Alexander, after the joy of winning the derby, your concentration has now switched to the next matches. Has training felt differently this week?
Definitely. We were so happy that we had won a game again after the derby – unfortunately we haven’t had much success in the Rückrunde. A victory against the Black and Yellows is obviously something special too. We can’t rest on our laurels now though. We have three tough games coming up, which we all want to win.
The first of those games is on Sunday against FC Augsburg, who changed their head coach three weeks ago and then subsequently beat Frankfurt 3-1 and Stuttgart 6-0. What were your thoughts after seeing those results?
Against Stuttgart they scored almost all of their chances. It was a really impressive performance. Nevertheless, we have to focus on ourselves and win our own points.
What are Augsburg’s strengths?
They fight as a team. Before they changed their coach, they had a clear game plan. They attacked second balls well and used the flanks a lot. Under Martin Schmidt they play slightly differently. Our coaching team will ensure that we are perfectly prepared for that.
It doesn’t matter how we win, as long as we win!
What is the team aiming for on Sunday?
It doesn’t matter how we win, as long as we win! I’ll be happy if it’s a scrappy win too. It will be a different kind of game to the derby, but equally as difficult.
If Stuttgart don’t win against Hertha on Saturday, we could secure our Bundesliga safety on Sunday. Will you be keeping an eye on the game in Berlin?
No, I’m not particular interested in it. I will concentrate 100% on our game, as those are the 90 minutes that we can influence.
You have made many impressive saves in the last few weeks. Has your preparation changed for games since you have become the number one?
My pre-match routines have remained the same. Obviously it’s a different feeling on a matchday, knowing at breakfast that you are playing and not sitting on the bench. Despite that, I don’t stress about it, in fact quite the opposite: I look forward to every game, even if we are under pressure.
How do you deal with pressure?
Of course my situation has changed. Before the winter break, I only played a few games instead of Ralle. Now it is different and I have to perform every week. I don’t have any special rituals. I simply try to stay composed and remain relaxed.
I look forward to every game
Your ex-club Paderborn could be promoted from the 2. Bundesliga. Do you hope for a reunion game against them next season in the Bundesliga?
I have been following their whole season and hope that they can end with a promotion. Because I grew up there, I have a special relationship with the city and the club. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for them!
In a few weeks, the U21 Euros begins. Have you started to think about the tournament?
If I’m honest, even though it’s my first big tournament, I haven’t thought about it yet. At the moment, I am fully focused on ending the season on a high with Schalke.