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17.06.2020Bundesliga

Paulinho: ‘I’ve recharged my batteries’

In the 1-1 draw at Schalke, substitute Paulinho forced his opponent Miranda to turn the ball into his own net and thereby played a key part in securing the point. Bayer 04 are now one point ahead of Borussia Mönchengladbach in the race for a Champions League qualification spot. Ahead of today’s Rhineland clash with FC Köln behind closed doors at the BayArena (kick-off: 20.30 CET), the 19-year-old talks about his fitness levels and the end of season run-in.
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Paulinho, thanks to the draw at Schalke 04, qualification for the Champions League is now in your own hands. How important is fourth place to you?
Getting the club into the Champions League was our main target from the start. And now it’s down to us to achieve that target on the pitch. The championship is in the home straight and we have to be on top of our game.

You certainly made your mark when you came on and you played a key role in the equaliser. How do you see your role at the moment?
I’m always ready to go when the coach needs me. Of course, I’d like to continue to get chances to play to maintain my rhythm. I’m in good shape and I think I can help the team with goals, assists as well as in defence.

It’s always been exciting against FC Köln in recent years. How do you think you should play?
It’s a derby. In a game like that, there are emotions that create energy and motivation is high. We definitely want to win. For our main target in the league but also for the fans.

FC Köln haven’t won since the restart. What methods do you want to use to break down Markus Gisdol’s team?
We have to use the situation and be brave. We’ve got so much strength up front and we should use it.

The games are coming thick and fast at the end of the season. How are your reserves of energy?
I’ve fully recharged my batteries. I’m not used to taking it easy, I always give my all. As I haven’t played that many games, I’m raring to go and help out.

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