Inside Borussia Dortmund (2019) s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

1 To start with, yes of course, I want to play football.
My philosophy was: we want to win the game.
We have to master the game.
You need to have the ball.
You need great technique.
You also need match intelligence.
That's clear.
You need time.
You need money to do that, but you also need physical potential.
Everyone says mental strength is very important.
But to have mental strength on the pitch, you need players who, before all else, are able to run.
Who are able to run.
Do you understand? Because saying, "He has a super mentality, but he can't run back and forth," that's no use.
And if you have a player on the team, who does nothing defensively, you don't have a team.
You don't have a team.
That's dangerous.
Losing possession here, counter Nowadays you have to be able to play hurt.
They can suffer, really suffer.
This is You asked me about my philosophy.
To play football, but You can have a team, a real team.
And then you can wage war, if you have that.
If you have that.
Okay, guys.
We'll do two rounds of circuit training.
Then we can watch some football.
In the summer, we didn't know how Dortmund were doing.
The squad had changed significantly.
There were many new players.
Plus a new manager.
These are factors for which you can't plan.
Football isn't a drawing board.
We want to improve a lot, to play good football.
If someone had told us on July 1st that we'd be here in Marbella, leading the table by six points, I'd have said, "Who? Us?" It's gone far better than we ever imagined in our wildest dreams, which of course causes problems in itself.
Increased expectations.
All around Borussia Dortmund, we face more media pressure.
But it could be worse.
We want to play good football, but of course also winning football.
Sadly both those things aren't always possible.
We've seen that before.
Sometimes you have to win ugly.
The philosophy's very clear.
We want to play good football.
We want to excite the fans.
And the manager brings the perfect qualities to implement that.
Two rounds of exercises.
This year we had a super team.
Lots of young players had a great deal of success.
We're proud of that, but the project is just starting, there's a long way to go.
At the home game, they really let Leipzig play to their strengths in Dortmund.
They were able to counter quickly.
We were playing quite high, and we left gaps.
They could have led 2:0.
Luckily that didn't happen.
Bürki made saves.
That was crucial.
In the end we won 4:1.
I'm glad I was there at that moment and could help the team.
That's really when it started with our good run, I'd say.
At some point it really started.
They were flying.
Jadon Sancho showed what an outstanding street footballer he is on the pitch as well.
Paco Alcácer came on very late and scored instantly.
Everything worked in that phase.
Paco Alcácer totally amazed me.
He came, he saw, he scored.
It's incredible how little time he needed to acclimatize in Dortmund.
He's a natural-born scorer, and also he's someone his team-mates can link up with.
It's quite a rare combination, with classic center-forwards, with classic penalty box strikers.
We thought long and hard about who to play at No.
We had Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for years there most recently.
And in that phase it became theoretically possible that we could take Paco on loan.
That Barcelona were willing to let him go.
We knew him from Valencia.
Then he moved to Barça.
Normally he'd be off our radar.
But the problems they're having with competition are well known.
And of course Paco has had a huge impact here, because he has a finishing quality that I have rarely seen before.
On the other hand, we also had a bit of luck.
At the time of Paco's transfer, no one thought he'd score 12 goals in 12 games.
You always have to stay humble.
I'm sure we made a lot of good decisions.
You have to compliment Michael Zorc, who was in control overall.
But a bit of luck is part of it too.
Mario GÃtze had made an almost traumatically poor start to the season.
In the summer he wasn't called up for the World Cup.
Then he lost his starting place at Borussia Dortmund.
At times he wasn't even on the bench.
Against Augsburg, he came on, he got involved at once, he was there.
For me it wasn't a redemption, but it was a moment when I thought the previous months hadn't gone well, then coming on and scoring, at home in front of the south stand, it was all perfect, and it was a special moment for me.
I could feel all the positive energy being showered on me.
For me personally it was a very emotional match.
It think that was something that did him personally a world of good.
Also because of the fact that everybody celebrated for him.
That everyone in the stadium that afternoon knew just what that goal, what that moment, that explosion, meant to Mario GÃtze.
