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Head coach speaks

Heynckes: We still have unused potential

As usual during an international break, there has only been a small group of players at the Säbener Strasse for training for the last ten days, but on the plus side, Jupp Heynckes has worked productively and intensively with the rump squad. It also gave the head coach a chance to speak at length with before the current internationals return to the club on Wednesday.

Among the many topics covered, Heynckes spoke about Javi Martinez’ settling-in process, the battle for places in the team, weekend opponents Mainz, and next week’s Champions League opener against Valencia.

Interview: Jupp Heynckes Mr Heynckes, you gave your players the weekend off. Did you also take a break?
Jupp Heynckes: Yes! After the Qatar match on Friday, I flew to Düsseldorf and spent two days at home. It was wonderful R&R. I walked the dog twice each day and spent plenty of time in the garden. It did me the world of good.

You've only had a tiny group of players for training this week, so you augmented the squad with a number of youth players. How did they get on?
All credit to the lads. It's great fun working with them. They're very committed and attentive. It's important to have them help us out, because you can only perform useful training exercises with a larger group. It was also a help to the likes of Schweinsteiger and Martinez, who haven’t had much squad training time.

How close is Schweinsteiger to peak form?
He's keen, energetic and enjoying his football, and you see it every day. He gave a good display against Stuttgart, and that was a boost to his confidence. He's recovered his belief, and I'm delighted with that.

You were positive about Martinez even before he arrived. Has his first full week of training confirmed that opinion?
He'll be a huge bonus for us in footballing terms. He gives us even more quality in midfield, which is a motivating factor for everyone. But even Javi will have to play and fight his way into the team based on his performance. Obviously he has my full support, just like all the other players.

How is he settling down?
He's doing very well. Javi is outgoing and communicative, a relaxed character and a guy everyone likes straight away. He also speaks relatively good English, and he can speak Spanish to a few of the other players, which makes things a little easier for him. Also he's prepared outstandingly well.

What do you mean by that?
On his arrival, Javi knew everyone's first name – the players, the coaches and even the physios. I guess he did his homework on the internet. I was really surprised and impressed.