“A t t h e mo­ment, B a y e r n area­head­o­fus.ouraim is­to­clos­ethe­gap”

FourFourTwo - - INSIDE DORTMUND -

Pierre-em­er­ick, what did you know about Borus­sia Dort­mund when you joined the club from Saint-eti­enne in 2013? PEA: Ev­ery­thing. Af­ter all, this is a very pop­u­lar club. I re­mem­ber watch­ing the team with Jan Koller in the side.

At first you played on the wing, which seemed a nat­u­ral role for you. How did you be­come the cen­tre-for­ward? PEA: When I was young, I al­ways played up­front. Then, when I turned pro­fes­sional, coaches liked to play me in mid­field more be­cause of my pace. But I al­ways saw

my­self as a striker.

Marco, you’re also very fast but have al­ways been an at­tack­ing mid­fi­fi­fielder mid­fielder – isn’t it un­usual to put the team’s quick­est player at cen­tre-for­ward? MR: Ac­tu­ally, I think it makes per­fect sense. Op­pos­ing de­fend­ers know how fast he is and so they make sure that there are no long balls over the top of the de­fence. They in­stinc­tively drop back, which gives the other at­tack­ing play­ers

more space. I think it has al­ways been his best po­si­tion. He pre­vi­ously did well on the right wing, but over there he didn’t have the free­dom he needs for his game.

Bay­ern seem to be run­ning away with the league ti­tle. What are your chances of win­ning sil­ver­ware with Dort­mund? MR: At the mo­ment, Bay­ern are ahead of us. It has to be our aim to close the gap, but this will take time. How­ever, that doesn’t mean you can’t win ti­tles here. Look at the club’s his­tory. Look at how much sil­ver­ware they have won. PEA: I def­i­nitely think we can win ti­tles with Borus­sia – and soon, maybe this year – be­cause we have a great team. We have lost two cup fi­nals in a row [against Bay­ern and Wolfs­burg] and now we want that tro­phy. We also have a chance to win the Europa League. That’s why I don’t want to leave the club now. I hope we can win some­thing this sea­son.

Un­like Marco, you’ll prob­a­bly never play at the World Cup. So why did you choose to rep­re­sent Gabon rather than France? PEA: That’s true, but I made the de­ci­sion with my heart, not my head. Maybe it would have been eas­ier to play for France. But go­ing to the World Cup, or win­ning the Bal­lon d’or d’or, while play­ing for Gabon is a big­ger mo­ti­va­tion. I also made the choice be­cause of my fam­ily. I talked it through with my par­ents – they felt

it was the right de­ci­sion.

But all that trav­el­ling must be a ter­ri­ble strain. MR: He’s fly­ing a lot lot. Some­times he re­turns from a mid­week in­ter­na­tional on the Fri­day. How­ever, the peo­ple who don’t know Auba some­times don’t re­alise just how hard he is work­ing for what he wants to achieve. All that work has now paid off with him win­ning the African Foot­baller of the Year award.

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