The Dortmund fans in the south stand weren't always his greatest friends.
There were still quite a lot of them who hadn't forgiven him for going to Bayern Munich, who didn't give him a friendly welcome when he came back.
The Augsburg game, where we won 4:3 in the 96th minute with Paco's free kick, those are emotions you rarely have in football.
That was extremely important for us as a team for the remainder of the season.
It was fantastic.
I was totally stoked after the match.
It was crazy.
But the next day you still have to analyze the match, and realize it was very, very hard.
Bayern was a brilliant game, because on that day, Bayern also played very well.
It was an excellent match.
And then to win it, and for all the people watching to think it was a fair result, that boosts your self-confidence to another level.
The match against Bayern was a boost, of course.
We went behind twice, but then we came back three times.
And that characterizes us at the moment, that we're willing to go beyond the limit, that we believe in ourselves.
We made some great transfers, we have a good age structure, experienced players and young players.
And it's a good mixture that we have at the moment.
We learned a lot from last season.
That's why we opted for more drastic measures and changes.
We didn't really have a good balance in the team last year.
We were too easy to beat.
If you as Dortmund get two points from an easy Champions League group, it means you've done it all wrong.
In the end we realized that we perhaps focused too much on footballing elements of the team line-up, not on the rest.
Also, the attack on the team bus had a far greater negative impact on the following season than we could have imagined in any nightmares.
You prepare for a Champions League game, you spend ages in the hotel, you're glad when the bus finally leaves for the stadium.
We hadn't even gone 100 meters, and suddenly there was a huge bang.
Then shortly afterwards a second one.
I saw Marc Bartra screaming We all tried to take cover, because we didn't know what it was.
Yes, it was Those were the most terrible minutes or seconds of my life, I think.
You didn't know what was happening.
The whole bus shook.
I heard windows shattering.
I automatically slammed on the brakes, as I think anyone would.
Then I saw clouds of dust in the mirror, that the explosion had caused.
And of course I was perplexed for ten seconds, because I didn't know what had happened.
Then I turned around to Mr.
I asked him, "Thomas, do you know what just happened?" He didn't answer, because he was preoccupied with himself.
In the back, Marc Bartra was injured, which I hadn't realized up front.
There was shouting, a commotion.
Then I saw Marc, his wrist covered in blood.
He was yelling, he was sweating and pale.
There was a hole, like a bullet hole, in the bus.
You didn't know if people would come in, or what was happening.
Were there several of them? You were lying on the floor, and hoping it was over.
We yelled that he should keep driving, that we shouldn't stop there, that we should move away from the whole thing.
It was very frightening, alarming to be there at that moment, and to look at your team mates and friends and see fear, with the young players hiding under their seats.
That was really something that you don't want to experience.
Now we have experienced it and we're trying to deal with it.
There was a driveway on the right that joined the main road 100 m further on, There was a hedge on the right, where the pipe bombs were positioned.
Before long, I think I was the first, I informed our office, using the words, "There's been a bomb attack on the bus.
" I said I thought we couldn't play that day.
At first they didn't believe me.
The first retort I got was "April Fool's Day was ten days ago.
" Then when I got home, I watched the news for the first time.
When they started talking on TV about the bomb attack, attempted murder, that's when it sank in that it had really happened.
When they talked of 27 counts of attempted murder, you were one of them.
I think it got really bad for me when you saw what could have happened.
That we had a huge amount of luck.
How much shrapnel was found in the headrests, or didn't even hit the bus.
Or for example that there were cars parked between the bus and the explosives, which also took some of the force of the blast.
Mostly I only talk about it to people in whom I've already confided.
Otherwise whenever there's a quiet moment now and something gets dropped somewhere, or there's a loud noise, unfortunately it still happens that you get a bigger fright than you normally would.
But that's also something that, with these conversations or with the frequency of these moments, that you start to deal with better.
I still have after-effects too.
But I no longer automatically associate them directly with someone dropping something, when there's a loud crash.
That causes a bit of anger in me and I think, "Hey, be careful.
