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'Wolfsburg matters just as much as Barca'

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'Wolfsburg matters just as much as Barca'

Postby FCBayernNews » Wed Apr 01, 2009 12:00 am

Michael Rensing already knows all about Wolfsburg strike duo Grafite and Edin Dzeko. The pair fired the Wolves into an early 2-0 lead against Bayern at the Allianz Arena last autumn, in a match the home side went on to win 4-2. Saturday marks the next showdown, with 18-goal Grafite and 13-goal Dzeko as the league's top strike pair, ably supported by the Bundesliga's best provider, Zvjzdan Misimovic on 15 assists.

Rensing could be a busy man in Wolfsburg at the weekend. Ahead of the clash between the sides who are dead level in second, spoke to the Bayern shot-stopper about the pivotal encounter, ex-boss Felix Magath, and former team-mate Misimovic.

Interview: Michael Rensing: Michael, VfL Wolfsburg have the most potent forward line in the league. Do you look forward to this kind of challenge?
Rensing: "Wolfsburg are very, very dangerous up front, but if the rest of the team does its job, I won't have much to do. Whatever, I still have to be prepared for a busy afternoon. It can happen at any time. No-one thought I'd have much to do at home to Köln, but they created five or six clear-cut chances." How are you preparing for Saturday?
Rensing: "Exactly the same as for any match. It's important to be fit, fresh, and have a good feeling beforehand. As usual, I'll sit down with Walter Junghans. We'll watch some videos of our opponents - how they take their penalties, how they make their chances." Are Wolfsburg realistic title candidates?
Rensing: "Wolfsburg are definitely a surprise package. If they keep it up, they can remain there or thereabouts. Saturday's game is crucial for both teams, but it's not a title decider. There are still too many games to go. We need to take at least a point - a point at the very least. We respect Wolfsburg, but we're not overawed." VfL boss Felix Magath insists his side can't win the league.
Rensing: "He's saying that deliberately. If he said they could win the title, expectations would rise. He's taking the pressure off his team. I believe Wolfsburg will qualify for Europe. Anything higher than fourth would be a bonus for them, although obviously, Felix Magath has the title in the back of his mind." Felix Magath, Bayern coach for two and a half years, is reputed to be a slave-driver of sorts in training. Was it really like that?
Rensing: "Felix Magath is different. He doesn't think training is science. He threw in a few medicine balls and mountain runs, and he was branded a slave-driver. People debate his methods, but he won back-to-back doubles with Bayern, so he was justified in what he did. Personally, I really enjoyed the time with him and his assistants Seppo Eichkorn and Werner Leuthard. I was always fit after pre-season. And Felix Magath always supported me. I have a lot to thank him for." Saturday is also a reunion with "Zwetschge" Misimovic, a former FCB youth and reserve team-mate. Are you still in touch with him?
Rensing: "Apart from a few text messages some months back, not much any more. I'm looking forward to seeing him again on Saturday. We're connected by the time we spent together at Bayern, we won national championships as youths. 'Zwetschge' is an incredibly smart footballer, who'll do well in any team. We have to be on our guard." He'll certainly want to score against you.
Rensing: "He's not succeeded yet, except perhaps in training a couple of years ago. I reckon it'll stay that way." Four days after Wolfsburg, you have the first leg in Barcelona. Is it hard focusing 100 percent on Wolfsburg?
Rensing: "It's always tough when you have a real highlight coming up, but on the other hand, we can't afford to shift down a gear in the league. We know every game is a final and that we can't afford to let up, so we'll be totally focused. Wolfsburg matters just as much as Barcelona - especially because we have to qualify for next season's Champions League through the Bundesliga." Uli Hoeneß has said you can finally prove your credentials in the matches against Wolfsburg and Barcelona.
Rensing: "I'm personally thrilled we now face the most decisive matches of the season. My job is to make an important save or two, as I've been doing consistently for a while. I'll simply try and concentrate hard, and continue to do my job against Wolfsburg and Barcelona."
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