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Reiner Calmund: I'm saying it'll end 2-2

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Reiner Calmund: I'm saying it'll end 2-2

Postby FCBayernNews » Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:15 pm

The die-hard fans watching training at the Säbener Strasse were surprised to say the least when a man not normally associated with Bayern strolled by. A smiling Reiner Calmund, in Munich to interview Zé Roberto for, took time out for a long chat with Naturally, the main topic of conversation was Saturday's Bundesliga showdown between Calmund's former club Bayer Leverkusen, and pursuers Bayern.

fcbayern: Reiner Calmund, first of all, belated congratulations on your 60th birthday - or as we say here at FCB, your birthday number 59+1. How did you celebrate?
Reiner Calmund: "My motto has always been: work hard, play hard. My friends and I really went for it, it was a wild party. I wasn't the only one up and dancing."

fcbayern: Third-placed Bayern are away to your former club, second-placed Bayer Leverkusen, on Saturday...
Calmund: "... and I'm sorry to say I won't be there in person, as I'm covering the game for an Austrian TV station. I'm saying it'll end 2-2. Bayern are favourites to win the league, it's not up for discussion. They have the best personnel, in the team, the coaching staff and on the board. But I've enjoyed watching Leverkusen this season, they're a fine attacking side. Helmes, Renato Augusto and the lad Kadlec are great additions. I actually think he's almost better than his father. And I think the project to expand the capacity at the BayArena sends out an important signal."

Calmund: Can we assume you'll be supporting Leverkusen on Saturday? Do you closely follow your former club?
Calmund: "Not as much as I did before. Defeats used to affect my quality of life, I pulled down the shutters and ate out of tins. I took defeats very personally. I had no problem dealing with players, agents and associations, but I couldn't cope with defeats. I'm a normal fan nowadays, and I'd just like to see Bayer there or thereabouts at the top." And what do you think of Bayern this season?
Calmund: "I saw Bayern against Bucharest on Tuesday, and I sense the team's really hitting their stride now. They're doing things without stopping to think. They've not always played well, but their individual class means they've picked up more points than they'd otherwise have a right to expect." Both teams are strong in attack and boast great strikers, but could it be that the relative performance in defence will be decisive?
Calmund: "Leverkusen have an outstanding goalkeeper in Adler, he's a gem at the back. But otherwise, Bayern have Lucio, Demichelis and Van Buyten, international class centre-backs, and they're simply better. I think it's fair to put it as bluntly as that." Both clubs started the season with new, young coaches. Do you see any similarities between Jürgen Klinsmann and Bruno Labbadia?
Calmund: "Yes, there are definite similarities. Both work with individuals in order to improve the team as a whole, and that means spending more time with the players. Ideas such as having the players remain at the club from nine to five, especially in pre-season, seem correct and up-to-date to me. Compared to athletes or swimmers, who train morning, noon and night, footballers have it easy. As Klinsmann has recognised, if you can't match the likes of Chelsea, Barcelona and Real financially, you have to beat them in other ways. You use every possible training method and concept." Zé Roberto has been one of Bayern's consistently best players this term. You brought him to Leverkusen as Bayer general manager. How would you rate him?
Calmund: "Zé is like a fine red wine: he's improving with age. He's been truly fantastic. When Bayer made the Champions League Final in 2002, he was named in the All-Star Team. Diego Placente at left-back and Zé in front of him was a great duo. But the best I've seen in the last 30 years is Zé, Philipp Lahm and Franck Ribéry as a left-sided trio. It's a real pleasure, there's outrageous skill but it's also really effective. That's why I've said to him he'll still have plenty of time to stroll Copacabana beach with his family. But this three-man combination is the best way to persuade him to keep playing. He should be staying at least another year or two." Zé Roberto, Lucio, Ballack, Kovac and Jorghino all left Leverkusen for Bayern. Was there ever a moment in your time as Bayer general manager when you were angry about losing good players to Munich?
Calmund: "No, there honestly never was. Everything was always correct and above board. And furthermore, people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. I did the same to clubs in Brazil or less affluent Bundesliga clubs. And Bayern had more resources than we did, so there's no point being upset."

fcbayern: Will we see Reiner Calmund back in the Bundesliga at some point?
Calmund: "(laughs) No, no, those days are over. I still feel as fit as when I was 40 and I could easily work from dawn till dusk, but the decision I made in 2004 holds good today. I've had a few offers, but as I say, it's over. The only thing I could just about imagine would be stepping in for six months or so if a club really ran into trouble, helping a younger man find his feet in the job. A club lives on emotions, in my opinion. You need the guys in pinstripe suits and the experts, for sure, but you also emotional folk with a nose for the job."
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