Eintracht Frankfurt's Marco Fabian has been a fundamental reason behind the Bundesliga side's positive results in the first half of the season. The Mexican told DW that his team has what it takes to qualify for Europe.
A year ago, Marco Fabian joined a struggling Eintracht Frankfurt stuck in the bottom half of the Bundesliga table. His debut was a breath of fresh air for the club as he provided a last-minute assist for Alexander Meier to seal a 3-2 win against Wolfsburg.
However, his promising start fell away as he was unable to command a starting spot and the team continued to flirt with relegation for the remainder of the season, winning the play-off match to stay in the top flight.
Today, the situation could not be more different for Eintracht Frankfurt and Fabian. The club are sitting pretty in fourth spot in the table and Fabian has been in excellent form as a regular starter.
"I base everything on trust, you become more confident with the opportunities that your coach gives you and that translates into performing better on the pitch, on working better, on becoming better-known," said Fabian.
"This has been a learning year in which I've had good and bad moments but the day-to-day work has paid off and I'm grateful to be enjoying one of the best moments in my career."
Eintracht Frankfurt headed to Abu Dhabi during the winter break to prepare for the second half of the season.
Fabian has gained the trust of coach Niko Kovac, who has started him so far in 13 out of 16 Bundesliga matches, in which he has had four assists and has scored three important goals. One of his goals earned Frankfurt a valuable point at home against giants Bayern Munich, the only team that have conceded fewer goals than Frankfurt so far this season.
A dream for everyone
Frankfurt's form so far has surprised many but just how long will the club be able to keep up their momentum?
The second half of the season will be anything but a breeze for Frankfurt. They first face second-placed RB Leipzig in an away game on Saturday as the Bundesliga returns from its mid-season break. The controversial Red Bull-backed team has yet to lose a game at home in their debut Bundesliga campaign.
Nonetheless, Fabian remains positive and believes Frankfurt have yet to reach their full potential. The club's last participation in the European Cup/Champions League was in 1959/60.
"Everyone dreams of being in the top six spots where you get to play in one of the two best tournaments in the world and we have what it takes to fight for it but we have to go step by step," said Fabian. "We need to think of our upcoming match first but we also need to have clear goals and dreams."
Even after a year of playing in the Bundesliga, the former Chivas Guadalajara midfielder and 2012 Mexico Olympic gold medalist has to pinch himself.
"I have always said that it's one of the most important leagues in the world, there are very important teams and some of the best players in the world are here," said Fabian.
"Now being part of it and experiencing it first-hand is impressive, it's a dream, especially being able to represent your country at this level."
Fabian is only the seventh Mexican footballer to have played in the Bundesliga and is currently one of two in the German league along with Leverkusen's Javier "Chicharito” Hernandez.
"It's a tough league and usually Mexican players tend to rely more on skill, more on playing with the ball. German football is more intense, more about running, it's physical," said Fabian.
However, he believes many of his teammates from the national team could play in the Bundesliga.
"We have quality players in many other important leagues in Europe. I don't know why there aren't more Mexican players but there should be. Chicharito and I are here competing and I think we have represented our country properly."
The interview was conducted by Hecko Flores during Eintracht Frankfurt's winter training camp in Abu Dhabi.