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Interview, part 2

Jansen: Bayern is a whole new world for me

Marcell Jansen has had an eventful first six months at Bayern: a scintillating start to the campaign, a trough in the autumn, his debut on the European stage, a serious injury, and a great deal more besides. In the second part of an fcbayern.de exclusive interview, the 22-year-old Germany international considers the role of the media, the packed fixture schedule, and his duties at full-back.

Interview with Marcell Jansen, part 2:

fcbayern.de: During your first six months in Munich, you’ve had to come to terms with the intense media interest in the club. Bayern were praised to the skies at the start, but sharply criticised at the end.
Jansen: “It definitely attracts extremes. But I remember the period ahead of the World Cup. The papers were screaming: Klinsmann, move to Germany, do this, do that. The players took a huge amount of criticism and were basically rubbished after we lost 4-1 to Italy. And after the World Cup? The papers were on their knees begging Klinsmann to stay! So the media isn’t a problem for me. I just have a good laugh about it all.“

fcbayern.de: So the World Cup was a good way to prepare for Bayern.
Jansen: “Yeah, it couldn’t have been better. I respect the media, they’re part of the business, but I can’t just stand by uncritically. The best example of that was the run-up to the World Cup. I was still only a squad player for Germany at the time, so I was just an interested observer. I read everything intently, and I was aware very precisely of what changed as a result of the World Cup. Memories in Germany can be very short, but I simply don’t let it bother me any more.“

fcbayern.de: Returning to your personal situation, how are you coping with the physical demands of life at Bayern?
Jansen: “It’s been hard, a dramatic transformation. I’ve basically never had the rhythm of two games a week. Obviously, it wasn’t that I never played twice a week when I was with Gladbach, especially since I became an international. The demands at Bayern are still in a different league. You do get used to it though, and because you’re enjoying it so much, you don’t notice how tired you are.“

fcbayern.de: How have you developed as a full-back over the last six months?
Jansen: “The simple fact of playing twice a week means I’ve definitely come on. With so many matches, and my first appearances in Europe, you certainly mature very quickly. I’ve also had to adapt my game a little, because I have Franck Ribéry ahead of me. I can’t get forward as much as I used to, and when I do, I have to try and be more effective. I’ve learned to ration my forward runs to fit the situation.“

fcbayern.de: How would you personally summarise your first six months at Bayern?
Jansen: “Positively. I was warmly welcomed, I’ve learnt a lot, and I’m grateful for the chance to play here. You can’t take it for granted that a club will be prepared to lay out so much money for a left-back. After Gladbach were relegated, it’s the step I needed to take for me personally. If I was a striker, I could have said to myself: I’ll hang on another season and fire them back into the top flight. But as a left-back? The second division is a tough section. You only need a couple of bad games, and people are saying, ‘He doesn’t have what it takes for the second division, it’s a shame but he’s not going to make it’.“

fcbayern.de: So it’s more difficult for a left-back to showcase his talents?
Jansen: “I’m not happy when I hear people claim that full-back is an easy position to play. Full-backs are increasingly important in modern football, because you don’t get very far through the middle nowadays. People often overlook the fact that the full-backs cover the greatest distances and need a great deal of stamina. You do get games when you can't get forward very much, but full-backs are frequently underrated. It’s major achievement if you can keep your flank under control.“

fcbayern.de: What are your targets for 2008?
Jansen: “I’m setting my sights high, but one step at a time. My first major target is to recover fitness and resume the squad programme. My second major target is to play as often as possible for Bayern and Germany. And I want to win trophies. That would be perfect preparation for the European Championships.“

fcbayern.de: Is the Euro 2008 often in your thoughts?
Jansen: “It’s always a long way back when you’re out injured. That’s why I’m taking things one step at a time.“