How do you assess the opening months of the season?
"Our first few months of the season have been positive, even if there was a little dip in form at one stage. But we've put that period well behind us now and registered some decent results and equally good performances across all competitions over the course of the past few weeks. We've placed an increased focus on our play with the ball under Julian Nagelsmann; we've improved and become more varied in that respect."
Do you believe in your title chances?
"I don't think that question makes much sense for us at this stage. It'll only cause us to lose focus on the basic things that have made us strong and successful so far: concentration on the here and now – by that I mean our next game – desire to learn and down-to-earth attitude. It won't achieve anything looking too far ahead. We're still a very young team that would be best served taking one step at a time and then seeing at the end what we can manage to achieve. But it's already a clear aim that we want to establish ourselves among the top four if we can."
What's your take on TSG Hoffenheim?
"Hoffenheim have always had a good and talented team in recent years. They did have a few difficulties at the start of the season, but they've since built up a head of steam and shown they're a force to be reckoned with."
What do you need to pay particular attention to?
"I don't want to reveal too much now but it's clear they can attack very quickly and well; they've always stood out for that. We'll need to be on high alert and thwart Hoffenheim's counters, as that's when they're really dangerous."
Can you sense from Julian Nagelsmann that it's a special game for him?
"It'll definitely be a special match for him; he spent nine years at the club after all. But his match preparations have been as meticulous and focused as they are for all our other opponents. There's no difference there."
Has your qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League given you an extra boost?
"It's obviously an amazing success for us as a team and for our club, which is celebrating this achievement for the first time in its young history. Playing an active part in that is something quite special and it also gives you a push when you've already played a lot of games in the past few weeks and the English weeks are very intense. For every footballer, it's a dream and a big motivation to play in the Champions League for as long as possible."
What's your take on the EURO draw?
"Well, it's not complete at this stage, but it's obviously a really huge group. There's nothing better for a sportsman than testing yourself against the best – it'll be a big and incredible challenge that will require our all."