MONCHENGLADBACH, Germany -- Mario Gotze said he's happy to be playing alongside of Marco Reus and Andre Schurrle as Borussia Dortmund narrowly beat Monchengladbach 1-0 on Sunday for their third league win on the bounce.
It was the first time that Gotze, Reus and Schurrle were together in the starting lineup for Borussia Dortmund, as several injuries sustained by all three players prevented them from starting together for one and a half seasons.
"When all three for us are fit and playing together, then it's very good for the entire team," Gotze told reporters after the match. "We understand each other well on and off the pitch and that makes the difference. It worked very well today and we are already looking forward to playing together in the next games."
The three friends linked up for BVB's goal in the 31st minute with Gotze playing a long diagonal ball to Schurrle, whose square into the box was picked up by Reus to set up an excellent strike that caught goalkeeper Yann Sommer too far off his line.
Reus, who had only played 97 minutes with Gotze prior to Sunday's match since his return to BVB from Bayern in 2016, revealed that it pained him to not link up with his friends more often.
He said: "Of course we were joking about the fact that we're playing together for so long now but never actually on the field. And at some point it simply hurts, especially when you see what great teammates you have, how intelligent they play."
However, the 28-year-old was not entirely satisfied with Dortmund's display, as the visitors were outshot by 28 to seven and conceded 60 percent possession to the hosts in the second period.
"In the first half you could definitely see that we combine together quite well but you also have to say that we failed to escape the pressure in the second half," Reus said. "Curiously, we didn't want to have the ball. Twenty-five to seven shots for Gladbach is a lot. If we score a second goal, then the game is sealed."
Meanwhile, a big talking point throughout the match was the subpar condition of the playing field.
Dortmund manager Peter Stoger said: "It was a hard-fought win. In the first half we played well, but in the second half we could hardly find into the game. We were not physical enough, did not win enough second balls.
Stoger then added a backhanded compliment directed at the hosts: "I also have to say that Gladbach did exceptionally well to play so great on such a catastrophical pitch. At the end of the day we got the win over the line with an extraordinary goal and an superb goalkeeper performance."
Gotze found similar words for the pitch, saying: "The first 20 minutes were a bit like figure skating for me. I've rarely seen [such a bad pitch] but you have to accept the conditions as they are."
Dortmund move into second place with the win and will look to progress to the round of 16 of the Europa League on Thursday, entering the reverse leg away to Atalanta with a 3-2 advantage.