This season's Bundesliga champion Werder Bremen was helped to its first title in 11 years thanks in no small part to Brazilian forward Ailton, who is also set to become the league's top scorer. DW-World spoke with him.
Ailton led Werder Bremen to the title this season.
It's been an amazing and sometimes turbulent season for Werder Bremen star striker Ailton. The Brazilian's 27 goals to date have made him the Bundesliga's leading forward, but his decision to leave Bremen for Schalke 04 next year and his attempt to play for the Qatari national team also made him the center of controversy. Deutsche Welle asked the player about it all.
Normally the German championship is dominated by FC Bayern Munich . What does it feel like to win the title with a 3-1 victory in Munich against Bayern?
It's the greatest. For the first time I'm German champion, it's an incredibly important title. Only now have I learned the taste of a championship and especially away at Munich against this great Bayern team is something special. It's really fantastic and only those who have enjoyed having a title know the feeling.
You couldn't stop crying on the pitch…
That's right, there are a lot of emotions in play. It's the first important title of my career and I dedicate it to my brother and mother, who have also supported and helped me. At that moment on the pitch after the whistle I could let everything out, lots of feeling and they came in the form of tears, but tears of joy. I'd like to always be able to cry in this way.
You'll end the season as Bremen 's all-time leading scorer after already beating Rudi Völler's record two matches ago and it will be hard to take the crown of the league's best striker away from you. What does it all mean to you?
A lot. It's another victory for Ailton, 27 goals are an excellent result. And taking a place in the history of Werder Bremen is extremely satisfying.
Does the direct comparison to Rudi Völler have a particular meaning?
It's always important to be compared to great players. To be compared to Rudi Völler is amazing.
How did you manage to be such a goal-making machine this season?
With humility and hard work. A striker always has to try to be the leading scorer and should be constantly heading after it. I have been since I've been in Germany. Twice I nearly managed it and this year I'm four goals ahead of (Roy) Makaay and I won't let this advantage out of my hand.
After such a season, and your success with the club, how do you feel about leaving Werder Bremen ?
It happens to every player at some point in his career. I signed the contract with Schalke pretty early and just looked to the future…but I leave Bremen content that I've made my mark as champion and leading scorer. It will be a good departure and I hope the club continues as it has.
In recent weeks there was anger over your comments about Gelsenkirchen where Schalke plays. Do you regret signing with Schalke and turning your back on Bremen where you could have played in the Champions League?
No, Bremen will stay there and I can visit my friends on my free days. It's hard to regret what I'm doing. I believe in the potential of the Schalke team in the next season and I believe we can go where Werder is now.
On another topic: Now that the dust has settled about you trying to play for Qatar , how do you see the whole episode?
I think it was a mistake by the people that organized for me to play for Qatar. There was a lot in the press and that was annoying. I still dream to be able to play for a national side and, of course, I'd like to play for the Brazilian eleven.
Has there been contact to the Brazil team? Do you have chances of playing?
I'm hopeful, but there hasn't been contact yet. I hope the trainer has time to think over what I've achieved in the Bundesliga. You have to show what you can do on the pitch without demanding to play. I'll stay where I am and shoot goals. That's the best way to have the coach see what I can do.