" Several people warned us about post-traumatic problems that would arise six to eight months later.
That's what happened and it was exacerbated by the court case.
Players, who today go about their jobs in quite a sheltered environment, were suddenly confronted with very different things.
On Thursdays they sit in court opposite the bomber, who is 5 to 10 m away.
And many players couldn't cope with that.
They were shattered on Thursday evening and had to play a match two days later.
That was a turning point.
And you saw which players were doing okay, and which players would be better off with a change of environment.
If you don't board the black and yellow team bus, or stay at the hotel, then maybe you'll feel freer again.
And so we had a big clear-out.
Perhaps we needed to do that a year earlier, if we had realized.
But then I'm sure we'd have been accused of scaremongering, of dumping players who were victims of a bomb attack two months previously.
At the end of the day, we couldn't find a better solution, because there is no blueprint.
No club can claim ever to have experienced this.
Then Rapha, Jacob, Jules, Achraf, Ömer, Julian and Marius.
Dortmund's club management changed a bit.
Sebastian Kehl was brought in.
Aki Watzke and Michael Zorc asked me if I could take a look at things.
If I could give any input and ideas.
A few transfers were made to give the team a face again.
But you need a conductor.
The director is Lucien Favre.
He's a very experienced manager.
You can see wherever he's been that his teams play very structured, very attractive football, with lots of possession, and control the game, and he advocates that.
But, and this perhaps differs from certain previous years, he still tries to bring a proper, healthy balance to our game.
He gives the team a clear signature.
What makes the uniqueness of a manager is that you recognize from the style of play, without having to see the uniforms, that this is a team that plays like Lucien Favre, that plays like Guardiola or like Jürgen Klopp.
I can't say what he'd do in his free time otherwise.
I only know him meticulously attending to all the things that are needed to win the next match.
He knows the opposition inside out.
If he's overlooked something, he rewinds the video and shows everyone.
He really wants everyone to understand what he means.
And for us to be like that too.
For us to live football as well.
And that's exactly what we need.
We need the example of how he does it.
Come on, come on.
Hey! He loves watching football, talking football and thinking about football.
He loves standing at the tactics board, tinkering with new ideas to implement.
Someone with his career, in the business for so long, who stills questions things every day, looking for new approaches and solutions, that impresses me a lot.
He tries to improve small details in the players, which all together have a big effect.
I've seen it in a lot of players who have developed in small areas without noticing, but who do things differently from six months before.
You can always improve technique.
And there's a lot they can learn.
Who can make a diagonal pass with left and right? Instead of using the right foot, and you lose ten seconds, and your opponents are already there.
You have to see who can do that.
Who has the potential to do that? In six months, in a year and so on.
At the same time, he's also very, very human.
Very, very happy about things when they work.
As a team, we're always so glad when we see he's glad that something works out that we've practiced.
And that's the special spirit that we've developed since the summer, that we push each other, but also show each other respect, if we've achieved these things together.
Borussia Dortmund has to some extent broken with its own transfer philosophy.
That means they no longer just bank on young talent that can be developed, because last season they noticed that in certain pressure situations the team didn't really seem to fight.
That in some games they even collapsed.
They also lacked a bit of experience.
In our meetings, Matthias Sammer kept describing a certain type of player that we lacked, without us even knowing that Witsel was coming on to the market.
I remember Michael coming to us suddenly whereupon we had another meeting, and he said, "Witsel is coming on to the market, maybe we have a chance.
" And all four of us were totally electrified, because he's the player type that in theory we'd have come up with beforehand as a transfer target.
Morning, Axel.
We call it the king transfer, as Axel is the head of the team in that position.
You never feel like he'll lose the ball.
Even in tricky situations he doesn't lose it.
He gives his all, no matter how it makes him look.
Axel is someone we could have done with in the last few years.
His calm on the ball, the structure, the way he plays football, and prepares for matches and trains.
He's an extremely intelligent player, who dictates and demonstrates the rhythm to this team.
It's was a stroke of luck that he was available, that I got a call saying, "Axel Witsel could be coming on the market.
He wants to leave China.
