It's matchday seven in the 2015/16 Bundesliga season, and the "English weeks" continue. Maybe you heard about the last game, which you may have missed, since nothing exciting (like this) happened, but it's off to Mainz to try to continue the record start to the season. So, far, Bayern has matched their 2012/13 season start, in terms of points (18) and goal differential (+17), but have actually scored one more goal so far. Even though they have won all six of the last Bundesliga games against Mainz, it's not always easy wins at the Coface Arena, like last season's late, 90th minute 2-1 win.
Pep Guardiola and media director Markus Hörwick sat down for the customary press conference with the sports media representatives.
FC Bayern Press Conference, September 25th, 2015
Here are the highlights of today's questions and answers (my interjections in italics):
On whether Mainz is a favorite opponent, considering the record over the last six games - (FC Bayern sports a perfect 6-0 record over that time, with 16 goals scored, and allowing only three) In my two years here, we've played them twice in Mainz. Last year we scored late to win 2-1. It's an uncomfortable place to play, and an uncomfortable team. But, it's the Bundesliga, all the games are tough.
On what Mainz is like - Quality coach, quality players, dynamic team. They don't have big forwards, like [Bas] Dost or [Stefan] Kiessling, they're all fast and dynamic, good counterattacking, very aggressive. They have talent with [Yunus] Malli, they're a good team, they've had good seasons, first with Jurgen Klopp, then Thomas Tuchel, and now with Martin Schmidt. Good club.
On comments by Markus Gisdol about Pep getting favored by refs when interacting with referees - (In this week's game between Hoffenheim and Dortmund, Hoffenheim's coach was thrown out of the game for being aggressive towards the assistant referee, including grabbing him by the arm. He complained that Pep gets away with stuff like that all the time) I've talked to Marcus, everything is cleared up. I have good relationships with my colleagues. They want to win, I want to win. Coaches are calm sometimes, sometimes they're emotional, that's part of our job. I try to do everything to be respectful to my club, my colleagues, the referees.
On whether Pep agrees with Gisdol being sent off - I didn't see the incident, sorry. We were at the Oktoberfest (one of those personal trips Pep had mentioned last week that he wanted to make. The official annual team trip will be on September 30th).
On Karl-Heinz Rummenigge's 60th birthday - Happy birthday! I haven't called him yet, because he wants to spend time with his family (Rummenigge took off with his family for a quick vacation, because he has said he doesn't like big celebrations for his birthdays. He did the same for his 50th). One of the most important people at this club, he's spent his whole life here (well, adult life), as a player and in management. I wish good health, not just for Kalle, but the whole family, and good luck.
On a contract extension - (Earlier this week, Rummenigge had said in an interview with Bild that he was optimistic that Pep would sign an extension, and that he expected to start contract negotiations in a few weeks) Next question, please (standard answer from Pep for any question about his future at Bayern).
On whether Pep is annoyed that Gisdol got him involved - No, no problem. In Barcelona, it was the same thing, that I was favored by the referees. I understand his opinion. Sometimes, I deserve a red card, like what happened with Bibiana [Steinhaus] (the fourth official last season that Pep got in trouble for inappropriately touching on the sideline). I can see why Marcus would compare the two incidents. I always want to treat the fourth official with respect.
On whether the way you approach an official makes a difference - We have to control ourselves, of course. But, never in my life have I said or done anything inappropriately with a referee (well, except for putting your hand on a fourth official's shoulder). It's a boring topic, you know.
On whether Pep and Bayern are favored by referees - I don't think a Catalan coach gets favored. I don't call up the referee, I don't invite them out to dinner... I had a very good relationships with my colleagues in Spain, and also try to have that here.
On the ongoing "English weeks", who will be available - For me, the next game against Mainz is important. Yesterday, the players had a day off, the doctors said everything is good, but we need to wait until practice.
On when Robben will be back at practice - He started running, but I think he needs a little more time.
On whether he will fly to Catalonia to vote - (Catalonia is having a referendum to decide whether to secede from Spain) I voted yesterday, at the Spanish consulate. I did my job.
On Pep's thoughts on Robert Lewandowski - (Assuming you have not been living under a rock, the Polish striker had an OK game on Tuesday) Do you know who Stephen Curry is, from the Golden State Warriors? When he is hitting three-pointers, one after another, at that moment, I was saying he [Lewandowski] is our Stephen Curry. It's insane, five goals in nine minutes. When you score a goal, it takes you 45 seconds to a minute, after all the celebrations. It's almost impossible to score five goals in nine minutes. I don't think we'll see something like that again. Of course, it's good for the team, thanks for scoring five goals. It's also good for his confidence. I hope he sticks that in his pocket, and starts thinking about the next step.
On the progress of Kingsley Coman and Douglas Costa, in the wake of Robben and Franck Ribery being injured - They're both young players. If we want to play with two players on the outside, they are very strong. Mario Gotze did a very good job too last game. We are very happy, we got two great young players for the coming years.
On how much Pep misses Robben and Ribery - A lot. Just like with Javi Martinez and Holger Badstuber, I want the players that have been injured for a long time to come back as soon as possible. When they're injured, I'm as sad as they are.
On needing them for the important games - I need them all. In the last three games, everyone played. We can't play with only 11 players. They have to compete against each other, but if they keep competing like they have, they will all play.
On speculation in the English press that Pep will be the next coach of the English national team - Oh, come on, next question (Pep is visibly annoyed). Next question, please, come on! (knocks on the table) No, I am coach at Bayern Munich, ok? (knocks again). Thank you (and walks out the door with a wry smile on his face).
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.