You have already played 23 competitive matches so far this season. How much are you looking forward to the winter break?
Marcel Schmelzer: I’m really looking forward to spending some days off with my family, however right now we still have to focus on making sure we’re in the best possible position ahead of the winter break. The whole team is focusing on beating both TSG Hoffenheim and FC Augsburg.
You’ve been at Dortmund since 2008, you’ve already won a few trophies there and your contract runs until 2021. What dreams do you have after being at Dortmund for 8 years?
Schmelzer: I want to experience celebrating winning the league again like we did in 2011 and 2012. We have a very young team and we’re still working out how we play well together, however we are definitely capable of winning titles.
You were appointed captain at the beginning of the season. Are you proud of this? What do you think of your role?
Schmelzer: Of course I am proud, as captain I am now amongst the likes of Adi Preißler, Aki Schmidt, Wolfgang Paul, Michael Zorc and Sebastian Kehl, however my main priority is to take on this responsibility and help the team. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I want to make sure that the club and team can reach our full potential.
You’ve shown your comeback qualities by turning things around in your last few games. What do you think of your team this year?
Schmelzer: We have a lot of quality individual players, but we’re too inconsistent. That said, you have to expect that a little when we made 13 transfers over the summer and the average age of our squad is very young. We have to aim towards being more consistent.
There’s a lot more competition in the Bundesliga this season and it’s very close in the top half of the table. Some clubs are currently in the top half even though they were battling against relegation last season. What do you have to say about that?
Schmelzer: We’ve always had a lot of competition, but it’s true that things are getting closer at the top. It’s because these clubs are all doing a good job. It could also be because some teams don’t have to play extra games midweek like teams competing in the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League do. We are still determined to fight off the competition and qualify for the Champions League this year.
Only one point currently separates the two sides. TSG are the only team who are still unbeaten in the Bundesliga. What do you think of their achievements, are you surprised?
Schmelzer: Everyone thinks that TSG are doing a good job. They’re doing well in all areas, both defence and attack. The fact that they are the only team in the league who are still unbeaten speaks for itself.
What will be the decisive factor in Friday’s game between TSG Hoffenheim and Dortmund?
Schmelzer: It’s really important that we focus on our individual quality and work well together as a team. Everyone will find us difficult to play against if we manage to do that.