" With such outstanding quality, I believe he could play a part in any team in the world.
After a great World Cup with Belgium, I thought it was the right moment.
I thought it was my last chance, to return to Europe to a big club.
And also with it being Dortmund, I didn't hesitate for a second.
We progressed through the Champions League very well.
That's quite unusual in the Champions League, conceding only two goals in the group stage, in only one of six games.
We were looking good, very stable.
For me overall, the best game this team played, where you could see the huge potential this squad has, was the home Champions League match against Atlético Madrid.
I think Atlético Madrid is the most difficult team you can play against when it comes to scoring goals.
And Borussia Dortmund tore them apart.
I found that deeply impressive.
For me it was also the best game that Mario GÃtze has played for years.
Jadon Sancho's a real street footballer.
There aren't many of them left now.
People often get called street footballers, but really they've pretty much died out in Central Europe.
We only ever deal in probabilities.
Never certainties.
I'd never say, "I know.
It was obvious.
It was bound to happen.
" There's always a risk, and the younger the players are, the bigger the risk is.
But still, a year ago we decided to pay 7.
5 million for the then 17-year-old, even though he hadn't played a minute in the Premier League.
It was only based on his talent, which we had seen in the England youth teams, that we concluded that the lad needed one to three years before he could help Borussia Dortmund.
But it happened so fast He's still a youth player.
He could play for our A-youth team against Preussen Münster, going by age.
But he has unbelievable quality.
And what's even more amazing, is the consistency of his performances.
I think he's broken every record in England.
The lad has a massive future.
That you can say with certainty! Age isn't a limiting factor for us here.
I really like working with young people, and so does the manager.
Because the aims are often the same.
I think what we've developed well in recent years, is, if you like, the calling card we can present.
So as well as the targets we've set, which are quite ambitious, we're also a good step to take for young players wanting to develop to the highest level.
Jadon Sancho isn't only a gifted dribbler, but in addition to that, which combined makes his greatest skill, even when he's dribbling and moving he looks up, sees a team mate in a better position and then puts in a precise pass to him.
That takes skill.
Not everyone can do that.
Jadon's 18.
We have to be careful not to overload him, as things can come to a standstill for six months.
But he's an instinctive footballer.
He knows the right thing to do from the flow of the move.
You can't coach that.
Either you have it or you don't.
He has the ability to become one of the really great players in Europe.
He needs consistency and to get over difficulties, and to keep pushing himself.
One must never forget how young he is.
All the hype around him this season isn't easy for him to deal with either.
Being confronted with transfer fees in the hundreds of millions at that age, with all the challenges, it's really not easy for him.
He became an England regular very fast and gets lots of media attention there.
So part of what the club is doing is to keep him grounded.
To tell him he'll keep developing, and that he still needs a little time to process it all and to take the next step.
I have no sporting worries about him.
But all the stuff around him, the hype, if he learns to deal with it, with his environment and family, he'll become a great.
But he still has a few challenges to meet.
Franky, do you have a long-armed under-shirt for me? And a short one? Long and short? Long in L and short in XL, please.
Dženis, wait! Wait! This isn't a job, where you sit around, do your work and then go home.
You're totally involved with the club.
You have highs and lows, and I've been through it all.
We've won the league, won the double, we've won the cup.
When things are going badly, we have to stick together and put things right, and we always manage to do that.
Sure, they have moods.
If you have any knowledge of people, then you know whether to speak to Player X now or wait till lunchtime.
You have to be able to do that.
I spoke to them the way they did to me.
If that didn't suit them, they came back two days later and had calmed down.
I have the nerve to do that.
I trained as a mining mechanic for three years.
I did my apprenticeship in the "Fürst Hardenberg" and "Minister Stein" pits.
I was underground for over ten years until I came up for health reasons after I slipped a disk.
It was a great time.
And it saddens me that the last mine has been closed down.
Because with all the pits we had all around Dortmund, something has died out.
And my buddies who are out of work now, you feel for them.
That's how it is.
Dortmund's kit man Frank Gräfen is a real rarity today with his mining past.
