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Number two keeper Tom

Starke: The defeat will give us a sharper edge

Training was long finished for the day, and the players were already under the showers. However, there was still plenty of action on pitch 1, where goalkeeping coach Toni Tapalovic was putting youngster Leopold Zingerle and veteran Tom Starke through their paces. It was gruelling work, but with a fun element too: assistant coach Peter Herrmann even joined in a final game of hit-the-crossbar.

Starke, who arrived at Bayern in summer as number two keeper, knows that training is the way he can best help the team. “I give it my best every day," said the 31-year-old, a model professional despite his understudy role. This Saturday, FCB are up against Starke’s former club 1899 Hoffenheim. spoke to the keeper about the weekend clash, how he has settled in at his new club, and his job as backup to Manuel Neuer.

Interview: Tom Starke Tom, you've been here some three months now. Would you say you've settled yet?
Tom Starke: Definitely! I'm a social kind of guy and I'm totally open. I'm perfectly settled, and so are my family. My kids are in school here now and they’ve started making friends. And the last few weeks have been very good for me as a professional, so everything’s working out.

What's the most intriguing thing about your new club?
The dimensions. I arrived for my first training session with the international players still on vacation, and we still had 2,000 people watching is. Another example: we jet off for a couple of days to China, or we cross Germany for a friendly attended by 20,000 fans. This size of this club is unbelievable and amazingly impressive.

What it's like training in front of so many fans?
It's inspiring and a motivating factor. You concentrate much harder, because you can't afford mistakes – otherwise it's spotted by 3,000 people (grins).

Were you surprised by the high standards in training at Bayern?
Well, I was expecting a totally different class, but not actually the level we have here, which is extraordinary. The increase in quality when the internationals came back from vacation was extreme. You knew you were training with genuinely world-class players.

You were signed as backup keeper. How are you coping with the role?
I knew from the start what I was letting myself in for. I can be very honest and say it's great fun, and I'm delighted I took this step. I give it my best every day, and obviously I'm hoping I'll get a game or two as Bayern goalkeeper. After all, I signed up for three years. And if the coach does give me an outing, a dream would become reality.