Jerome Boateng and the Oktoberfest make old bedfellows, as the summer signing is strictly teetotal. Nor was he about to make an exception, even for the world's biggest beer festival, which he visited on the Bayern squad outing last Sunday. "I had soft drinks and that was fine by me," the Germany international told DFB.de, "but it was great fun, and it's definitely a good thing to do."
The 23-year-old is currently en route to Istanbul, where Germany meet Turkey in their penultimate Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday. "It's been a terrific qualifying campaign so far, and none of us is thinking we can ease up. We're determined to continue our run," announced Boateng, who may or may not start for his country against the Turks.
However, his commanding performances in Bayern colours over recent weeks can have done his cause no harm at all, both in his favoured position at centre-half or as a stand-in full-back. FCB have gone 10 games without conceding a goal, "but that's always the result of good work by the whole team," the defender insisted.
The player says he is as strong and fit as he has ever been in his career, still only a matter of five years old. He endured a lengthy spell on the sidelines with injury last season while with Manchester City, but spent part of the close season rebuilding his fitness in the USA. "It helped me a lot," he revealed. On arrival at FCB, he was taken under the wing of fitness specialists Thomas Wilhelmi and Andreas Kornmayer. "They do a really good job. I have a feeling I've added a new dimension physically," Jerome said.
Awaiting maiden league goal
The player has settled rapidly into his new life and feels totally at home in Munich. "The mood in the dressing room and at the club as a whole is superb, and everyone's respectful and open with one another," he reported. His goals for the next couple of months are to help Bayern remain top of the Bundesliga and continue their excellent start in the Champions League. He is also determined to work on his own skills: "Posing a threat in attack is part of being a defender in the modern game," said Boateng, who has only one goal to his name since turning professional.
"One of my targets for this season is finally to score my first goal in the Bundesliga," he revealed, "and it needn't stay at just one." Off the field, Boateng has set himself another challenging target. His English is already perfect, but he is now determined to master another 'foreign' language: Bavarian. "I already understand nearly everything. I'll soon get the hang of the rest of it. I can already say Servus [the conventional Bavarian salutation] really well." Mastery of the dialect and a successful first visit to the Oktoberfest show just how well Jerome has settled in Munich.