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Exclusive: Director for sport

Matthias Sammer: We've set the bar high

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True to form and reputation, Matthias Sammer did not let Bayern's impressive Champions League victory over Juventus pass without a couple of criticisms and timely words of warning. However, even the ever-cautious board director for sport was pleased with Tuesday evening’s display: “I'm happy with the result, and impressed by the way it was achieved," Sammer exclusively told

The 45-year-old, a member of the management team at the club since last summer, urged the players to maintain the form they showed against the Italian champions-elect through to the end of the campaign: “The team has set the bar high for the rest of the season. That's what we have to measure ourselves against." Winning the Bundesliga title in Frankfurt on Saturday would still be “outstanding", Sammer said.

Exclusive interview: Matthias Sammer Matthias Sammer, be honest: how nervous were you before the meeting with Juventus?
Matthias Sammer: Strangely enough, I'm generally calm before the big matches, because I know every player and everyone at the club is totally focused. When we play so-called lesser opponents, when the public has already dismissed the game before kick-off, it's all a bit different. But I knew we had a good plan for Tuesday evening.

How did you rate the performance?
I'm happy with the result and impressed by the way it was achieved. We showed real character and ran till we dropped. The aggression, the tactical discipline and the way we attacked them early was all football of the highest quality and the key to our success.

Was it the best performance of the season so far?
Yes, and it was a very, very mature display. We neutralised Juventus’s strengths. We saw what our team is capable of.

At the time of the quarter-final draw, you said Juve wouldn’t be a bad team for Bayern to play…
I knew opponents of Juventus’s calibre would help restore the edge which was blunted after the cup tie against Dortmund. We’ve turned things around since the international break, and there's no acceptable reason why we shouldn't maintain these standards over the weeks to come.

What exactly do you mean by that?
Thanks to the performance against Juventus, the team has set the bar high for the rest of the season. That's what we have to measure ourselves against, because Jupp Heynckes has rotated his squad a lot, so there's no way we can be tired.