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Eintracht Frankfurt vs Bayern München: Press Conference Roundup

We listen in on and pick out the important stuff from Pep Guardiola's press conference before every game, be it Bundesliga, DFB Pokal, or UEFA Champions League.

Alexander Hassenstein

In preparation for the last Bundesliga game before the next international break (where four Bayern Munich players get to whup up on poor little Gibraltar) against Eintracht Frankfurt, Pep Guardiola and media director Markus Hörwick sat down for the customary press conference with the sports media representatives.

FC Bayern Press Conference, November 7th, 2014

Here's a shocker: a lot of the questions centered around a minor injury to a little-known scrub called David Alaba. Oh, and Sebastian Rode's return to his old stomping grounds.

Here are the questions and answers (my interjections in italics):

On what it will take to make the "10 most important days of the Hinrunde" into a "very good 10 days" - (Bayern won 3 and tied 1 in that span) It's our last game before the international break.  Most importantly, we played well, in Gladbach too, we dominated them, they were stuck in their penalty box for 90 minutes (slight exaggeration, Pep, Bayern were somewhat lucky to not lose that game), the other games, we won, we did a good job, I'm satisfied with our performance.  We have one more game, against a strong team, they score a lot of goals (Frankfurt has scored 17 goals, but given up 19), they are tough to analyze, because Thomas Schaaf (Frankfurt coach, longtime Bremen coach) plays many different systems. We have already qualified for the next rounds in CL and DFB Pokal, so we can focus on the Bundesliga.

On how big of an impact David Alaba's injury has on the team, and what needs to be changed - (Markus Hörwick  provides an update: Alaba had his surgery without any complications, he will be a in a cast for two weeks, then will be fitted with a moveable splint, at which point he can start his rehab) It's always hard when a player has to have surgery.  David Alaba was a very important player for me, you can do anything with him.  It's hard to find a player of David's quality.  But, ok, the surgery went well, and I hope that he will be back with us after Christmas.

On which player will move into Alaba's position, Juan Bernat? - No, not Bernat.  David has played in the midfield, he has played in the 3-man backline, he can play defensive midfield, or LB.  Juan might be able to play midfield, or up front, but that's not his position.  To replace Alaba's quality, his aggressiveness moving forward, his understanding of the game, we don't have a true replacement. (A reporter interjects that he has to replace him) Yes, we will play with 11 players (that gets a laugh). We have quality players, of course, but Alaba can play any position, there are not many of those types of players, not just at Bayern, but in any other club.  He never complains, doesn't insist on playing one position, accepts that wherever I ask him to play, that he has to do that to help the team.  There aren't many players with that kind of mentality, that's why he's so important.  But, the most important part is that he gets healthy now.  We have to deal with this situation, that's something that every coach has to deal with.

On how important it is to get Bastian Schweinsteiger back - I think he may be able to train this week, while the others are away on international duty. It's the next step in the process (there is speculation that Schweinsteiger may be able to return for the BL game against Hoffenheim). I don't need to say anything about Bastian's importance.  He's had a long career, lots of experience, has won everything, he's one of the most important players in the history of this club, and Germany. Of course he's important for me.

On whether he will let Sebastian Rode play against his old team - (Rode played at Eintracht Frankfurt from 2010 to 2014) It's possible, but, especially after a short rest, I wait until the last practice to make up my mind.  I usually reveal the lineup an hour before the game, the players don't know who is starting, they all have to prepare like they're going to play.

On Arjen Robben's availability - (Robben had to sit out against Roma due to an intestinal bug, and wasn't able to practice on Thursday) I think he can practice today (he did), I will talk to him to see how he feels.  If he is ready to go, he will have to fly to Frankfurt (Markus Hörwick  interjects that Arjen is always ready to go, even when he's sick).

On Sebastian Rode's development since moving to Bayern - It may sound funny, because he doesn't get a lot of playing time, but he is one of my favorite players on the roster.  He is a good player, and doesn't complain about being on the bench.  If you have guys like that, you will have a good season.  Sebastian is always listening, always wants to improve, never complains, always helps the team, he's a great player to have, and I hope he can play more in the future (ummm, isn't that up to you, Pep?)

On what Rode's best qualities are - He does a lot of running, always trying to help the team.  He needs to slow down a little when he has the ball, he tries to do things too quickly sometimes, he needs to calm down, and look around.  But he's young, and with his desire to improve, he'll succeed.

On how hard it is to focus and motivate the team, now that CL is done for a while - We're only 4 points ahead, we need to focus on the next 7 BL games, and try to extend our lead.

On the danger of things getting boring, if Bayern keeps improving - Last season, at every press conference, you guys said it was impossible to improve, and then we lost to Real Madrid.  Of course we need to improve, we can improve many small details, which are all important in the end.  It's a long way away, we are still in November.  It's nice that we have time to improve, we haven't accomplished everything yet.

On which details need to improve - I know which details need to improve, the team knows them too (the reporter says they want to know too) No, no, that's not necessary.

On how dangerous Wolfsburg is, who are 4 points behind - Their improvement over the last few years has been very good, they bought very good players in Gustavo, de Bruyne, Olic, they have a super coach with lots of experience. It's not easy to win 5-1 (Wolfsburg's latest result in the Europa League), of course they are contenders for the title, along with Gladbach.

On the improvement of Juan Bernat - The most important thing when you're getting a player is to know that they can handle the pressure of a big club, being expected to win every 3 days.  I am actually surprised that a 21-year old, who doesn't speak German, in a new club, has been able to play that well. It's not easy to find a left back.  He's calm, a very easy-going personality.  I hope he can learn some German words in the next months.

On how Pep judges Bayern's performance on corner kicks - The last few days our set pieces were better.  Mehdi Benatia made contact with the ball on some corners, that's the next step to actually scoring goals.  Before, we didn't even get chances, at least now they're making contact (boy, the bar has come down quite a bit, hasn't it?).

On which backup keeper will be back first - The first-string keeper for the reserves, Ivan Lucic, is almost back, he is training with us now, and I think Pepe Reina will be close to ready after the international break.  Tom Starke needs a little more time, because he had surgery.  But we have Leopold Zingerle, we were surprised, he trained very well with us, but, of course with Pepe and Tom, we will be better.

On Germany playing Spain in a friendly - I am excited about the game, I know some of the players for Spain, and now I know a lot of the players for Germany, it should be a good game.  Spain plays forward a lot, and so do the World Champions (still feels good to hear that).  I'll have some white wine and sit in front of the television.

On the impact of the train strike on this weekend's game - (Markus Hörwick answering) We were planning on flying to Frankfurt anyway, so it doesn't affect us.  Our partner, MAN, has provided extra buses for the fans to travel there. The only thing we ask is that fans head to the game early, because the situation around the stadium will be tough.

On what to expect from Frankfurt, who are currently in a slump - I never look at a recent result for our next opponent.  Every game is different, when teams play Bayern, they put in their best effort.  Sure, if we analyze the latest results, or the recent years, then we should win.  But it doesn't work that way.

On what Pep thinks of games against tiny countries like Gibraltar - I think Germany will win (he says that with a straight face).

On whether it's fair that Gibraltar gets to play as a country, but Catalonia doesn't -We can't play as Catalonia, maybe in the future, but not now.

Disclaimer - Due to the nature of having a coach whose native language is not German, the translation of the quotes is not exactly word for word, but includes some interpretation on the part of the author of this article, in order to more accurately portray what the coach is intending to say. There is some necessary guesswork involved.

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