After three years in Berlin and 11 years in Dortmund, Lukasz Piszczek is preparing to return home to Poland. "It really doesn't feel like it's been 14 years already. It's gone quickly," explained Piszczek in media interview to mark the end of his playing career. "Now, in the first few days, it's a strange feeling. There's a sense of melancholy that this period is over. Now I'm going on holiday and after that I can go all out and put my plans into action." In the future, he wants to play for his hometown club LKS Goczalkowice and take charge of the football academy there.
Lukasz Piszczek on his special moments at BVB:
"The 11 years have been special for me. As a young child in Poland, I never would've thought I could play for such a big club and do so for 11 years. That means a lot to me. The feeling after the third goal in the Malaga game, when the stadium exploded, and how happy we were. The Champions League final, even if it didn't have the outcome we wanted. But that's all part and parcel of it; there are emotional highs and lows. It hasn't all always been great over the 11 years, but there were a lot of nice and good moments and I will carry those with me."
…thoughts about a potential change of club:
"After our second title, I gave an interview in which I said that I could imagine ending my career in Dortmund. I never thought about leaving. There are different situations in life when you have to change clubs; for example, when a new coach arrives who no longer wants to work with you. Fortunately, that wasn't the case for me. The coaches have changed, but they've always relied on me. So the question of whether I wanted to do something new didn't come up for me."
…the empty South Stand at his final game:
"I knew the situation wouldn't allow for it. It's just the way it is. I didn't think too much about that. I hope at some point I can come over and say thank-you when there are fans in the stadium again."
…the fan choreo & messages in the South Stand:
"It was very emotional when I came out before the game. I saw that the whole South Stand had been prepared. It was very surprising, but I was also very proud to get a farewell like that at a club like Borussia Dortmund. I can only thank the fans for surprising me like that."
…whom he will miss in Germany the most:
"For a year already, I've been missing the fans in the stadium; this energy that is always generated by them. When you're out on the pitch and you see the South Stand full... We've really been missing that and I'll miss that in the future too."
…his painted portrait in the stadium:
"There are some very big names on the walls, that's always impressed me. When I saw my portrait would be painted on the walls too, that was a very beautiful moment for me. That shows the club appreciates me. That's a nice feeling."
...his performances as an older player:
"The game has become increasingly athletic and quick. I've invested a lot of time off the pitch in my development. I've been working with a sports psychologist for six years now; that's what's helped me the most to prepare myself mentally before each match. Before each training session, I was treated by the physiotherapists. I also worked in the weight room. It was a big step for me that I was able to keep playing the way I was at the age of 35."
…the last few weeks:
"When I was given the chance, I wanted to show that I could still cut it. I knew that we weren't in an easy situation as a team. But I have enough experience to know that I could approach the games in a calm manner and simply went about my responsibilities on a pitch in a way that allowed me to help the team. We knew we couldn't afford to drop any more points if the team wanted to qualify for the Champions League next season. You could see that we grew even closer and on the pitch we produced the performances that we had been lacking over the previous months."
…the style of play at the end of the season:
"We knew that we were very difficult to beat. We did a good job of ensuring we were stable as a team. We didn't lose our cool when we had to defend. We remained patient and knew that we had a lot of players with quality up front who could decide games."
Transcribed by Christina Reinke