An absolute exception.
This connection between mining and football used to be the norm.
That's how Dortmund first got put on the map.
Dortmund stands for steel, iron and coal on the one hand, and for the Hall of Westphalia and Borussia Dortmund on the other.
You virtually breathe that down-to-earthness.
You didn't have to seek it out.
It was just there.
You found it everywhere.
I got to know Adi Preissler and various old warriors there and I was always hearing about the significance of the club for the city and the region.
You absorb that, and there was a massive sense of identity.
All the commotion surrounding it today didn't exist then, The simple saying, "Let's get down to brass tacks", has been the most formative one for me to this day.
I could identify with people who lived by that.
If you ask me today about the breed of people I feel really close to, then it's the people in and around Dortmund.
Despite bad weather, almost 70,000 are packed into the Olympic Stadium for the final of the German League.
Dortmund, in light shirts, vs Karlsruhe.
Following a scramble in the Karlsruhe goal mouth, Niepieklo gets the ball and scores an unstoppable goal.
In the 27th minute, Kelbassa heads in a corner.
2:1 to Dortmund.
Borussia Dortmund beats Karlsruher SC 4:2 and deservedly become German champions.
Before their success in the 50's, Borussia Dortmund were only involved as also-rans.
That changed fundamentally, of course.
In those days the players were all from the area, they were locals.
Charlie Schütz from Lütgendortmund, Lothar Emmerich from Dorstfeld, Willi Sturm, Aki Schmidt.
Hoppy Kurrat was from Borsigplatz, he lived there.
On the right, all in white, FC Cologne.
'63 was the last time the old format of the German League was played.
The odds-on favorites were FC Cologne, with Hornig, Schnellinger, Schäfer and so on.
It was a great team.
We were rank outsiders.
It was unbelievably hot.
I know my parents travelled there by bus.
Goal! When I think that we beat Cologne 3:1, at my young age, that was the greatest success you could imagine.
Being a German Champion at 22 was unimaginable.
Beating Liverpool 2:1 for a big title, the Cup Winners' Cup, was crucial.
They got into the final in 1966, though Liverpool were the favorites.
Aki Schmidt Emmerich.
It went to extra time.
It was 1:1 after 90 minutes.
It was an energy-sapping match.
And as luck would have it, Stan Libuda, a great right winger, both for Schalke and for us, got the ball in the 106th minute and put a long looping chip into the English goal Libuda's ball drops into the goal! Into the goal! Into the goal.
That's unbelievable.
They rolled the red carpet out for us.
People on both sides of the autobahn were waving black and yellow flags.
Right into the city, via Borsigplatz.
The city was filled with people.
You can't imagine what it was like.
And then we really enjoyed what we had achieved.
It was very special for the region here and for all of Germany.
It was the second biggest football success after World War II.
The first World Cup win in '54, and in '66, a German team first won the Cup Winners' Cup.
That boosted people's self-esteem in the region.
Particularly here, where it's all about work, hard grueling work.
For them that was something that they could really look up to.
If we want to be at the top in the end, we need to get hungrier, because the competition are improving.
I don't know if we can.
I ask myself that 20 times a day.
I don't know this team well enough yet.
Everything worked in the first 18 ties.
You walked on the pitch thinking, "So what if they take a 1:0 lead? We'll win.
" It's certainly possible.
But I definitely think that the second round of 18 games will be extremely hard.
Bayern Munich will have a resurgence.
It will be a challenge for us, starting with the Leipzig match, to muster the same desire to win as in the first half of the season.
We didn't win every match 5:0 walking away, some were hard-fought and turned-around.
Can we do that again? Have we drawn any false conclusions from the situation in the table right now? The Christmas tree's decorated, everyone says you're favorites for the title.
There's no reason for us to change our approach, even if we're the team to beat.
So what? So be it.
It's irrelevant.
It will be hard in Leipzig.
It'll be war.
We have to go into the contact, be physically prepared.
They're strong.
Especially in Leipzig.
I don't think they've lost at home.
I wouldn't say the game will decide who wins the league.
