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Interview: Van Bommel

‘Little things are always decisive’

Mark van Bommel isn’t used to conceding five goals in one match. “We let in seven when I was with Fortuna Sittard many years ago, but that was a totally different level,“ the FCB captain recalled in the aftermath of Saturday’s 5-2 home defeat to Werder Bremen. sat down with Van Bommel on Monday to analyse Bayern’s first defeat of the season.

Interview: Mark van Bommel Mark, two days after the event, do you have an explanation for the heavy defeat to Bremen?
Mark van Bommel: “A lot of things went wrong on the day, although I feel the first two goals were decisive, and both of them came from set plays. For their first we were disorganised in defence, Özil had a clear run and space to play the pass. The only people who moved for their second were four Bremen players who were left with only Rensing to beat. That can’t be happening. We had to push on in the second half, which gave Bremen time and space, and Özil scored a beauty to make it 3-0. But as I said on Saturday, I’d rather lose one game 5-2 than five games 1-0.“ Indeed, but after a run of three wins in a row and some attractive football, the weekend result came out of the blue. The crowd seemed too stunned even to jeer and whistle at the end.
Van Bommel: “After two draws to start the season, the media immediately called it a disaster. Then we won three times and they were saying ‘Bayern are back in the groove’. Now we’ve lost and this time it’s ‘Bayern are down and out’. The reporting about Bayern is the most extreme I’ve ever experienced. It’s all either totally positive or totally negative, there’s no halfway house. I didn’t expect us to lose like that either, but we weren’t entirely convincing against Bucharest either.“ But that doesn’t explain such a heavy defeat, does it?
Van Bommel: “The little things are always decisive in football. We had two or three decent chances to take the lead. If that had happened, I don’t think we’d be sitting here trying to explain a bad defeat. On the other hand, we weren’t awake at two free-kicks. These are the split-second things which can decide games at this level.“ Some reporters have questioned Michael Rensing’s position as Oliver Kahn’s successor in goal.
Van Bommel: “I really don’t understand that at all. [Young Schalke 04 keeper] Manuel Neuer made a few mistakes last season too, but two days later, no-one was talking about it. At Bayern, the debate will rumble on for a week. This is my third season with Michael, I see him every day in training, and I can tell you he’s an outstanding keeper. He couldn’t do anything about Bremen’s first four goals, and his mistake for the fifth was hardly decisive. Against that, he came to our rescue two or three times in Bucharest. He’s unlucky in that Oliver Kahn was a legend between the sticks. Olli was outstanding last season, but he made plenty of mistakes in the course of his career. Michael will learn from the situation and every mistake, I’m sure of that.“ You’ve succeeded Oliver Kahn as captain. What do you have to do after a defeat like Saturday’s?
Van Bommel: “The first thing is to sort it out internally. Criticism has its place within the dressing room, you can talk things over fully and frankly, but it stops at the dressing room door. I think morale in the team is high, as no-one’s said anything negative in public. Obviously the captain can take individuals to one side, but you’ve always got to be careful with criticism.“ Is it good that second division 1. FC Nürnberg are due at the Allianz Arena in the Cup on Wednesday?
Van Bommel: “Of course, we can repair some of the damage. We have to win at all costs. It’s our duty. We have to make the next round of the Cup at home to a second division team.“ Turning to yourself Mark, how happy are you with the season so far?
Van Bommel: “I had a good pre-season and I’m in great physical shape. In the first match, Hamburg coach Jol took me out of the game in that he detailed Guerrero to shadow me, so I couldn’t influence the play. I was sent off in Dortmund, doing the team and me personally no good at all. And then I came back for Bucharest. I can’t really be satisfied, although I’ve had three very good games for the Dutch national team.“ Do you think you’re being targeted after the sending-off in Dortmund?
Van Bommel: “No, I don’t think so. I may have become a shade more cautious, I’m not going to ground impulsively when I tackle, but I don’t feel uncertain or nervous. I might not quite have the match rhythm just yet, but with so many games coming up, I’ll soon remedy that.“