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Hamit Altintop: 'Our destiny is in our own hands'

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Hamit Altintop: 'Our destiny is in our own hands'

Postby FCBayernNews » Fri Mar 30, 2007 3:40 pm


Turkey's football fans found a new national hero last Wednesday, when 24-year-old Hamit Altintop struck two late goals to salvage a 2-2 draw for his side in a Euro 2008 qualifier against Norway. Altintop will pull on the red shirt of Bayern next season, but for now his energies are focused on winning the Bundesliga title with Schalke 04. On Saturday, he faces his future club in a match with an enormous amount at stake for both sides.

Ahead of the weekend meeting, the midfielder spoke to a reporter from Bayern's match-day programme, discussing this season's title race and his ambitions with the Munich giants.

<b>Interview: Hamit Altintop</b>

<b>Question:</b> Hamit, Franz Beckenbauer has already congratulated Schalke on winning the title...

<b><i>Altintop:</i></b> "OK, we're certainly in with a great chance, because our destiny is in our own hands, but there are still eight games to go. Provided we maintain our concentration, I believe we'll make it. We're in a good position at the moment."

<b>Question:</b> Do you think Bayern still have any role to play in the title race:?

<b><i>Altintop:</i></b> "If you're only looking at the points, then it's possible. We've not forgotten 2001 [<i>when Schalke dramatically lost the title to Bayern in stoppage time on the last day of the season - Ed.</i>]. But Stuttgart and Bremen are in the race as well this time, so Bayern would need a huge amount of luck. So I'd estimate Bayern's chances as fairly low."

<b>Question:</b> You'll be playing for Bayern as of next season, although you're appearing for Schalke at the Allianz Arena on Saturday. Is it a special game for you?

<b><i>Altintop:</i></b> "I'm totally focused on Schalke. I'm determined to win the title with Schalke, and I'll do everything I can to achieve that."

<b>Question:</b> What are you hoping for by switching to Bayern?

<b><i>Altintop:</i></b> "I'm hoping we'll play thrilling football as a team and get the fans excited. And I'm not just talking about Bayern fans, I mean football fans in general. My dream would be for people to say to themselves: 'Bayern are playing today, I'd like to watch that because it'll be another tremendous game.' Personally, I hope to help the team and continue my development, and obviously pick up a medal or two."

<b>Question:</b> You've appeared in nearly every game this term, but mostly as a substitute. Do you believe you can claim a regular berth at Bayern?

<b><i>Altintop:</i></b> "My priority is to be part of a functioning team. It's not enough to say you've arrived if you're a member of the first-choice eleven. I believe the squad as a whole is enormously important. The team has to function, and that includes physiotherapists, the groundsman, the kit man, the bus driver, and everyone working for the club. Everything has to fit together, and I want to make a contribution to that. But obviously, every player at Bayern wants as many appearances as possible. That's how you come on and make progress. And naturally, I'd like to be a first-choice player at Bayern."

<b>Question:</b> You rate as versatile, but what's your favourite position?

<b><i>Altintop:</i></b> "Yes, I can play left, right or in the middle, but I'm happiest on the right side of midfield."

<b>Question:</b> You're ten minutes older than your twin brother Halil, with whom you've played together for Wattenscheid, Schalke and Turkey. Outside football, do you act like a typical older brother?

<b><i>Altintop:</i></b> (laughs) "Yes, that's definitely the case. When we're at home together, Halil knows full well I take charge in certain situations, when he'll do a little less or nothing at all. He does tend to rely on his big brother a bit, but it's always been that way."

<b>Question:</b> How will it finish between Bayern and Schalke at the weekend?

<b><i>Altintop:</i></b> "We won 1-0 in Munich two seasons ago, when Gerald Asamoah scored the goal. I can see something similar happening again."

<b>Question:</b> And the standard question to finish with: who will win the league this season, and who'll be champions next season?

<b><i>Altintop:</i></b> "It would be great if it was Schalke this year and Bayern next year!"
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