Ralf Fährmann: We’re staying cool!

The Revierderby is just around the corner, with second in the table Schalke travelling to Dortmund on Saturday. However, current form is of little importance where derbies are concerned, as Ralf Fährmann explains. Here, the goalkeeper talks about the impending showdown and the mindset of the Royal Blues going into the game.

Ralf Fährmann, it’s derby time! Are you ready?
Definitely. The whole week it’s felt like the game is imminent. We can’t wait. The last few days have felt very, very long.

Doesn’t the excitement start to fade after playing in so many derbies?
No, absolutely not. I care too much about Schalke for that. It’s very emotional, as always. I’ve said many times before that there are games that need a bit of motivation. For derbies, you have to make sure you’re calm.

Do you agree that there’s a better chance of beating Dortmund now than there has been in a long time?
That’s more what people are saying outside of the team. We can assess the situation and our place in the table. We know that we’re doing well at the moment but we also know how much class Dortmund have, and how successful they’ve been in recent years. We know what to expect. A derby isn’t a normal Bundesliga game. The form of teams is less important. It’s like a knockout game. All that matters is what happens on the pitch on Saturday.

Nevertheless, in the last five games you have twelve more points than Dortmund…
Even so, we are aware of the strength Dortmund have. They have unbelievable individual class and will want to make amends for their recent results. They have very fast players and are dangerous going forward. We need to concentrate, to approach the game accordingly. We will try to develop a good game-plan, and hope that it’s effective on Saturday. We don’t go into the game as clear favourites. It will be a tussle between two evenly matched teams.

Did you expect to be second in the table at this point in the season?
We can view that as a good performance. We’ve stayed calm when we’ve been unsuccessful, and are still calm and self-critical now. We stay cool because we know we still have a lot of work ahead of us. There are always good and bad periods. We can’t relax, especially since we’re only a third of the way through the season. A Bundesliga season isn’t a marathon; it’s more like an Iron Man. There’s still a long way to go.

Does the lack of European football have an impact?
We said at the start of the season that it can be an advantage. You have more time together during the week to prepare for the games. When you don’t have midweek fixtures you have six or seven days to study and come to terms with the head coach’s ideas. That’s been good for us this season.

One reason for the recent good results is the lack of goals being conceded…
If you say that we’re strong defensively, you can’t leave out the attacking players. They do as much work as we do at the back. They make the opposition work hard and keep the play compact. The whole team is involved – that includes the players who train with us. Clean sheets are for the whole team, not just the goalkeeper. You get into a certain routine in the game. Even if there are setbacks, you remain calm and stable. That’s important for the entire team.

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