge say - just like everyone else in the team. We got through the tough times together. The sporting director, the coaching team and the team - we all pulled through together. We often sat down together and talked. The coach pinpointed the right areas: Be more relaxed, but also be serious when necessary. Obviously that did us the world of good.
bundesliga.com: What's on the cards for the Rückrunde?
Stindl: We're a bit disappointed that we're not in the Europa League or the DFB Cup, but now the focus is on the Bundesliga. We're in a decent position in the table in fourth and we can concentrate purely on our important first game against Borussia Dortmund. We basically want to pick up as many points as possible.
bundesliga.com: Are Borussia ready for the Champions League? More so than before?
Stindl: That remains to be seen. We put in some decent performances and gained a lot of experience, but we can't escape the fact we went out of the competition. In one or two situations, we learned the hard way. Whoever plays in the Champions League, though, wants to be there again. They were fantastic nights for all of us.
bundesliga.com: What lies ahead for you personally with Gladbach?
Stindl: Basically, I want us to sustain the performance levels we showed in the Hinrunde. Maybe we can give a bit more. I want to be part of the process that the team in going through. Then we'll see what the future holds.
bundesliga.com: You're still climbing the career ladder. Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl has already recommended you for the Germany national team. Can you see that happening?
Stindl: That's something that often gets a mention. Of course, every player dreams of playing for their country. It's the same for me, but I have to be realistic about it. The national team is blessed in the forwards department. We're not world champions for nothing. We don't just have enormous quality; we also have a lot of very good players.
bundesliga.com: How has your game changed to moving to Borussia from Hannover 96?
Stindl: We often have more possession and are more decisive in games, so I try to bring my own qualities to the table. Together with Raffael, I try to shape the game. That's going really well, too, because the holding players behind us are always kicking us into action. We're really flexible, which is shown by the number of different goalscorers we have.