Nuri Sahin has started just his second Bundesliga game since his return from a long break due to injury. After the match, he spoke to DW about his fitness and his role in Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel's midfield.
DW: This was your second Bundesliga start since your injury layoff. How do you feel after getting a couple of matches under your belt?
Nuri Sahin: I feel great. I need games. When I play the games, it will be better every game, every day. I need my rhythm, but it feels good.
Dortmund's midfield seems to be very flexible at the moment now that so many depth pieces are back. How does it feel for you as a midfielder to be used by the coach in the position you feel most comfortable?
It feels great. We need the squad, this whole squad, to reach our goals for this season. I am happy that I can help the team and get my minutes.
You played just over an hour against Mainz. How close are you to being fit to play a full 90 minutes?
We'll see. I could have played a full 90 minutes today, but at the end I felt a bit tired so it was ok. I was off for one year; it is a long, long time, so it's ok. Maybe getting 60 minutes today, in a week I'll get 75, and it will grow. It depends also on the game I play on the pitch, so everything is fine.
Dortmund have played two matches a week for five straight weeks. How much of a toll has battling on three fronts been taking on the squad?
If you watch us play, you can see everyone wants to play and everyone is sharp. Even every three days we play now, it's unbelievable. We have the Europa League, the German league, and the cup also, but our goal is to be there until the end. We want to be in every tournament, so we need this. Everyone is sharp to play, and it is ok. We need this, and that is why we play football.
Turkey qualified for the European Championship this summer. How much are you keeping an eye on that? Are you in contact with the national team?
I was out for a long time. The story should be always to play good year and to be in the focus of the national team. I was in contact the whole time during my injury. My national team coach (Fatih Terim) was here and we had good conversations. We spoke about my rehab and the Turkish national team. Of course every football player wants to play in this tournament. But first of all, I have to be healthy, and when I play my games here, I will automatically be in the focus of the national team. Of course, it is one of my goals, and when 2016 started I said to myself I want to be fit and in the pot to go there at the end of the season.
Thomas Tuchel played you as a No. 6 in front of the defense against Mainz. Where do you ultimately see your role in this team?
Well I can play the No. 6, I can play the No. 8. If you play two No. 8's I can play there. I think my position is central midfield, that's clear. I can play a little bit offensive; I am not the No. 10 to be honest, I am a No. 6 or No. 8, but I felt ok where I played today and it was good.