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Bochum's new boss

Herrlich: My players will have to go to the limit

Heiko Herrlich, who guided the Germany U-17s to third place at the 2007 World Cup, took the VfL Bochum helm six weeks ago. After opening with two defeats, the former striker has led his men out of the drop zone with five points from their last three games. Ahead of the Ruhr Valley club’s meeting with FCB, fcbayern.de spoke to the 38-year-old about Saturday’s match, and an incident involving Oliver Kahn.

Interview: Heiko Herrlich

fcbayern.de: Did you watch any football on Tuesday night?
Heiko Herrlich: Of course.

The manner of FCB’s victory took even the Bayern camp a little by surprise. Did you think Munich were capable of a performance like that?
There’s so much individual quality in the team. This was the match when the players showed all their quality.

What does the result mean for Saturday’s fixture?
In the first instance, the result means Bayern are through to the Champions League knockout rounds. And that’s good for German football.

Your Munich counterpart Louis van Gaal says Bochum will be tougher than Juventus. Are you flattered?
He’s obviously talking about the going-in position from a psychological point of view. After the 4-1 victory over Juventus, practically everyone thinks Bayern only have to show up in order to beat us. If they win, it’ll be seen as normal. If not, it’ll be treated as a defeat, so they have more to lose than to win.

Bochum have taken five points from their last three games, including a 1-0 win in Hamburg and a last-gasp 1-1 draw in Stuttgart. Are you happy with the way things are going?
We’re definitely going in the right direction. We’ve taken at least a point three times in a row, and only conceded a single goal in doing so. We’re gaining in confidence, and we’re starting to do the basic things automatically. Don’t forget that we scored towards the end in both Hamburg and Stuttgart, which is a sign of good fitness and strong morale.

However, VfL have only won once at home, against Hertha Berlin on Matchday 3. Why is that, and how do you plan to make it two home wins when Bayern visit on Saturday?
All my players have to go to the absolute limit in the match. Man for man, Bayern are better than us in every position. Our only chance is to perform better as a team than our opponents, and be very clever tactically.

What’s your personal record against FCB as a player?
Obviously, I don’t know my full record without looking it up, but I specially remember a couple of highlights. In my first season with Mönchengladbach, I came on as a sub at home to Bayern. I opened the scoring after 88 minutes, and made it 2-0 two minutes later. And then obviously there was the legendary game in Dortmund, when I twice scored past Oliver Kahn, bringing an end to his run of more than 700 minutes without conceding – and was nibbled for my trouble [referring to a famous incident in April 1999 when Kahn, provoked by Herrlich, lost his nerve and made as if to bite the Dortmund striker’s neck. Ten-man Bayern came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2].