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Interview: Torsten Lieberknecht

'Obviously you look forward to it'

A mere three points separate Eintracht Braunschweig from a place above the Bundesliga drop zone. The former top flight giants, sensationally promoted from the second tier last term, are battling hard to pull off the minor miracle of retaining their elite status. The league’s bottom club now visit Bayern at the Allianz Arena on Saturday. “Obviously you really look forward to testing yourself against arguably the best club team in the world at the present time,” Braunschweig coach Torsten Lieberknecht said in a Bayern Magazin Interview.

Interview: Torsten Lieberknecht

Eintracht visit Bayern on Saturday for the first time in 29 years. What’s your dominant emotion: eager anticipation prior to the match or respect for the treble winners?
Torsten Lieberknecht:
It’s a mixture of both. Obviously you really look forward to the chance of testing yourself against arguably the best club team in the world at the present time. But the one doesn’t preclude the other. I have just as much huge respect for what Bayern have achieved over the decades. Everyone all over the country should recognise that.

It’s impossible not to let the facts and figures do a bit of the talking prior to a clash like this. Here’s one example. The authoritative website transfermarkt.de reckons the entire Eintracht squad is worth €25.5 million, approximately what Bayern paid for Franck Ribéry in 2007…
The ability to pay this kind of transfer fee is another thing Bayern have worked towards and earned over the years. But somehow it’s not right to make comparisons like this. If you think back to what my team was worth just three or four years ago, you have to say we’ve also come on a really long way since then.

Would avoiding relegation be approximately as valuable to Braunschweig as winning the Champions League for Bayern?
There’s a small but significant difference. Bayern winning the Champions League was, and if it happens again would be, a tremendous performance but not a miracle… which is what it would be if we stay up.

You lost heavily at home to Bayern in the cup 18 months ago. What’s your personal record in games against Munich?
I come from the Rhineland Palatinate and I’m a Kaiserslautern fan so it’s basically quite a positive record, although I wasn’t there for the famous 7–4 victory at the Betzenberg. It’s all a bit more sobering as a player and coach. I even saw a red card in one match when I was playing for Mainz.