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Hoeneß: 'I say this to our rivals: watch yourselves'

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Hoeneß: 'I say this to our rivals: watch yourselves'

Postby FCBayernNews » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:20 am

18.12.2006

With just Wednesday's German Cup Round of 16 tie still to play in 2006, general manager Uli Hoeneß spent an appearance on DSF German sports TV looking back on the first half of the campaign, reporting on the club's progress in building a new core squad, potential transfer activity, and the domestic title race. <b>fcbayern.de</b> was watching closely and reviews the highlights here.

<b>Uli Hoeneß on…</b>

<b>…the first half of the Bundesliga programme:</b>
"We never set ourselves the target of being top at Christmas. We just said we need to be there or thereabouts, and we're only three points back. Our goal is to be top at the end of the season, which gives us another 17 games. Bremen and Schalke still have to come to Munich, so we hold the trumps. I'm just fine with that as a going-in position. Our only current problem is finding a way to break down teams who pull all eleven men back behind the ball. It was better for the first time against Mainz, because we were mobile, we went looking for the ball, and we scored the goals at the right time."

<b>…the effect of the World Cup on the club:</b>
"We've had big problems with our internationals. Philipp Lahm is the first to re-emerge from a trough, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski are still in one, and Willy Sagnol still looks tired. I remember 1974, when we had six players at the World Cup - Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Müller, Uli Hoeneß - and were twelfth at Christmas. This time, our World Cup players were just youngsters. After a World Cup, you're drained and exhausted, you need Christmas just to recharge your batteries. We knew that would happen, and we were prepared to take the risk."

<b>…team rebuilding:</b>
"Back in summer, we decided to refresh the team by developing the players we have here already, not by opening the chequebook. We told Roque Santa Cruz: You've got a season to play our way into the team. We told Bastian Schweinsteiger: Ze Roberto's gone, now you can become the lynchpin. We wanted to give the younger players a chance to develop, that's how a new team grows together. And the team's coming along the way we expected. We very much believe we made the right decision."

<b>…Bayern's transfer market plans:</b>
"We're prepared to invest 20, 30, 40 million Euro in new players. We've spent the last few years carefully balancing the books, but now we're ready to invest heavily for a couple of seasons. That doesn't necessarily mean we'll definitely do that, only if we consider it necessary. We'll look around, we'll negotiate, we'll talk things over. One day, we're hoping to unveil a player or two with reputations extending way beyond the German borders. The focus is on attacking players, both midfielders and strikers."

<b>…Manchester United target Owen Hargreaves:</b>
"Nothing's going to happen in the winter break. We face Real Madrid in the Champions League, so we're not about to deliberately weaken our team. We're not a bank, we're a football club. Our top priority is to strengthen the team, so what use to me is another 30 million in the bank? We want to do well in the Champions League, we want to reel in Bremen and Schalke, and we need Owen Hargreaves for that. If we ever thought we'd found a replacement for Owen who cost less than we'd get for him, we might be prepared to think about it."

<b>…coach Felix Magath:</b>
"There's been a change in Felix. He wasn't very communicative when he first arrived., but now I see him talking things over with his players all the time. The communication between the coach and the players has improved dramatically, although I have to say Mark van Bommel has been very important in that. Mark's not been with us long, but he's become the spokesman for the team."

<b>…the second half of the season:</b>
"The players will have 14 days off, before reporting back on the fourth of January. They'll all start at the same time, which was absolutely not the case last summer, the stragglers only came back ten days before the Bundesliga restarted. We've only arranged four mid-season friendlies. Our focus is simply on optimal preparation. But let me say this: whoever's in our way will have to watch themselves."

<b>…the title contenders:</b>
"Werder are definitely our number one rivals, but we're taking Schalke very seriously too. They're out of Europe and the German Cup, so they can concentrate fully on the league. Schalke will be there or thereabouts."
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