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Bayern Munich vs Hertha Berlin: Jerome Boateng Press Conference Roundup

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

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Shalke beaten in Gelsenkirchen, to open up an eight point lead on second place?  Check!  Olympiakos finished off at the Allianz Arena, to clinch their CL group?  Check!  Now, it's on to face Hertha BSC, the club from the capital, who are surprisingly in a Champions League spot (fourth), and are tied for third-least goals allowed (behind Bayern, Ingolstadt, and even with Wolfsburg).

Unfortunately, Bayern's coach, Pep Guardiola, was not available this morning to talk to the journalists, so Jérôme Boateng jumped in to replace him in the customary press conference with the sports media representatives.

FC Bayern Press Conference, November 27th, 2015

As media director Markus Hörwick explained before the start of the presser, Pep had a death in the family (a cousin), and flew to Spain this morning.  He is expected back in the evening, while his assistant, Dominc Torrent, would run the final practice.  Of course, the media doesn't mind using a personal tragedy to fabricate sensational stories, so the rumors have already been circulating that Pep has signed with Manchester City, and that is the reason for his absence.  Don't you just love the sports press?

It's not clear why someone like Matthias Sammer didn't take over the press conference, as he's done a few times in the past when Pep needed a break, but Boateng was probably chosen due to his leadership status in the club, and the fact that he is originally from Berlin, and came up through Hertha's youth system, to start his professional career with the capital club.

Here are the highlights of today's questions and answers (my interjections in italics):

On the rumored signing of an extension through 2021 - (Boateng is currently signed through 2018, but rumors have been circulating that he is very close to signing an extension) Not yet, but it looks positive, and as I've said before, I'm very happy here in Munich, so I can see it happening, and I'm very satisfied here at FC Bayern.

On what "Not yet" means - "Not yet" means not yet.  I don't really have more to say.

On whether the signing could happen real soon, and even get announced tonight - It could happen quickly, but don't ruin the surprise (it sounds like the deal is very close, maybe even already done, but Boateng has been instructed to not give anything away).

On what is the deciding factor to signing an extension, other than money, which other clubs can afford to offer more of - Certainly the sporting aspect of it.  I am completely happy here, and the team is doing really well.  I think I've developed well here, feel very comfortable here, it feels like a family to me, those are the most important points for me.  Sure, there are some additional details on top of that, but I currently see myself in Munich.

On Jerome's thoughts on his development since coming from Manchester City, and developing into the best inside back in the world - (Jerome says "Thank you", and flashes a shy smile) Sure, it always been a process, and part of it is that it's not always forward progress, there have been times where things were a little harder, where you can say "What can I do better?"  I'm happy that things have worked out, whether it's in training, or with Pep, where I've learned a lot in the tactical area.  I've become more calm in build up play, on the ball, and it's a lot of fun of course to play on such a great team with such fantastic players, where you can always improve yourself, playing Champions League and national team, always going against the best in the world, I think that has contributed.

On what arguments to give Pep Guardiola to not go to Manchester City - (The rumors  that Pep was going to Man City after this season started a few months ago, had mostly died down, and now flamed up again, due to the coach missing this press conference.  Jerome smirks a little as the question is being asked) No, that is the coach's decision, but I think he knows what he has with this team, just like we know what we have in him.  But that won't influence his decision.

On what Jerome's gut feel is - Gut feel?  That's tough, I can't look inside the coach.  We would be, and I would be personally, happy if he stays here.

On his thoughts on his old club, Hertha Berlin, and the good development - Very positive.  I'm happy that they're so far up the table.  They've shown good results and good games this season.  Tomorrow probably won't be easy, they'll likely come out very defensively, play for counter attacks, and we have to adjust to that (well, not really, that's the standard approach in the Bundesliga these days against Bayern). Like in the last games at home, we need to hit the gas from the very beginning, and approach it with concentration.

On the comparison between the triple-winning team of 2013 and the current team - (Pep recently made a comment that the team is now what he envisioned) I see it in a positive light, we have almost all the players on board, the internal competition is big, which helps the team, because nobody can lean back and rest.  At the moment, we're playing on a very high level, but we know we can do better (that's a scary thought for the competition).  It's gone really well in the Hinrunde, but we need to work hard, and stay on it in the Rückrunde.

On getting to relax and enjoy the Christmas break - It was important to secure a spot in the next round of the Champions League, which we've done now (clinched the group already), but now it's Bundesliga and [DFB] Pokal, all games we want to win.  Before that, we shouldn't worry about getting a rest.

On whether signing his extension, along with a Pep extension, is at the top of his Christmas wish list - (Jerome smiles again at the reporter sneaking in a Pep-contract question) Those are wishes that I would have, but, first in line is that all the players stay healthy, and that we win the games before Christmas.

On whether he's ever thought about leaving Bayern - Up until now, I haven't had any thoughts about transferring or dealing with other clubs (will that "up until now" spark the English media to report that Boateng is thinking about switching to Man United?  I wouldn't bet against it).  There are always inquiries from clubs, but that's part of the business, but I'm very happy here.

On whether Hertha's current success is a fluke or a positive development - I hope it's a development.  I still follow that situation as a Berliner every now and then, and I think they have a very good coach in [Pal] Dardai, things are fitting well, and I hope it continues.  Maybe not tomorrow, but after that.

On having contact with Mitchell Weiser, and his performance - I had contact with him a week or two ago.  He's done well, has fit in well, and is now playing U-21 (German national team), that makes us happy.

On whether he's gotten over the attacks in Paris - Yes, I'm over it.  Clearly, it wasn't an easy situation, it's not that easy to shake off.  We've come out of it stronger, and now we concentrate on what we love, and that's football.

On Jerome's thoughts on Bayern's plans to sign extensions with the core of the team, in light of all the money available to English clubs - Of course I think it's good, it's good for the team to tie up core players, it absolutely makes sense.

On whether there is a clause in the new contract, never to have to play right back - (answered with a smile) No, that's not in there, but everybody knows that I don't want to play there.