There's a big interview with former Chelsea cult hero André Schürrle in Wednesday's edition of Sport Bild, reproduced by the kind webmasters at MANschaftsbus (a play on the german word for team, Mannschaft, and the heavy manufacturing company MAN that makes, amongst many others things, buses), parts of which, transmogrified through the Google Translate-o-matic, will be momentarily beamed into your eyeballs via this very page.
Which parts? The parts that concern Chelsea of course!
First, there is the part where our favorite André since Tore André, left us after just 18 months to go back to Germany in the 2014-15 winter transfer window, five months before we'd win the title. This one still hurts a bit.
"In retrospect, the change in winter was perhaps a mistake. I came into a team that worked very well and was successful. I was physically not in the best condition, which the responsible persons also knew. At first, it was going well, then I had a hard time, also mentally."
Schürrle lasted just 18 months at Wolfsburg, too, before reuniting with his old Mainz 05 head coach Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund this summer.
I think by now we're all familiar as well as we can be with what went wrong for Schürrle at Chelsea — mystery injury leading to lack of game-time leading to a fairly hefty accepted transfer bid from Wolfsburg — but since you'll be seeing these quotes pop up elsewhere (pile on Mourinho!), let's have them, too.
"[Mourinho] showed me the hard professional life. For the first time, I had to deal with [what it was like] when you suddenly sit [were on the bench] after a bad game. It was really hard but also a great experience with all these stars."
"My self-confidence has grown enormously in London. It was the same as I imagined it with this big club with the blue jerseys. Chelsea was a dream for me. But after I was out for a few weeks through an infection, the coach unfortunately did not [pick] me much more often."
"[Mourinho] is a coach for the win. The team is his tool to win. For me it was important to experience this mentality. To the outside, he never criticized a player, but internally it was [always] really right to the point."
The narrative in the tabloids is making Mourinho the bad guy here — "How ruthless boss Mourinho cut short my Stamford Bridge dream", says the Express — but in the context of that title-winning season, that's a bit of stretch. It's just one of those things, made a bit sadder because Schürrle was as much a Chelsea fan as a Chelsea player; but in the end, it was just business. (Is it any different than what Conte's doing with Pedro over Willian?) Schürrle now understands this better than most, even if he's seeing the same thing happening with one of his idols, Bastian Schweinsteiger, too.
At Borussia, Schürrle's season has once again been dotted with untimely injuries, but he did make his first league start in two months over the weekend as BVB beat Bayern 1-0 to create a bit of a title-race in Germany, with just six points separating 1st from 7th and teams 3rd through 7th all tied on 21 points. He collected his third assist of the season in Tuesday's record-breaking 8-4 win over Legia Warsaw in the Champions League, too.
Schürrle also speaks of his title ambitions in Germany and we wish him the best. Don't forget about us, Shirley!