In preparation for Wednesday's Bundesliga Klassiker against the (domestically) struggling Borussia Dortmund, Pep Guardiola and media director Markus Hörwick sat down for the customary press conference with the sports media representatives.
FC Bayern Press Conference, October 31st, 2014
Today, we find out that Pep really doesn't like answering questions about one of the opposing players.
Here are the questions and answers (my interjections in italics):
On the excitement and anticipation for the Klassiker - Tomorrow is not a final, it's for 3 points. I know, in the last few years, this has been a big rivalry with BVB. We will try to win the game (good thing, I thought they would play for a 0-0 draw, or a strategic loss)
On how important a good result is for the BL championship - Not in October. Of course, it's a big opponent, a tough game, even tougher under these circumstances. But, we're in October (well, technically, the game will be in November), it's only 3 points. If this game was in April or May, it's a different situation.
On whether Arjen Robben, who has scored all the important goals recently against Dortmund, will be playing - I don't know. Today we have our last practice. He has improved in the last few days, but not 100%, so we will evaluate him today.
On what a coach like Jürgen Klopp feels like in a losing streak like this one - (6 losses this season, currently 4 losses in a row) I don't know BVB's situation, I'm not there, so I don't know. In football, the next game is the most important. If you lose or you win, you analyze what needs to be done. The past means nothing, neither does the future, all that matters is now.
On whether Pep has ever lost 4 games in a row - As a player, of course, not as coach. In a long career as a coach, that can happen, and I'm sure it can happen to me.
On Klopp's comment that behaving badly when things are going well will come back to haunt you - (In Dortmund's press conference, when addressing the repeated comments made by Bayern management about Marco Reus' buy-out clause, Klopp basically implied that karma would get Bayern in the future) In football, in life, the past is not important. You won't always win, you won't always lose. When I analyze a team for the next game, I don't look at their position in the standings. My opinion of Dortmund is very high. In tomorrow's game, we will see the best BVB, it's impossible to think that they will not play at the highest level (It seems that Pep didn't understand the question, despite Markus Hörwick's translation,as he is not really addressing the question) The last 4 games at home, we have lost 3 out of 4 against this team. They have great players, we will see great performances.
On whether Dortmund will play differently because of their current position - (15th in the league, 7 points total from 9 games, 1 point above relegation) I'm not thinking about what will happen if we win or we lose, or what happens to the opponent after we play them. I'm only focused on what we need to do, our game, our tactic. We won't change our tactics from the past year and a half, just because of one opponent. On Sunday, we start preparing for Roma, after that Frankfurt, then we get a break while the national team players are gone. We are only focusing on us and our game. Sure, it's a special game for me, because they are a good team, but it's only 3 points, and it's October. Last season, we lost 0-3 to them, and we won the BL title.
On whether it will be a chippy game, due to the rivalry and the strained relations between the clubs - I know how important this game is for our fans and for BVB's fans, but I'm sorry, for me only our tactic is important. They have quality, what do we need to do to control that quality, what are their weaknesses, and how do we attack them. That's it.
On why Bayern has so much trouble against Dortmund - They are an outstanding team, that's the reason. They have outstanding players, that's the reason. Of course, our playing style is great for them. We play 40 meters in front of Manuel Neuer, and for them, that's great.
On whether Pep can change tactics for this game - No. I'm sorry (that gets a laugh, the coach apologizing for not changing tactics) If I thought that we could win by playing in our penalty box, I would. But I trust that the further away we are from our penalty box, and the closer we are to Weidenfeller's box, the more chances we have of winning. I'm sorry, from the very beginning, in the 4th division in Spain with Barcelona's reserves, my time with the senior Barcelona team, and here, is to always play up front. Sorry.
On how happy he is with the team's playing style - Compared to last season, much better. We're not perfect, but much better. Our possession game has more purpose, possession for the sake of just passing is nothing, our passes are made to set up the next pass, to be able to attack. Last season, our possession was slower, from the backline to the midfield, then to the forwards, we won games, but I wasn't happy with the playing style. Having Xabi Alonso here, and with Philip Lahm in that position, our play is a little faster. That's why we are scoring more goals, and allowing less ( he's right, this season they have scored 21 and allowed 2, last season they scored 19 and allowed 4, after 9 games).
On whether the team will be even better after the winter break, because Pep has said the team still needs time - Of course, that's why I'm here. If we can't play better by the Rückrunde (second half of the season), we'll stay home.
On whether Mario Götze is more important to the team since his WC-winning goal, and is Pep giving him more responsibility - I'm very satisfied with Mario Götze, also because he's a very professional player. He's here an hour early, his life is focused on football. We can't forget that he is still young, but we are here to support him.
On who is currently the strongest competitor for the BL title, since Dortmund is having trouble - You can ask me that question in March or in April, and I will tell you which team is our strongest rival for the title. Right now, Dortmund is still our strongest competitor for the title. A few years ago, Bayern had an 8 or 10 point lead on Dortmund after 7 or 8 games, and Dortmund won the title at the end of the season. In October, the point lead doesn't mean anything. But this season, I said from the start that Leverkusen has a strong team, and Gladbach, with Lucien Favre, as well, and Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg are there as well. We have to try to win and keep our lead on our opponents.
On whether the fourth official has the most thankless job, having to stand between two very emotional coaches like Pep and Klopp -He won't get any problems from me. He's not Bibiana (Steinhaus, the 4th official from the Gladbach game, with whom Pep had a bit of a run-in. He does get some laughs for this answer.)
On how much of an advantage it is for Bayern that Philip Lahm doesn't have to worry about the national team - It was his decision, but in the last 10 years, his level of play was the same for Bayern, whether he played for the national team or not. Always at a high level. But I think his wife is very happy, she has more time with him now.
On what fascinates Pep about Marco Reus - Next question, please (he didn't look very pleased when the reporter followed up with another question about Reus coming to Bayern, and again didn't answer).
On which Dortmund players Pep thinks are the most dangerous for Bayern tomorrow - Immobile is not slow, neither are Ramos, Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, or Reus. If we turn the ball over, we will see the real Dortmund. If we want to control the counter attack, we could give them the ball, that would be better for us, but that won't happen, because I want the ball.