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Hermann Gerland

‘It’s always good to go back to Bochum’

Bayern’s trip to face VfL Bochum on Saturday is not just a game like any other for Hermann Gerland. The FCB assistant coach was born in Bochum, made more than 200 Bundesliga appearances for VfL, and coached the club in the top flight. “But when we play VfL, it’s not like I have to think twice about who to support,” the man known to everyone as Tiger told in our exclusive interview.

Interview: Hermann Gerland Hermann, can we assume Saturday’s match is a bit special for you?
Hermann Gerland: I come from Bochum, my mother, mother-in-law, siblings and a number of friends live there. But when we play VfL, it’s not like I have to think twice about who to support. I’m really happy here at Bayern.

On the VfL homepage, you’re listed among the club legends, where the headline reads: Hermann Gerland, 100% Bochum.
I was born in Bochum, and I played for the club and coached them in the Bundesliga. That leaves a lasting impression, and I have a lot to thank VfL for. I spoke to my good friend Christa in their head office today, and you never lose touch with old mates like Ata Lameck, Uwe Leifeld und Frank Heinemann, who was one of the first to send me a congratulatory text after we won in Turin. Obviously, it’s always good to go back to Bochum.

How important is winning in Bochum?
We want to win, and if we go there with the right attitude, we will. We want six points from our last two games before Christmas. And I’m visiting our Ruhr Valley fan club, the Ruhrpott-Bazis, on Sunday. I don’t want to show up there empty-handed.

After the heroics in Turin, is there a danger Bayern might underestimate Bochum?
If we’re not 100 percent focused and ready for a fight, it could be tough – and it won’t be easy in any case. Bochum urgently need points, and every team raises its game against Bayern. If VfL stay up, it’ll rate as a major achievement for the team, the coach and the club. They treat it the same way as we at Bayern treat the championship. But Louis van Gaal will ensure the players are up for it.

What do you mean by that?
He’s meticulous about preparing his team for a match. He researches everything about our opponents, he covers every aspect – you wouldn’t believe it until you’ve seen it. It’s incredibly detailed. I think we’ll be at 100 percent, and hopefully, we’ll come away with the points.