Enjoying an outstanding season so far with the Bundesliga's surprise package – FC Augsburg – Halil Altıntop heads into the winter break more than satisified, his side having rounded off the first half of their campaign with a 2-1 win against VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach. Level on points with both fourth-placed Mönchengladbach and FC Schalke 04, there is genuine hope of Augsburg clinching a UEFA Champions League spot. The 32-year-old Turkish forward spoke to UEFA.com about the campaign so far.
UEFA.com: Augsburg have been displaying UEFA Champions League form in 2014. How would you sum up the year?
Halil Altıntop: We have had a great 2014. Last term we reached our goals and in the first half of this season we have put ourselves in a good position for the second half of the season. Now it will be important to back up our 2014 performances in the second half of this season.
UEFA.com: After joining from Trabzonspor AŞ in 2013, did you think things would go as well as they have in the Bundesliga?
Halil Altıntop: After the experience in Turkey, which was very important for me, I wanted to play in the Bundesliga again, because it is one of the best leagues in the world. I had very good talks with Augsburg's officials and right from the beginning had a very good feeling about being here. But one could not really expect things to have gone this well, finishing eighth last season and now going so well this campaign. Other teams are in a much better financial position but we are making up for this with team spirit and cohesion.
UEFA.com: Your brother Hamit is playing for Galatasaray AŞ. Could you meet in the UEFA Champions League next season?
Halil Altıntop: We all remain realistic in Augsburg. We must assess the current situation correctly. For us it is still about getting the points we still need to play in the Bundesliga again next season.
UEFA.com: What was your favourite moment of 2014?
Halil Altıntop: There were many, because we played the best half-season in Augsburg's history with 28 points, then followed it up in the current season. A special highlight was of course our 1-0 win against Bayern [on 5 April], when we ended their run of 53 Bundesliga games without defeat.
UEFA.com: What are your goals on and off the pitch for 2015?
Halil Altıntop: On the pitch, I want to secure Augsburg's place in the league as quickly as possible. As soon as we have managed that, we can look at what surprises are still possible. Off the pitch, I wish for healthiness for my family and me, and to be able to spend as much time as possible with my kids.
UEFA.com: How will you spend the winter break?
Halil Altıntop: I will celebrate at home with my family. It will be exciting with two little kids around. Maybe we will take a trip to somewhere warm for a few days.
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