In part one of an exclusive interview with Bulinews.com, 18-year-old Gladbach and United States defender Joe Scally reflects on his season so far, including his side's 5-0 victory over Bayern, his first Bundesliga goal and the best players he has faced.
|Photo: Borussia Mönchengladbach
Speaking exclusively to Bulinews.com, the young full-back looks back at what has been an eventful season so far.
It's only been around a year since you joined Gladbach from New York City FC. Now you’re a regular starter in the Bundesliga and received your first call-up to the senior national team last month. How does it feel to look back at what you have accomplished this season?
"This season couldn’t have gone any better for me personally. It’s definitely been a dream start to the season. It's been amazing, and I just want to keep going."
Are you starting to get used to this new reality or do you still have to pinch yourself sometimes?
"A little bit. I guess you could say it’s becoming normal. But I still always think: 'Wow, I’m playing in the Bundesliga, it’s one of the best leagues in the world'. It’s just everyone’s dream. To be doing it consistently like I am now is amazing."
Have you been surprised with how well you have been doing?
"I always knew my ability. At the same time, I have great teammates and a great coach around me, who help me on the field and in training. Their support gives me the confidence to show what I can do."
What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
"My strengths are defending and running up and down the side. I think I can still improve on my attacking side with more dangerous crosses and better in the final pass."
Do you feel like you’ve become a better player since the season started? In which ways?
"I definitely feel I've become a better player in terms of positioning and getting used to the speed of the game. It was all new to me in the beginning, but I know what to expect now because I play week in, week out."
With Ramy Bensebaini and Stefan Lainer back from injury, how do you see your chances of staying in the starting eleven long term?
"I think I've done very well so far at this stage of the season. I just want to keep performing like this and keep pushing. It's all about the team. I'm ready, whether I'm starting or coming off the bench. Hopefully I can keep playing, but that's up to the coach to decide."
What characterizes Adi Hütter as a coach? What’s it like to work with him?
"He’s a very good coach. He has a lot of trust in me. He corrects me when I’m wrong, tells me my mistakes and teaches me different ways to play full-back to keep getting better and better. He just always pushes the team, helps the team. He’s very calm. All in all, he’s just a great coach."
Do you feel most comfortable playing on the right or left side of defense?
"I don't really mind. My main position coming here was right-back, but I love both positions. I’ll play wherever I’m needed."
Do you like playing as a wing-back more than playing as a full-back?
"Yeah, I really like playing as a wing-back. You get to attack more and get more cover in the defensive area. Everyone loves to attack and get assists and goals, so that's the role I prefer."
What are your aims for the rest of the season? Both individually and for the club.
"Individually, I just want to keep getting a lot of minutes, keep getting assists, clean sheets and to help the team as much as I can. For the team, we want to finish in a Champions League spot. We are doing so well in the cup, hopefully we can keep progressing in that and maybe even win it."
Speaking of the cup... In the last round, you thrashed Bayern 5-0 and absolutely dominated the German champions. How did you experience that game?
"It was crazy. I think it’s the most fans we have had in the stadium so far this year. They are always really behind us and kept getting louder and louder with every single goal we scored. To dominate the champions for the past nine years like that was crazy."
You scored your first Bundesliga goal against Wolfsburg a few months ago. How did that feel?
"That was great. When I got the ball from Yann [Sommer], I was able to head it and see that no one was in front of me. Of course I got nervous because I was on a breakaway, but when it went into the net, I went straight to my team and celebrated. I’ve watched it on YouTube like a 100 times afterwards."
Which of your teammates and opponents have impressed you the most so far?
"A teammate who has impressed me a lot is Lars Stindl. His finishing is amazing, and he’s always able to score somehow. That's very impressive. When I came here, I noticed right away that he was scoring goals with his right foot and left foot very easily. No one back in New York was able to do anything similar. With regard to my opponents, I would say Leroy Sané and Alphonso Davies have been some of the most difficult players to come up against. They're both so fast and so good technically. [Moussa] Diaby also gave me a hard time."
Keep an eye out for part two of Bulinews.com's exclusive interview with Scally, which will be out next week.