In preparation for Saturday's Bundesliga matchday 7 contest against 6th place Hannover 96, Pep Guardiola and media director Markus Hörwick sat down for the customary press conference with the sports media representatives.
FC Bayern Press Conference, October 3rd, 2014
FC Bayern's coach, Pep Guardiola, is familiar with the Hannover 96 coach, having faced off against Tayfun Korkut back in their playing days in Spain. Guardiola was in his last season with Barcelona, before heading off to Italy, while Korkut was playing with Real Sociedad. Incidentally, Xabi Alonso also knows the German-born former Turkish international, from his own time with his first Spanish club.
Without further ado, let's get to the questions and answers (my interjections in italics):
On the fitness of the team, after 7 games in 22 days - Very happy with the team. At Bayern, you always have to win, but our play is getting better every game. The preparation time was short, but no complaints, it's only October.
On thoughts about Tayfun Korkut - Good player, did a very good job in Hannover as coach after taking over last season (Korkut replaced Mirko Slomka, who was fired mid-season), installed a new system, his team is always well organized.
On the lack of scoring - This is similar to the beginning of last year, where we created many chances, but had trouble actually scoring. It's a little better than last season, but, I have no doubts about the forwards, they are all very talented, sooner or later they will start scoring a lot.
On tomorrow's lineup, and whether he will rotate - Don't know, won't make the decision until after the last practice (this afternoon, local time).
On whether Manuel Neuer will get a rest - We have two good backup goalkeepers in Pepe Reina and Tom Starke, but Neuer is currently in great form (sounds like there won't be rotation in between the pipes this Saturday), but the season is long.
On whether Bastian Schweinsteiger will play this year - He'll be back, sooner or later, but don't know when exactly. He's getting better every day, but needs time.
On Bastian riding the stationary bike like he's Miguel Indurain (former Tour de France winner from Spain) - Unfortunately, we play with a ball, not a bicycle. He needs time, just like Franck, and they will both get time.
On whether Bayern is playing Total Football right now - No, far away from it right now. Bayern is controlling games, but we need more offense and aggressive play in the last few meters, still a long way to go, but it's still only October.
On Jérôme Boateng's status - He trained well today (fully participated in the team practice), he was benched as a precautionary measure against CSKA Moscow. He is sensible when dealing with his physical issues, tomorrow I will talk to the player and the doctors.
On whether Thiago will be available for the Bremen game (first game after the Euro qualifiers) - (Pep gestures for the reporter to take it easy) Thiago is at the last step of coming back, but we don't want any setbacks, he may be back in training during the international break, but we want him to play the rest of the season.
On whether Pep is surprised by how quickly Xabi Alonso has become an important part of the team - Alonso is an intelligent player, he interprets what the team needs. He could do this with any team and any coach, midfield players like him have to read the game, and play for the team, as opposed to some other positions.
On whether Alonso is getting more support now - (this is a followup question to the comment Pep made a few weeks ago, that Alonso would die if he was left on his own, and had to run as much as he has in his first few games) Xabi can't play a game every 3 days for 5 weeks straight. Nobody can! Well, except maybe Philipp Lahm, that guy can run and run and run, unbelievable. Due to the injured midfielders missing, Bayern can't play an up and down type of game, it's too much for the central midfielders, so Bayern has to play a more controlled system. When everyone is back, we can play more up and down the field.
On whether Pep is surprised about Dortmund - (currently in 12th place, already lost 3 games, 7 points behind Bayern) Guaranteed, they will be back at the top. They are capable of running off 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 wins in a row. It's still October (I think I see a theme here), nobody has ever won the Bundesliga in October or November. March? Maybe.
On whether he would switch with Dortmund - NO!
On Matthias Sammer's contract situation - (It was reported in the media that Sammer had already signed an extension through 2018, this question was answered by Markus Hörwick) The reports are wrong all around, there is no contract extension yet. This is a matter for the Aufsichtsrat (supervisory board), until there is something official to be announced, it will not be discussed in public.