VfL Borussia Mönchengladbach are up against it as they attempt to reach the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time. Trailing 3-1 to FC Dynamo Kyiv after their play-off first leg, forward Mike Hanke is still hopeful ahead of Wednesday's decider in Ukraine, but is also looking longer term as Gladbach aim to return to the glory days of the 1970s.
UEFA.com: Let's start with the first leg. What was missing from the performance?
Mike Hanke: It's hard to say, but they certainly had better rhythm than us. They'd played a few more competitive games, including against Feyenoord in the last round, and we lost some important players over the summer – Dante, Roman [Neustädter] and Marco [Reus]. To compensate for those losses is very difficult. We can do it, we just need time, but that is what we don't have so we have to make sure that we try everything in attack and score three goals there.
UEFA.com: What can you do in Kyiv?
Hanke: They say that in football anything is possible, so I just believe in that – that we can still make it. We need to go there as a team, not concede – we didn't actually give them that many chances here at home – and score the necessary goals when we go forward.
UEFA.com: You were injured in pre-season – how do you feel now?
Hanke: I feel good, I don't have any more problems. I haven't played a whole match yet, so I don't know if I can last 90 minutes, but when I came on in the first leg I felt pretty good and fit.
UEFA.com: Last season, when you finished fourth, 18-goal Marco Reus got a lot of the attention. Did you feel your role in the team was underrated?
Hanke: No, not at all. It's always like that in football – the person who scores the goals and plays well consistently is the player that gets the headlines. I think we were impressive as a team last season, and we had players in defence like [Filip] Daems and [Tony] Jantschke who hardly received any attention at all. But you must say they also had fantastic seasons.
UEFA.com: There is a lot of talk about the philosophy of your coach Lucien Favre. How do you manage to apply this with so many player changes at the club?
Hanke: We have a lot of intelligent players who can implement his ideas pretty quickly. We should get up to speed in good time – playing a fast, attacking game.
UEFA.com: Do you sense the tradition and history of the club around you on a daily basis?
Hanke: I think we should think about what we can do in the future. We have been building something here. This young team wants to go far – of course it won't be easy to do as well as in the 1970s, but that should be our long-term goal. Borussia Mönchengladbach are very well known around the world and I have felt that since I arrived. The environment, the fans – everything fits together. To be part of this team is something I really appreciate.
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