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Hoeneß live on

‘The Bundesliga title is our priority’

In excess of 600 questions were submitted before and during an live chat session with Bayern general manager Uli Hoeneß on Wednesday. Clearly enjoying himself, the 55-year-old diligently answered as many queries as he could in the all-too-brief 30-minute slot. has picked out the best of the board director’s answers.

Bayern general manager Uli Hoeneß on….

…his future as general manager:
“I have a contract until the end of 2009, more than two years from now, and then we were planning an overhaul of the board. We’ll see how it unfolds. We know the state of play until 2009, then we’ll see what happens.“

…this season’s sporting targets:
“One thing is clear: we desperately want to win the German championship. After a poor season last year without a trophy, the Bundesliga is our priority.”

…job-related pressure and stress:
“You get periods when it’s not a problem, if the team’s playing well like at the start of the season, or when you feel you’ve done a decent job. But then you get weeks which don’t go so well, and it’s not always easy. You suffer certain setbacks in every job, but you’ve just got to fight back. Up to now it’s gone pretty well.“

…his biggest target with Bayern:
“The finest thing would obviously be to win the Champions League, because it’s the most significant trophy in club football. I believe the investment we’ve made this season, and our team for next season which we’ll strengthen slightly in one or two areas, means we must be in a position to keep up with the biggest names. Winning the trophy again would be a tremendous testament to our healthy and sensible financial policies. That kind of Champions League triumph would be worth a lot more than one financed by billions from the oil business.“

…Michael Rensing as the club’s future number one:
“I don’t see it as a risk, because in Michael Rensing we’ve had one of the most talented German keepers on the bench for a number of years. We’ve always been able to send him out when Oliver Kahn’s been injured, and I can’t remember a match in which he’s disappointed us. I’m not worried in the slightest that we might be taking a risk.“

…the mid-season training camp in Marbella:
“We had a feeling the folk in Dubai were taking Bayern for granted. They wanted us to turn up for a tournament on 4 January, but we didn’t want that. We decided to focus exclusively on the sporting dimension this year, and that’s why we’re off to Marbella. The training ground is only 500 metres away, and we probably won’t play any friendlies, we’ll simply train. We want to reinforce the point that we’re taking this season very seriously, and doing everything possible to be in optimum shape for the second half of the season.“

…Franck Ribéry’s practical jokes:
“He’s not tried it on me personally yet, but I really wouldn’t have a problem. Franck is a fun kind of guy, and I’m delighted at how quickly he’s settled into the dressing room. You have to be prepared for anything with him, a suitcase might go missing or there’s toothpaste all over the place, but that’s how he is.“

…Mark van Bommel:
“I personally believe we signed a very good player from Barcelona. Our expectations of him as a leading personality, and as an intelligent lad who has something to say in public, have very much been fulfilled. He has a year and a half left on his contract, and we’ll definitely turn our attention to that in the spring. Personally, I’d have no problem offering him an extension, because he’s a player who fits in well at Bayern.”

…Bundesliga clubs in Europe:
“I think the German teams had a few problems at the start but have stabilised now. If we still have four or five clubs in Europe come the spring, it would represent great progress compared to recent years. I’d like Bremen and Schalke to stay in the Champions League, because they could earn points for Germany’s five-year ranking. That would also mean they’d have extremely difficult matches on Wednesdays, which would be very significant in the battle for the championship. It would be fatal if our championship rivals suddenly weren’t playing on Wednesdays.“

…general mangers at rival clubs:
“There are a lot of people doing very good work. It’s all a question of the working environment of course. Klaus Allofs does a fabulous job in Bremen, Andreas Müller has settled well as a younger man in the job for Schalke. I think my brother [Dieter] has also done a decent job in Berlin over the years. Horst Heldt is doing well in Stuttgart, winning the title in his first year. I think we have a number of good young people coming through.“

…youth development in Germany:
“Basically, I believe work with young players in Germany has improved in recent years. There was a great big gap five or six years ago, but we’ve caught up a lot at U-16, U-17, U-18 and also U-21 levels. I do particularly rate our youth work here at Bayern, with the likes of Hermann Gerland, Kurt Niedermayer, Stefan Beckenbauer and Werner Kern. For a professional club, we’ve taken a large number of our own youths for the first team squad. My feeling is that there have been plenty of positive developments, both in the Bundesliga and at Bayern.“