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Happy Hoeneß

‘It could end up a very good season indeed’

Uli Hoeneß was delighted by the players’ spirit and morale against Manchester United, but the club president immediately turned his attention to Saturday’s crunch meeting with Bayer Leverkusen. “If we should lose in Leverkusen, we’ll be under pressure again in the league. The reverse is true if we win, and I think that would give us the breathing space we need for the Champions League,” Hoeneß declared after the clash at Old Trafford.

FCB President Uli Hoeneß:

What’s your take on this thrilling game?
Uli Hoeneß: We had huge problems at the start, but fortunately the team started playing football before half-time. We began creating chances, and when we scored on the stroke of half-time, I said to the folk up in the stands, it’ll end 3-2 to them or 3-3. Then there was the sending off, and Rooney had to go off too, so it was important we never lost hope we could do it. We played well after that, we kept our heads, we mounted controlled attacks, and at the end of the day, we’ve deservedly got what we needed.

Last summer, no-one thought Bayern would make the semis...
I think we all need to stay calm and focus on the next challenge. We have a vital game in Leverkusen, which I think also impacts on the Champions League semi-finals. If we should lose in Leverkusen, we’ll be under pressure again in the league. The reverse is true if we win, and I think that would give us the breathing space we need for the Champions League.

Yet again, it’s Arjen Robben with the decisive goal.
We should stop this obsession with just one or two players. Once it was Ribéry, now it’s Robben, maybe Robben and Ribéry this time. You don’t get a performance like that without 15 or 20 players, the entire squad and the coaching staff. We need to stop singling out just one individual.The players and the coach have come on together well, and what they’ve achieved together tonight isn’t bad at all.

How do you cope with watching a game like that?
I’ve found that I’m relatively calm up in the stands, or at least appear to be. What’s going on inside is obviously something different again. Obviously, you can’t be neutral about going 3-0 behind, but I always had the feeling we’d get a grip on the match.

You’re Bayern’s biggest fan, so how good is this success for the FCB soul?
It’s not just good for Bayern. We Germans ought to be delighted when one of our clubs makes it to the semi-finals. We’re making a very nice contribution to the five-year coefficient.

What does getting through mean for the rest of the season?
We’ll have to wait and see. Let’s see what happens in Leverkusen. It could end up a very good season indeed.

Do you nurture any dreams of a first Champions League final since 2001?
No. The focus is on Leverkusen, and we’ll see what happens after that.

It’s been two games a week for a while now. Where does the team find the energy for a comeback like last night’s?
They get good food and plenty of sleep, and then we make them run.

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