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Uli Hoeneß:

'Podolski is 100 percent a Bayern player'

Uli Hoeneß has been keeping a very watchful eye on the first four weeks of pre-season, dropping by the new performance centre almost daily, and frequently observing training sessions from the touchlines. Interviewed by FCB.tv, the Bayern general manager assessed the state of preparations with not much more than three weeks to go until the Bundesliga restart, explained why he appeared to go back on his word and took his customary seat in the dug-out in midweek, and commented on Lukas Podolski's relationship with the club.

Interview: Uli Hoeneß:

Question: Uli Hoeneß, how would you summarise the first four weeks of the pre-season period?
Hoeneß: "I reckon we can be very satisfied. Everything's fine and we have no problems to solve. We can't say where we really stand at the moment, because most of our Euro 2008 players have only been back a week. We're hoping we don't pick up any more injuries, as we don't want any more big-name absentees after what's happened with Franck Ribéry. After our important trip to Japan next week, pre-season reaches a climax with the match against Inter. Then all we can hope is that we start the season well-prepared.“

Question: How has the team reacted to the changes made by Jürgen Klinsmann?
Hoeneß: "I sense that the players feel very settled in the new performance centre. They've made it into a home from home. Now we'll have to wait and see if these innovations, comforts and changes also lead to improved performance, as that was the point of the whole thing.“

Question: How do you feel about the fact that Jürgen Klinsmann has abolished the traditional pre-season training camps?
Hoeneß: "Jürgen explained it himself: the internationals spent up to six weeks in training camps before and during the Euro, and they'd just switch off if we now sent them to yet another camp for one or two more weeks. Also, we now have this fabulous performance centre and superb training pitches – putting green quality, I may say – so it was a smart decision.“

Question: Wednesday's match in Dortmund was a first serious test against a Bundesliga rival. What did the club learn from the match?
Hoeneß: "The players who've only been back for a week recognised just how much work they still have to do. It was no coincidence that Dortmund caused us a lot more problems in the first half, when we played with five or six Euro participants, than in the second, when we had a lot of young players who'd been back in training for four weeks. As far as I know, Dortmund didn't feature a single Euro 2008 player, so there was a huge difference in the sides' state of readiness.“

Question: You sat next to Jürgen Klinsmann in the dug-out in Dortmund – indeed, Klinsmann asked you to do so. That surprised a few people, you included?
Hoeneß: "Yes, I was surprised too. I had basically decided to move my seat from the bench to the stands after almost 30 seasons in the dug-out. But Jürgen pleaded with me and also gave his reasons. I was so pleased with what he said, I spontaneously agreed.“

Question: Lukas Podolski returns home to Cologne with Bayern on Saturday. Is he yet to become 100 percent a Bayern player?
Hoeneß: "I've never sensed anything else, he's always been 100 percent a Bayern player. He's obviously been unhappy at times when he's not played regularly, that's only normal. Cologne asked after him and that unsettled him a little, but I don't believe he made a mistake in choosing to come to Bayern. Whenever I see him, I see a bubbly and bouncy Lukas Podolski, who's now working hard towards the new season.“

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