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Raffael: 'It's a dream come true'

Borussia Mönchengladbach can rightfully look forward to Champions League football next season. DW's Daniel Martinez speaks to the Brazilian whose two goals in Bremen sealed the deal.

DW: After 37 years, Borussia Mönchengladbach will play against the best clubs on the continent. The target of the Champions League has been reached. How was that experience for you?

R: For all of us here, it's the reward for long and serious work. We've also beaten our rivals this season in the Bundesliga - Bayern, Leverkusen, Wolfsburg … There's joy all round here.

And you've helped make it possible - your two goals in Bremen secured Champions League qualification.

It couldn't have gone much better. It feels really good to go into Borussia Mönchengladbach history.

Has Borussia Mönchengladbach established itself as one of the leading clubs in Germany?

The Bundesliga is a league of huge quality. When we started the campaign, we knew exactly where we wanted to go, but we weren't quite sure where we'd finish. We have set ourselves a target, but it was obviously clear how difficult that would be to achieve it. To get third-place in Germany is already a massive challenge.

Is it not clear to you given how Borussia Mönchengladbach has finished the season in the table?

In the Bundesliga, there are stronger and richer teams than Gladbach. That's why it's even more valuable what we have achieved this season. If you only think of our limited resources, then the finish is a source of pride.

How is the team set up to deal with the difficult tasks of next season?

Gladbach has enough quality and time to prepare for these tasks. When the time comes to play in the Champions League, we will be ready to make a good impression. The basis of the team is good, but maybe you need to adjust one or two things. I'm sure that like in every year, good players are committed.

Fußball Bundesliga Lucien Favre und Raffael

Favre and Raffael worked before at Hertha Berlin in Germany

Can the team compensate for the loss of Christoph Kramer and Max Kruse?

Next season, new players will come in. Our hope is that they can help us. It's a shame that Kruse and Kramer go, but that's not unusual in football. We will miss them both, but changing clubs from time-to-time is part of our jobs.

Which type of player does the team need?

That depends on the position. Essentially intelligent players who are ready to work hard for the team.

They stay in Mönchengladbach and will meet the best players in the world next season.

Playing in the Champions League realizes my greatest ambitions. I'm now getting the chance to prove myself at the highest international level. But that doesn't just concern me, for the whole team as well. We've earned this opportunity.

In particular, the coach Lucien Favre who has worked for a long time on this.

He has worked really hard to achieve this goal. Playing in the Champions League is a result of his commitment.

It's clear that you enjoy having his full confidence. Why is that?

It's actually really simple: all of my development as a player is a result of his work. I owe everything to him for what has happened to me. I have no words to describe this special relationship between me and the coach. Lucien and I: we're the protagonists of a great story to be told sometime.

What's your target for next season?

To go as far as is humanly possible …

What about a clearer picture?

Do you want me to tell the truth? The only thing I've planned recently is our holidays, where my family and I can enjoy the free-time. I don't think about next season just yet.

This Interview was conducted by Daniel Martinez.

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