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Rummenigge: 'Tighten our grip or face nasty surprise'

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Rummenigge: 'Tighten our grip or face nasty surprise'

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:15 pm


Bayern suffered their first competitive defeat of term in a 2-1 reverse against Bielefeld last weekend, a result which has prompted a few ripples of surprise and alarm. <b></b> exclusively sought Karl-Heinz Rummenigge's assessment of the situation, asking the chairman to rate his club's performance in all three competitions to date.

<b>Interview: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge</b>

<b></b> Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, with the season now well underway, Bayern have started out in all three competitions. How would you rate the team's performance up to now?

<b><i>Karl-Heinz Rummenigge:</i></b> "It's been no more than a reasonable start. We opened with two victories in the Bundesliga, but that's been followed by a draw and a defeat. Fundamentally, I reckon we could have done better. We've dropped five points in our matches against Nuremberg and Bielefeld. To put it bluntly: we could be top of the league. But we're not, so we'll have to up the ante in the next few weeks and get there as fast as possible."

<b></b> Why do you think points have gone astray in the last two matches?

<b><i>Rummenigge:</i></b> "I don't think there's any obvious explanation. We faced two teams who were determined and focused, but you'd normally expect Bayern Munich to beat both of them. Our team needs to find peak form fairly soon, because we have a very full autumn programme, and things happen which can decisively shape the course of the whole season."

<b></b> So you would say the "muddling through" period is over?

<b><i>Rummenigge:</i></b> "I don't think the comment which said we'd have to "muddle through" the early weeks of the season was particularly clever. It's handed the team a bit of an excuse. We were OK against Dortmund, and the second half against Moscow was good, but fundamentally - regardless of a difficult pre-season and the World Cup - the team simply needs to demonstrate its true quality in the next few weeks."

<b></b> Bayern aren't the only major club wit this problem. Runners up Werder Bremen and third-placed Hamburg are a long way off peak form. Is the situation comparable at all three clubs?

<b><i>Rummenigge:</i></b> "If we're looking for excuses, you could compare all three and you'd probably find a highly plausible explanation. You could say they've all played in the Champions League and then faded at the weekend. Maybe it's no coincidence that the other two also lost. But that's not how we see it. It might be the case in Hamburg or Bremen, but not here at Bayern Munich."

<b></b> What could the team have done better in their last match?

<b><i>Rummenigge:</i></b> "We started well and we were a goal up after six minutes. We should have hit the gas and scored a second, and the game would have been over. But we did exactly the opposite, especially after the injury to Hargreaves. We dropped the pace and let our opponents make the play. Bielefeld went on to win, with a bit of luck and a little help from ourselves. These things happen, in fact they're allowed to happen once, but they mustn't happen twice. Over the next few weeks, we need to be more resolute, more focused and also more disciplined if we want to avoid defeats like the one in Bielefeld."

<b></b> How problematic is Hargreaves' long lay-off?

<b><i>Rummenigge:</i></b> "We knew Hargreaves was a good player long before Saturday. It's the reason we turned down a lucrative offer from Manchester and didn't sell him. We know Owen is one of Europe's best players in his position. But none of that helps us now. You can't resign yourself to your fate just because a player becomes unavailable. The situation will recur time and again across the season, with one or more players out injured. We have 25 men in the squad, so the next one has to step forward and do a job."

<b></b> What do you expect to see in the next three matches against Aachen, Inter and Wolfsburg?

<b><i>Rummenigge:</i></b> "The team will need a different attitude on the day than we showed in Bielefeld. We need to tighten our grip, or we could be in for a nasty surprise."
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