But if we do win in Leipzig, we'll stay in an upward spiral, like we have now.
And we have to continue on that spiral.
We knew if we didn't perform in Leipzig, it wouldn't be a great start.
So it was an important game to set us up for the rest of the season.
For one thing, it was a great goal.
You don't score those every day.
It was also symbolic of Axel Witsel in the first 18 games.
He surprised many people by seizing the central role.
He came here, and we all know Dortmund fans are critical of mercenaries.
Then someone comes, who played for years in Russia and China.
And you think, in terms of quality, another league would be enough for him.
So what does he want? Does he just want to cash in? And I think Axel Witsel gave the best answer.
He showed he wants success, he wants to win.
I think he has the best passing stats in Europe.
He's very important.
Now we know why he's called the "lifeboat" in Belgium.
He often saves his team.
If need be, with goals, like against Leipzig.
The win in Leipzig was a big point.
No question.
During the match, I was pretty sure we'd win, because we were in better overall form that day.
Bravo, guys! I've been doing this with Aki Watzke for over a decade.
When there are problems, you may sometimes run the risk of always having the same answers, always reaching for the same textbook, and always using the same recipes to find solutions.
So I think it's good to have someone like Matthias Sammer who isn't part of the club, who observes everything from a distance.
He doesn't have to be there often.
We know Matthias, and the warts-and-all appraisal that he gives, so that we can perhaps come to new ways of solving things.
I was interested, because the next step for me wasn't to return to an active management role anywhere.
I can't and I don't want to be a danger to anyone active in the sport.
No manager or club executive needs to be scared of me anymore in the sense that I'm angling for a position in a club.
- What for? - Saturday.
I've been a player, a manager, responsible for youth players and I've worked in club management roles.
I think I have some understanding of what makes people tick.
And I've made it quite clear I don't want to be any of those things now.
Maybe I'd like to be a player again, but that isn't really possible.
Knowing that has to be the starting point.
So I always try to present arguments from the perspective of the whole.
Then the call came.
I was quite clear that I wanted to get back into professional football, but I also wanted to go to the club I love, Borussia Dortmund.
Because the role hadn't existed in that form, the need for it had grown to some extent over the year.
You cannot simultaneously initiate transfers be having talks, be abroad, complete transfers, and always be the contact person, for the team, for the manager, for players that are maybe injured or are unhappy about not playing enough.
So I thought it was urgently necessary to bring somebody in to help and support us, but who is also a heavyweight.
And I think we made a good choice in Sebastian Kehl.
Let's begin.
What's your take on it from watching on TV? The problems in defense As a calculated pessimist, which one can be in phases like this, you have to prepare yourself for when it gets really difficult.
It was an exceptional reaction by the team to match them.
Leipzig hadn't lost a game at home till then.
So my gut feeling would have been, "If you take a point there, it would be important for team morale.
" The middle was rock solid, in my eyes.
Everything else stabilized as a result.
Especially in the center of midfield, with Axel and Delaney, no question about it.
When it comes to analysis of potential players, Matthias is the one who has lots of input.
At the end of the day, this is a meeting that's intended to give Michael Zorc some orientation and assistance.
Because ultimately he has to make the decisions.
We don't vote on them.
It's clear that Michael is responsible for the transfer area.
And he has to decide.
But he would be stupid if he didn't take the others' assessments seriously.
I discussed it previously with Michael, saying we should open up, due to the realization that the business is getting ever more complex.
And it worked.
Before we start talking about transfer concepts, what is still current from your perspective? Well, Balerdi We've brought him forward to the winter.
The transfer was originally planned for the summer.
Why is this? There was suddenly some pressure from other clubs expressing interest.
And also, even though the transfer would give us options, in connection with our injury situation in central defense First of all, it was very big of Aki Watzke and Michael Zorc to say at all, "We're expanding the team of experts and areas of responsibility.
" Because they also knew they were bringing in two guys who are active in the media, who make their presence felt and have a certain self-confidence about them.
But I think it will all lead to us making better decisions.
To us having an even better team in the future.
