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Makaay: There are definitely grounds for optimism

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Makaay: There are definitely grounds for optimism

Postby FCBayernNews » Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:50 pm


Roy Makaay declared himself "extremely satisfied" with a personal haul of nine goals and three assists in 16 Bundesliga appearances, plus another goal in the Champions League, but the striker also told <b></b> he sees plenty of room for improvement after Christmas. "If we play to our potential, we're the best team in Germany. We have to go out and prove that after the winter break."

<b>Interview: Roy Makaay</b>

<b></b> Roy, Bayern struggled at times in the first half of the season. What's your assessment?

<b><i>Roy Makaay:</i></b> "Before the season, we knew we'd have a few problems in the Bundesliga, so we can perfectly well live with lying only three points off the lead. We have a good chance of winning the title. And in Europe, winning the group means we've basically achieved our goals. Obviously we're disappointed at losing the cup tie in Aachen. We were the better team but failed to take our chances."

<b></b> Bayern found the going especially tough against defensive teams from the wrong end of the table.

<b><i>Makaay:</i></b> "That's right. we had trouble creating chances against teams which pulled eight or nine men back to the edge of their own box. We all agree we have to use the three-week mid-season training period to up our game. It simply has to be better after Christmas."

<b></b> How do you set about improving the quality of the play?

<b><i>Makaay:</i></b> "We'll all start training at the same time, so we'll all reach the same level of fitness, which wasn't possible after the World Cup. It was obvious our World Cup players were having mental and physical problems."

<b></b> How important was the late summer signing of your fellow countryman Mark van Bommel?

<b><i>Makaay:</i></b> "I think it was a master stroke by the management. They realised we were missing a guy like Mark, and they moved fast when he became available. Mark has demonstrated how important he can be. He takes responsibility, and lays down a marker on the field."

<b></b> Despite a number of below-par displays, you're only three points adrift in the Bundesliga. What does that tell your rivals?

<b><i>Makaay:</i></b> "Our rivals seemed unable to capitalise on our mistakes. Obviously, Bremen played some superb football in the first half of the season, but we also know that if we play to our full potential, we're the best team in Germany. We have to go out and prove that after Christmas."

<b></b> Willy Sagnol has declared that if Bayern achieve peak fitness, no-one in Germany can touch them - a brave thing to say?

<b><i>Makaay:</i></b> "I can understand why he's saying it. He was one of the players who effectively missed out on pre-season training because of the World Cup, and never reached peak form before Christmas. Like I say: we'll go out and show the world what we can do in the rest of the season."

<b></b> Is there a danger you're putting yourselves under pressure? Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has been keen to dampen expectations.

<b><i>Makaay:</i></b> "Obviously, we can't promise to lay on a run of 10 gala displays on the trot in the New Year. But we've all committed to play better football than we have done so far. And we'll also welcome back a handful of injured players such as Owen Hargreaves, Valerien Ismaël and Sebastian Deisler. Mehmet Scholl will continue to do what he does so well, coming on to help in the closing stages. There are definitely reasons to be optimistic for the rest of the season."

<b></b> How do you rate your chances against Real Madrid in the Champions League?

<b><i>Makaay:</i></b> "It's hard to say, as you don't know who'll be in form in February and March. But we played Inter, who are dominating the Italian league, and we showed we're more than a match for that kind of team. It's definitely important that we have the second match at home. The stadium will be on fire, especially against Real. Over the years, it's become a clash of the titans. I was part of it three years ago, when we were unlucky to be knocked out. We have a score to settle with Real."

<b></b> What's your personal assessment of the season so far?

<b><i>Makaay:</i></b> "I think it was OK. I started very well, but then I had two games on the bench. After that I was a regular in the team through to Christmas. I was scoring regularly and providing assists, which is what you want from a good striker. So overall, I'm extremely satisfied."

<b></b> Is it fair to say you've changed the way you play? You've often dropped a lot deeper and taken over the work of distributing the ball, almost like a midfielder.

<b><i>Makaay:</i></b> "It's true that we've changed our system a little. I've been trying to support Bastian Schweinsteiger in his new position behind the forwards. By the way, I think he's grown tremendously in the role over the last few matches. I think he may have found his best position. I'm always trying to get off a shot, and that sometimes means coming from midfield. I'm confident of my ability in this position."

<b></b> You're in your fourth season at Bayern. When will you finally finish as the Bundesliga's leading scorer?

<b><i>Makaay:</i></b> "Obviously it's great if you can win personal honours to go with trophies won by the team. We strikers always keep one eye on the leading scorer list. But I've always emphasised success for the team as the most important thing. I would definitely be dissatisfied if I finished leading scorer but the league title ended up somewhere else."

<b></b> Bayern's last leading scorer was Giovane Elber in 2003.

<b><i>Makaay:</i></b> "And he was sold straight afterwards (laughs). But joking aside, Giovane finally made it in his sixth season at Bayern. I ended up leading scorer in Spain in my sixth season there, which also made me Europe's leading scorer. I've still got time on my side."

<b></b> Your contract runs until 2008. What happens to Roy Makaay after that?

<b><i>Makaay:</i></b> "I'll be 33 by then, so we'll have to wait and see how I'm doing physically, and what Bayern have planned for me. Whatever, my family and I are extremely settled in Munich, so I could well imagine seeing out my career at the club."

<b></b> Many thanks for talking to us, and best of luck for plenty more goals in a Bayern shirt!
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