Bayer Leverkusen v Köln (Friday)
Xabi Alonso: “Tomorrow, we’ll take the first step in a decisive month. We only have four games left in the Bundesliga. If we want to achieve our goals of moving into the European places, then we need to win. The team is absolutely ready for it.
“We’re currently riding a wave. The mood within the team is good; the connection between the team, the club and the fans is right. We want to build on exactly that tomorrow.
“Köln press both with and without the ball, attack their opponent high up the pitch and also have a lot of possession. They definitely deserve to have more points in the table than they do right now. The first half of the first meeting showed what we can expect. We’ve prepared for that in our training this week. We need a healthy balance of passion and control, intensity and emotional stability.”
Steffen Baumgart: “They play well and have improved a lot. I don’t think it’s appropriate to say that Leverkusen isn’t a traditional club. Leverkusen is a very old club. We should respect these structures. Ever since the FC existed, there have been these duels. I hope that the rivalries will be played out on the pitch and nowhere else. We need a nice, peaceful local derby.
“That’s the bottom line. Friday is about sport and nothing else. I worry a lot about it happening peacefully. Football must come first. It can get hot on the pitch for over 90 minutes. My wish is that we all keep our nerves. Football is played on the field.
“We will try to use our chances and impose our football. We’ll have to have an outstanding day to do something to improve the quality of Leverkusen. I’m happy to play this game with my boys.”
Mainz v Schalke (Friday)
Bo Svensson: “They won a very important game and the last four games are also very important for them. There is life in the team, they are playing with a lot of fight, commitment, and determination. We know what to expect tomorrow. It will be a gritty match and I am eager as to how we will deal with it. We are playing at home under the floodlights and in a full stadium, and I expect a match between two highly motivated teams tomorrow.
“We are competing with three teams who have very different resources. Nevertheless, we want to try and finish ahead of them, and we still have four games left to do that. For me, however, what I have been saying all season still applies: that we try to perform according to Mainz’s principles. We’ve done that well and we’ll see where we end up in the table at the end.”
Thomas Reis: “The team is determined to do better than they have done on their travels recently. Coming from behind to win against Bremen has given us a real boost.
“Mainz plays at a high intensity, gets stuck in and operates with a lot of passion. We want to do better than we did in our last two away games. We want to win in Mainz.”
Freiburg v RB Leipzig
Christian Streich: To follow…
Marco Rose: “We both have the goal of the Champions League , so the away game will remain difficult, just like the cup tie before. Freiburg will certainly adjust a few things. Christian Streich was able to look at a few things, and we also saw a few things in the game. Freiburg’s style of play is clear and it’s important that we bring the same energy to the field tomorrow .
“The course of the game can be different and then we have to react to it. We will certainly go to Freiburg with confidence, but we also know how difficult the task is. We were very efficient on Tuesday because we were confident and consistent, in defence, in switching . It’s about getting back on the field. It’s the great art of always being on top with this rhythm in the crucial areas and winning football games that way .”
Hoffenheim v Eintracht Frankfurt
Pellegrino Matarazzo: “Frankfurt’s form is not our focus. They play in a 5-3-2 with a compact attacking press. They have good speed up front and a certain inventiveness; plus, they have individual players who can decide games. However, we’re first and foremost focusing on ourselves.
“There is pressure in every Bundesliga match. We realise that the situation has come to a head, but there has already been a tougher situation this season. Now is the moment to turn up. If we manage that, we’ll win the game.
“Any support does us good. We need the fans in the phase we’re currently in. They showed us in the very difficult phase that they’re there for us. We need them again in a tricky period – we’re hoping for their support once more.”
Oliver Glasner: “We want to back up the away win at Stuttgart with three points in the league at Hoffenheim. We’re happy that half the stadium will be full with our fans. We can expect a very good footballing opponent. TSG has a lot of power, creativity and speed going forward, but they also concede a lot of goals. We have figured out how to use our strengths and their weaknesses.
“We’re 3 points behind in 7th place, Wolfsburg is playing in Dortmund, we’re playing Mainz next week and we still have a lot of chances in the table. We’re not thinking about the final now. It means: Full power and full focus on the Bundesliga!”
