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'It's always good to go back to Bochum'

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'It's always good to go back to Bochum'

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:30 pm

Bayern's trip to face VfL Bochum on Saturday is not just a game like any other for Hermann Gerland. The FCB assistant coach was born in Bochum, made more than 200 Bundesliga appearances for VfL, and coached the club in the top flight. "But when we play VfL, it's not like I have to think twice about who to support," the man known to everyone as Tiger told fcbayern.de in our exclusive interview.

Interview: Hermann Gerland

fcbayern.de: Hermann, can we assume Saturday's match is a bit special for you?
Hermann Gerland: I come from Bochum, my mother, mother-in-law, siblings and a number of friends live there. But when we play VfL, it's not like I have to think twice about who to support. I'm really happy here at Bayern.

On the VfL homepage, you're listed among the club legends, where the headline reads: Hermann Gerland, 100% Bochum.
I was born in Bochum, and I played for the club and coached them in the Bundesliga. That leaves a lasting impression, and I have a lot to thank VfL for. I spoke to my good friend Christa in their head office today, and you never lose touch with old mates like Ata Lameck, Uwe Leifeld und Frank Heinemann, who was one of the first to send me a congratulatory text after we won in Turin. Obviously, it's always good to go back to Bochum.

How important is winning in Bochum?
We want to win, and if we go there with the right attitude, we will. We want six points from our last two games before Christmas. And I'm visiting our Ruhr Valley fan club, the Ruhrpott-Bazis, on Sunday. I don't want to show up there empty-handed.

After the heroics in Turin, is there a danger Bayern might underestimate Bochum?
If we're not 100 percent focused and ready for a fight, it could be tough - and it won't be easy in any case. Bochum urgently need points, and every team raises its game against Bayern. If VfL stay up, it'll rate as a major achievement for the team, the coach and the club. They treat it the same way as we at Bayern treat the championship. But Louis van Gaal will ensure the players are up for it.

What do you mean by that?
He's meticulous about preparing his team for a match. He researches everything about our opponents, he covers every aspect - you wouldn't believe it until you've seen it. It's incredibly detailed. I think we'll be at 100 percent, and hopefully, we'll come away with the points.

You've coached for almost 25 years, but are you still learning from Louis van Gaal?
He's an outstanding specialist. I'm a good judge of a player, I can bring them on and I'm a decent coach, but I've made a huge step forward in terms of overall coaching this last six months. Van Gaal demands a lot of his players, but this is Bayern Munich. We're the leading club in Germany, we set the standards, and the players have to live up to that. Van Gaal demands success. He wants to win the league, he wants to win the cup, and at some point, he wants the Champions League.

Holger Badstuber and Thomas Müller were your players in the reserves. Did you honestly think they'd instantly become first-team regulars?
They've both done incredibly well. But progress like that depends on a coach who likes working with young players. That's Louis van Gaal, and he'll stick with his lads even when they make mistakes.

What was your contribution in bringing them on?
I see it as my duty here at Bayern to help top-class youngsters develop. That's always been my main task. And my biggest strength is the ability to spot which of the lads could end up in the Bundesliga, and which ones could play for Bayern, which are two very different things by the way. I've known Holger since he was just a boy. I was good friends with his father, but obviously, I was just as critical of him and Thomas as of all the other players - perhaps even a shade more.

Louis van Gaal has indicated he's looking at the next crop of talented youngsters.
David Alaba trained with us today, and it was eye-opening. A year ago, I said Alaba was 100 percent capable of playing in the Bundesliga. Let's wait and see what other gems we might pluck from the youths. A decisive factor is how the lads cope with the pressure of suddenly running out in front of a 60,000 crowd against players with 100 Bundesliga matches under their belts.

Is it easier to deal with players you've coached as youths than with established stars like Luca Toni or Franck Ribéry?
No, I speak my mind to every player. I might moderate my tone on occasion, but I fundamentally treat all players the same. As assistant coach, I can't be seen exclusively looking out for 'my' lads.
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