Following Thursday morning's training session, midfielder Julian Brandt fielded questions from journalists in a media round and spoke about the upcoming game against Bayer Leverkusen, the defence and the Europa League.
The goalkeepers were the first ones on the training pitch for Thursday morning's session. The remainder of the BVB first-team squad then appeared promptly with two minutes to go before the session started. After the warm-up, head coach Marco Rose put the lads through a heading drill: divided in two teams, the players threw the ball up in the air and goals then had to be scored via headers. The approximately one-hour session then finished with a passing drill.
Afterwards, midfielder Julian Brandt fielded questions from journalists in a media round.
Julian Brandt on upcoming opponents Leverkusen:
"I'm always delighted to play against Leverkusen because I still know a lot of people there and also played alongside many who are still there. Our matches over the past few years have always been turbulent and high-scoring, both in Leverkusen and in Dortmund. We will need to prepare ourselves very well and stay focused."
"The goals we've conceded are a problem that still occurs frequently. We often defend well but not consistently across 90 minutes. That's not something that can be switched off over night, but you need to stick at it and work hard on it. We're not doing it intentionally; everyone would welcome a few clean sheets for Gregor. Against Leverkusen in particular, it would be a very good step forward if we could concede as few goals there as possible."
…the training sessions:
"We did intensive tackling drills yesterday, both in offensive and defensive situations. Being compact, defending in the box – they are all topics. The coach will set additional focal points in the coming days in areas where he feels we can still improve."
…reasons for the goals conceded:
"We've been playing an very extreme pressing game this season. I don't believe that one can perfect that within the space of several months. I played a pressing game for two years under Roger Schmidt; every detail has to be right in the end. If you're always lacking one or two boys in the press or you don't apply it consistently, it's easy for the opponent and they have a great deal of space. I believe that we're currently in a development process and we haven't yet perfected it. However, we should stick at it because it also offers us an extremely large number of options. The Freiburg match is the best example: if we win the ball back in the opposition half, then there's not far to go to reach the goal. One always wants everything to work immediately and be implemented to perfection, but a playing style like this one needs time."
…the absence of Erling Haaland:
"We already had a spell earlier this season when Erling was injured and we managed to come through that respectably. We have good players. The midfield and attacking players have to score more goals. But on that point, too, I'm in positive spirits and believe in the boys. On the one hand, we hope that things will go as quickly for Erling as he hopes; but on the other hand, I'm not afraid of the next few weeks just because Erling is a bit injured. We have enough boys who can score goals, provide assists and win games."
…his own form:
"The game in Berlin towards the end of the first half-season was a thorn in my side, because it was a bitter evening. In recent years, I have been accused of not getting enough scorer points. I want to progress in that regard and achieve something tangible. In my case, it's a process and there will always be one or two games where people are not satisfied with me. I know that the expectations are high, but I'm still confident that things will continue the way they went in the first half of the season."
"We would do well to stay humble in the next few weeks and go about our business with great seriousness, while at the same time not looking too far ahead. It's always nice to talk about certain season objectives and imagine what it would be like at Borsigplatz. But in the end, that's the wrong approach in my view. We would be well advised – especially in view of the results over the past month or two – to concentrate on the basics. The ball starts rolling again in a week and three days and then the English weeks get under way. Every one of us has objectives. I would like to achieve the maximum and win every game; the other players would like that too. But it's not always that easy. There are formidable obstacles. If we continue like we did in the Bundesliga – I'm excluding the cup game – then there's a positive trend for us to build on."
…the Europa League:
"We're playing in Glasgow, a beautiful destination for any football romantic. We're really up for it, in spite of our disappointment that we did not progress through in the Champions League. But sometimes you need to accept things the way they are and every competition represents an opportunity too. We'll try to go as far as possible."
Transcribed by Christina Reinke