Borussia Mönchengladbach v VfL Bochum
Daniel Farke: “Every Bundesliga game is important. On Saturday, it will come down to showing a reaction and picking up points. We have the chance to regain some confidence and to get the fans and momentum back on our side. The important thing is that we end the season strongly and that we’re able to get the team performing to the best of their abilities.
“I’m glad the criticism is levelled at me and not at the lads. The following things are important to me: I want to make sure that we achieve the aims and expectations set forth by the club and the fans, and that the club is well set up for the future. This season, I’m looking to achieve the best possible results with the team.
“We know that we have a lot of work to do over the summer and that we need a rebuild. We’ve always been transparent about saying exactly that. It’s about ensure the club are well set up for the future. We need to bring in new energy. That’s what I’m focused on.”
Thomas Letsch: “We have relegation in our own hands. We want to use this chance, ideally with a win in Mönchengladbach. We’re going to Gladbach to win the game.
“Borussia Mönchengladbach is a strong team that aims to show their qualities in possession. In some games they didn’t show the consistency either. No team in the Bundesliga is constant, which is why it is exciting in all regions of the table. Anyone who beats Dortmund and Bayern at home has a lot of quality. Gladbach succeeded.”
Augsburg v Union Berlin
Enrico Maaßen: “Everything is now in our hands and we want to pick up all three points on Saturday. We need the fans full support, and we want to give something back to our fans!
“We have got points in two games in a row now and gave away little in both matches, this is the baseline. It’s difficult to play against them [Union]. We prepared with a purpose for Union, the boys are fired up for the game.”
Urs Fischer: “We have always struggled against FCA. Augsburg have a compact and well organized team, they play very physically and aggressively. They like to run up high and try to stress the opponent. This will once again be a difficult task.”
Hertha Berlin v VfB Stuttgart
Pal Dardai: “The boys have to keep working like they have in the last few days. They have been working like angels since the Bremen game. If you stay persistent and keep going then the points will come, which we also need! In Munich, we saw a team on the pitch. The team has to stay compact like that. The most important thing is that we have confidence among ourselves, the fans will always be behind us.
“On Saturday, we have to send out a team with a winning mentality that can win the game for us. Football has its own dynamic. Winning is important – not explaining how to win. Four games, four wins – that’s the motto we’re living by!
“Stuttgart have pulled away a bit recently, but they are an opponent that we can beat at home. Every team has their weaknesses that we have to take advantage of. I don’t think that their DFB-Pokal game gives us an advantage.
“We do have an advantage because we are playing at home! I obviously still know their head coach Sebastian Hoeneß. He trained with us a few times during my time working here. He is an honest lad with great character, a good guy, just like his father.”
Sebastian Hoeneß: To follow…
Werder Bremen v Bayern Munich
Ole Werner: “We have to concentrate on doing everything we can to get our chance. That also includes having the luck of the game on our side to a certain extent. In the games where Bayern dropped their points, effectiveness made the difference.
“For us, it’s all about the basics of football: the compactness, the duel, the mutual support. If you do that 100 percent, an opponent of this quality can still have a solution – and then you need a certain mental stability.
“Obviously not many are counting on you as a promoted Werder Bremen against record champions Bayern Munich. Nevertheless, with a good performance of our own, we can get into a position where, with a bit of luck, something will work out in the end. We have to be uncomfortable and look for our chance.”
Thomas Tuchel: “Every single player deals with this situation differently. Some think we can lose something, for some this situation is particularly appealing. We have to be focused but also relaxed. Every player needs to focus on their performance. We take care of the process. It’s a close title race, we have to go through now. We can’t afford any ups and downs.
“Bremen have a very offensive basic formation with two forwards. They have a dynamic line-up in the ten position and someone on the flanks in Mitchell Weiser who plays almost as a winger. The Weserstadion is always special at a night game, we have to be ready for that and stand up to it. We have to play our game and be very careful when defending against the counterattack. Defensively we have to be clear in the duel.”
Borussia Dortmund v VfL Wolfsburg (Sunday)