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Van Bommel's review

'Getafe was the best game of the season'

In his second season at Bayern, Mark van Bommel confirmed his status as one of the leading personalities in the team. now presents the Dutch midfielder’s take on the successful 2007-8 campaign. In the second and concluding part, Mark reviews the UEFA Cup, the departure of Oliver Kahn and Ottmar Hitzfeld, and his own performances.

Mark van Bommel’s review of the season, part 1:

“We found the going tough in the UEFA Cup last term. We muddled through to be honest. We were ultimately too good for Belenenses in the first round, but we were lucky to finish top of our group. It’ll never be easy for Bayern in the UEFA Cup. It’s always the biggest game of the season for our opponents, they’ll run until they drop, and we can only end up losers.

We were also unlucky with the draw for the knockout phase. Manchester United have just won the Champions League – but after the group stage, they were always away from home first and then at home for the return. The draw helped us in 2006 when I was with Barcelona, but last term we were only at home in the second leg against Aberdeen and Anderlecht, and we ran up comfortable victories against both.

And then we faced Getafe. The 3-3 draw in the return in Spain was the best game of the season, and I’ll often think back on it. We were lucky, but we also showed tremendous will to win. In the semis against St. Petersburg we threw it away at home. We deservedly led 1-0 and could have been further ahead, but we went and conceded an unlucky equaliser instead. If we’d won the match 2-0 or 3-0, we’d have made it to the final, I’m convinced of that. The 4-0 defeat in St. Petersburg was a case of a bad day for us against good opponents. The defeat was much too heavy, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.

A few thoughts on my own performances: I think I was very consistent across the season, which was one of the best of my career. I didn’t score that many goals – two in the league and one in the UEFA Cup, with five assists overall, but I played for the team and I’m highly valued by the club. That’s a good feeling. The only thing I was angry about was my suspension after the Hamburg clash. I managed to tarnish my own performance with a moment of madness. That was just stupid.

I’d also like to say a few words about Oliver Kahn and Ottmar Hitzfeld, who are both leaving the Bundesliga. I’m proud I had the chance to work with the pair. The way Olli lives for football, his charisma, his personality – I always liked every aspect of it. He’s rounded off his career with a terrific season and we’ve given him a fitting send-off. It’s a shame Ottmar’s leaving us. He’s always had the dressing room under control, and he’s succeeded in keeping everyone happy, which isn’t easy with so many good players. His departure is a loss for Bayern and the Bundesliga, but it’s the right thing for him to do.

Our Germany internationals only have good things to say about Ottmar’s successor Jürgen Klinsmann. It’ll be a new era for Bayern, and I’m totally open to new ideas which help bring us on as individuals and a team. However, the whole thing hinges on success to a certain extent. If you succeed, you’ve done everything right. I hope we can build on our success this season, but in the first instance, I’m looking forward to going on holiday.“