Hopefully we'll succeed.
I've brought the up-to-date results from the performance test we did.
There are some changes.
We'll probably have to speak to the rehab department, and to the athletic department about getting one or two to a new level.
Hakimi is a huge talent.
He's much more than just a right-back.
He's fast, he has great close ball control, he's dangerous in front of goal, he has vision.
In many other Bundesliga teams he'd have prominent role in attack.
He could do that.
Without a doubt.
A great player.
A real enrichment for Borussia Dortmund and the Bundesliga.
We have him for another year and a half.
I wonder if Borussia Dortmund can keep him for longer.
If I was Real Madrid or had a say in the matter, then Dortmund wouldn't have a chance of keeping him.
Achraf provided a great assist for my second goal.
He gave his opponent no chance, he stole the ball and played me in.
Nowadays it's extremely important to have wide players in attack, who win one-on-ones and create situations where you have more players.
I've played every three days at this level for ten years, My body is getting older, that's normal, and for young players to come along too, that's part of football.
Achraf is incredibly dynamic and lively.
He's the fastest player in our team.
Seeing these guys deal with situations in such a relaxed way at their age is still hard to believe.
To be honest, only these signings are improving us.
It doesn't help me or the club if we don't improve in certain positions or create competition for them.
It's important not to get discouraged, and also to treat each other with respect and to push each other on to the highest level.
I was born here and spent my whole childhood here.
You absorb the Borussia Dortmund DNA.
I went to the stadium with my parents.
Back then of course, there was no way of knowing that one day I would run out into the stadium and play before that massive backdrop.
So it's really a dream that came true at some point.
So yeah, I'm pretty proud for sure.
I'm going to be a father of a beautiful daughter.
That will bring changes.
I don't want to end up one day wishing that I'd enjoyed my time more.
I think that would hurt me the most.
I'm still finding my way of course, but I know what I want and I've made a solid start to life.
Of course, the injuries were difficult for me, also mentally.
Nevertheless, they were "only injuries".
Other people are worse off.
You have to view it like that.
A bit lower, please.
You know how it works.
A cruciate ligament injury is as bad as it gets.
The team went back out for the second half.
I bandaged his knee.
Then you're in the dressing room and all you can do is reassure him.
He knew fine well something serious had happened.
The doctor checked him.
You virtually grieve with him.
There's so little you can do in that situation.
Now, this is known as the "torture method".
It's not that bad.
- Yes, sure.
There were phases when I really had to struggle hard to bear it any longer.
It was a very difficult time, when you keep on learning about other things going on in the world, to make the world a better place.
I have to say, that cruciate ligament injury, it was That was the most painful thing.
I can reassure him, and convince him with my therapy, that it will work.
You just can't rush such a long process.
Sure, there's pressure from all sides.
The club says, "When will he be fit? When can he play? We need him.
" The manager asks how it's looking.
You're always discussing it.
You can't be swayed by that.
As a therapist, you must go your own way.
It's primarily about the player.
The rest is secondary.
Come on, Thomas, not so hard.
- It's always like this.
I kept telling Marco, "You'll have to go beyond your limits.
And me beyond mine.
Because if we don't, you won't be able to bend your knee the way you should.
" Move your foot forward a bit.
When we're trying to integrate him in team training again, it's walking on the razor's edge.
But it's teamwork.
We have a good doctor, good physios.
We've worked together closely and talked to Marco a lot.
You develop a feeling for it.
Unfortunately Marco has always had the problem of being sidelined too long and too often.
And now we finally have the scenario where he's stayed free of injury for a longer period of time, Now we're seeing what can happen when he can play for six months, when he can make his mark on every match and is involved in goals.
And above all, the development he's made in terms of character.
He coy about it, he doesn't like talking about it, but it is a special honor for him to be captain of Borussia Dortmund.
You sit on the outside feeling amazed how well he's doing personally.
Not just his knee, but how he accepted it and got over such a serious injury.
You celebrate in a different way.
I'm even more glad about every goal than before.
It's great to see things are going so well.
