Having netted two goals on international duty, Norwegian Alexander Sørloth has returned to Leipzig full of confidence. We sat down with the RBL striker ahead of the top-of-the-table clash with FC Bayern Munich to talk about his development since joining the club, Robert Lewandowski and a particular pre-match ritual.
Welcome back to Leipzig, Alex! Was the international break a welcome change from the daily routine of the Bundesliga?
Yes, it was nice to see my friends in the national team again. We had some success too. We can be very happy with six points from our three games.
You can be happy on a personal level too, having scored two goals. Does that give you a boost for the end-of-season run-in?
Absolutely. I think I can take a lot of confidence from those games. I played three lots of 90 minutes and I'm in a good rhythm. Hopefully I can take those goalscoring opportunities at Leipzig too.
You're really starting to make your mark in the team now. How do you feel about your development here so far?
I think it's been good lately. I'm understanding more of the tactics that the coach wants us to perform on the pitch. It feels more natural to me. I was overthinking things a little too much at the start, which is never good. It needs to be something that is second nature and that's what I'm feeling right now.
It's also important to click with your teammates. Who would you say you work best with on the pitch?
We have a really good team overall. I have a good relationship with Dani Olmo and Christo Nkunku though; they always looks for me in the box and we find each other well.
Saturday night is the big showdown against FC Bayern. What kind of game can we expect?
I think it's going to be a tough game, of course. Everyone knows how good Bayern are. They score a lot of goals and are really dangerous in attack. However, we also have the best defence in the league and hopefully we can match them there. Ultimately, whoever scores the most goals will win the game.
Bayern's top goalscorer Robert Lewandowski will miss the game through injury. As a fellow striker, are there things you try to learn from him?
I look at him closely when Bayern are playing. His movement in the box is particularly special; he always makes small movements to get away from defenders. He also has this incredible hunger. He is never satisfied and is always on the hunt for the next goal, which is really inspiring.
There aren't may points separating us and the league leaders from Munich going into the final games of the season. What are our goals at this stage?
First and foremost, we want to qualify for the Champions League. If we manage that, then it's a good season. Otherwise, we have to think one game at a time and try and take the three points, starting with this Saturday against Bayern.
Do you have any personal goals - perhaps a goal target you want to hit by the end of the season?
No, I don't like to speak about numbers. My first aim is to help the team win, but of course I'm never satisfied if I don't leave the pitch with at least a goal or an assist.
Many of our players have a particular ritual before games. Do you have any?
I have quite a few rituals, but perhaps the most important one is that I always step onto the pitch with my left foot first. I'm not sure why exactly. It's something that started in Turkey and I've been doing it ever since.