Virkus: “We want to get the most out of them”
Sporting director Rolan Virkus spoke in an interview about Borussia’s current position, the recent performances of Jonas Hofmann and Florian Neuhaus and the upcoming derby against 1. FC Köln.
Roland, the game against Bremen was a few days ago now. What are your thoughts looking back at the 2-2 draw last Friday?
Virkus: You mustn’t dwell on it too long. It was a game we should’ve won in many respects. We had more possession, more clear-cut chances and were leading twice, but gave away our lead far too cheaply on two occasions, especially with the late equaliser, which was avoidable. We were too open in that moment. It’s really frustrating that we only got a draw at the end and doesn’t feel good.
Borussia are in tenth place after 25 games. How would you evaluate your current place in the table?
Virkus: When you look at our last three games alone against Freiburg (0-0), Leipzig (0-3) and Bremen (2-2), you have to say that we realistically let four or five possible points go. It doesn’t help to get caught up about these points in hindsight, and we should look ahead instead and try to get the most out of each of the remaining games. We have to be more clinical in attack and more concentrated as a team in defence. There are still nine games to go, so 27 points. In the end, every point picked up is important and every place in the table counts, not just from a financial point of view.
Jonas Hofmann definitely had a great game on Friday evening: ten key passes is a record this season…
Virkus: That’s certainly impressive on paper, but aside from the statistics it was an impressive performance to watch from Jonas on Friday evening. He was constantly trying to find spaces and be creative, and it’s a shame he couldn’t reward himself when he had a big chance.
What do you think about Jonas not being called up by the national coach Hansi-Dieter Flick?
Virkus: In the end, that’s the decision of the national coach. Hansi Flick did announce that he would leave some established international players at home. I assume that Jonas falls under this category and that he will be back there next time if he carries on playing as he is at the moment.
On Friday, Florian Neuhaus was in the starting eleven for a second time after his torn ligament and he scored his first Bundesliga goal. What did you make of his performance?
Virkus: I am very pleased to see that Flo has recovered after his long injury and is now putting in great performances. He is getting more and more involved in central midfield, works hard for the team and is good to have in decisive moments. That was the case in his solo run in the home game against Bayern, and his amazing pass to Jonas Hofmann in the game before last against Leipzig which led to a penalty. It therefore makes sense that he scored against Werder, and we are all very happy that Flo is fully back.
Ten players are currently on international duty. Will that have an impact on training this week, too?
Virkus: Yes, there are of course fewer on the training pitch this week. It is and will always be an honour for the players, but also for us as a club when our players are selected to represent their countries, whether they are established in the senior side or chosen for the U21 side like Luca Netz (Germany), Manu Koné (France) and Oscar Fraulo (Denmark).
After the international break, you will face 1. FC Köln away from home. After the game against Bremen, the fans gave the players a clear message…
Virkus: Firstly, I was pleased that the majority of the fans in the stadium applauded the team’s display, regardless of the result. From my point of view, they deserved it for a committed performance, despite the disappointment about the late goal we conceded. I think it’s good that the team received some encouragement and motivation ahead of the derby. The games against Köln are among the highlights of the season, not only for the fans, but for the team.