Marco isn't only a player, who makes a difference on the pitch.
He's also extremely important in the dressing room.
He knows the club extremely well and he plays a large part in integrating young players and new signings.
He does that really well.
Marco is now living the role as captain.
He's grown with the responsibility.
You can see how much he enjoys it.
He's playing his best season ever.
It's absolutely world-class the way he's playing.
It may be difficult, but to achieve the impossible with the club, like winning the Champions League, it really motivates you.
That's why you go to the training ground every day and try to improve.
The aim is also for Dortmund to win the Bundesliga at some point.
That wouldn't only be my childhood dream, it would be massive.
For the neutral, it was a festival.
It ticked all the boxes of what you expect from a German Cup tie.
We knew from the start it would be a difficult match.
As well as that, our top two goalkeepers were out due to illness.
That was the day I'd been longing for since I was a boy.
I'd been on the bench for two Bundesliga games.
I got my first experience there.
Of course, I never imagined that they would both be sidelined, and that I'd be playing my first professional match.
Maybe in my hopes or dreams, but I wasn't really expecting it.
The first thing that went through my head was, "Cool, finally I get my chance.
" But at the back of my mind I could feel the tension.
Playing in front of 80,000, and the icing on the cake, it was against my old team.
I knew nearly all of the opposing team.
I'd told him, "Sometimes it's easier to play in front of 80,000 than 5,000.
" The game got off to an unfortunate start for him.
He hadn't yet made a save, and the deflected free kick went in.
Absolutely unstoppable.
Nothing he could do.
We were at home, conceded early.
In that situation we knew they'd sit deeper, play on the counter, making it harder for us to score.
Axel Witsel seems like someone who's seen it all before, who won't get ruffled by any dicey situations.
Against Werder Bremen, where not much was on for the team, with few scoring opportunities, he then drew that foul just outside the penalty area.
He a crafty fox.
And that craftiness is an attitude, which the team, for all its talent in years gone by, has missed a bit.
It was a great position for a free kick, both for me and for Rapha.
The referee said, "Marco, this is the last play of the half.
" And I thought, "Either we come up with something, or it's the old-fashioned way, and we take a direct shot.
" If it went over the wall and came down, I knew it would be hard for the goalie, because the ball was extremely close to the goal.
So I needed to whip it in, so the ball would fall nicely.
Marco Reus had to go off at half-time.
He had twinges in the adductor area.
The goal scorer, the player wearing number 11, Marco - Reus! As a footballer you think you're hardened, it won't be that bad.
I wanted to continue playing, of course.
At the start of the match I noticed it was a bit worse.
In the second half, without Marco Reus, you noticed something was lacking.
Eric Oelschlägel was exuding confidence, and he even got a hand to the free kick by Max Kruse, which was hard to stop, and saved us, so we got into extra time.
That game will have taken him longer than two days to process! When you score in extra time, in the half-hour you have, out on the pitch you start thinking, "Okay, we've done it.
" We were proved wrong.
You have to play till the 120th, the 125th minute, and be at your maximum level, to stay focused and win the match.
It was extremely bitter for Eric Oelschlägel that he didn't look good when it went to 3:3.
That is a personal tragedy.
I don't think it will bowl him over, but it is bitter for Borussia Dortmund.
It was our own fault, And of course it's worst when you're on the bench and want to help the team yourself.
I knew from my time at Bremen how lots of players take penalties.
I knew I'm quite good with penalties.
But overall, I have to admit the Bremen penalty-takers were better.
You can play badly or have no chance, but to lead twice in extra time, then as the home team, and also with the quality we have, you have to see out the win and not let it come down to penalties.
We failed to do that.
Overall, we didn't defend well enough.
It's annoying, to be honest, because we wanted to progress in the competition.
No, we'll do it here.
We were playing Bremen.
Tough opponents for everyone this season.
They're hard to play against.
Good team.
It was 3:3 in the end.
We're out.
But Piszczek wasn't there.
Akanji wasn't there.
Sancho was ill.
Marco went off at half-time.
Two goalkeepers weren't there No one's talking about that?