Rainer Bonhof: “It did us all a world of good”
Vice president Rainer Bonhof spoke in an interview about the recent home victory against Bochum, the rest of the Bundesliga season for the Foals and Borussia’s transfer activity.
Rainer, how do you assess the 2-0 win against VfL Bochum?
Rainer Bonhof: From many points of view, I am pleased with the performance against Bochum. They fall into a category of sides against whom we have often struggled this season, and they are also in the middle of a relegation battle. The team took on the opposition’s fight and energy well and, after an even first 20 minutes, took more and more control of the game. It was great play leading up to the goal, but we missed the chance to add to our score in a very good period for us leading up to half time, which meant it was unnecessarily tense once again after the break. Apart from the header that hit the crossbar, the team defended quite well. We definitely have to work on being more clinical, because it was unnecessary that we had to wait until injury time to secure the victory when we had chances from the 60th minute onwards. Looking back, of course, it was a great moment for our retiring captain Lars Stindl.
The stadium really erupted, what did you make of the atmosphere overall?
Bonhof: It was a great moment for everyone who supports Borussia. In his almost eight years here, Lars has played his way into the history books of this great club. The fact that no one has been captain at Borussia for so long says it all. The joy of this goal and this victory did us all a world of good; it was the icing on the cake of an overall good performance and a great feeling. It’s normal that the team had to put in a lot of effort after the recent results, but I found it very positive how quickly the fans recognised this and gave the boys great support.
Borussia still have three opponents left to play: Dortmund, Leverkusen and finally FC Augsburg. What do you expect from these matches?
Bonhof: We have three demanding games left. BVB are fighting for the chance to become German champions and Bayer Leverkusen for the Europa League. We’d like to hold our own in both games and put in a good performance, not only because many fans traditionally support us in both away games. And of course, in the final home game against FC Augsburg, we want to go into the summer with a win.
Last week, Julian Weigl was signed permanently after a year-long loan deal. What do you think about this?
Bonhof: Julian had already expressed his desire to stay with us after the loan. I was very pleased from the start that he feels so at home here. He is a great guy and above all a very good footballer. He plays well in central midfield, brings calmness to the game and is comfortable on the ball. He is one of the less noticeable players on the pitch, as he is someone who creates spaces and works for other players. That is very important in this position in front of defence. He is someone who makes almost no mistakes.
The fans are watching transfer rumours and transfer announcements with great interest these days.
Bonhof: I understand very well that everyone wants to know who will be playing for us next season, but the current season is still ongoing and we definitely want to go into the summer break with a positive feeling. As far as transfers are concerned, the team around our sporting director Roland Virkus have done a very good job so far. The fact that Julian Weigl was signed so quickly and the deal was well negotiated is certainly worth another mention. In addition, it’s great that a promising talent like Lukas Ullrich, a leading player in the U19 national side, has decided to join us.
Lars Stindl celebrated in front of the Kurve after the game, and you get the feeling that it’s nearly the time when we have to say goodbye to a few top players. Are you also feeling this sadness?
Bonhof: Of course we will have to let go of two key players at the end of the season, Marcus Thuram and Ramy Bensebaini. After the departure of Yann Sommer in the winter, too, another leading player in Lars Stindl will leave us in a few months. We have to look ahead, however, and we are working on rebuilding the team. I like what has happened so far. We have already talked about Julian Weigl, and Ko Itakura is having a good first Bundesliga season. Nathan Ngoumou is growing more and more comfortable in the Bundesliga, and Jonas Omlin is a worthy successor to Yann Sommer with his quality and personality. They are all good for the team, both in terms of their footballing ability and mentality. We’d like to continue in this way.
Even before the game, there was a lot of noise when Herbert Wimmer was celebrated as Borussia’s new honorary member. Günter Netzer unfortunately couldn’t come. How did you feel about that?
Bonhof: It was a great moment that showed once again that we are a family at Borussia, and that even the younger fans have respect for what “we old people” have achieved. Unfortunately, Günter could not be there in person, but for Hacki, who has never made a big fuss about himself, this was very emotional and I witnessed it all right there. He wouldn’t say it himself but this honorary membership for one of Borussia’s greatest is highly deserved!