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Exclusive interview, part 1

Rummenigge: He's our player and he's staying!

The players are on holiday or preparing for the World Cup, and the Säbener Strasse facility is all but empty – but the second floor above the ServiceCenter is a hive of activity, as the Bayern board and coaching staff are busy assembling the squad for the new campaign. In part one of a major interview, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge revealed a few early results from the crucial planning meetings. The two remaining parts of the interview will appear on Sunday and Tuesday next week.

Interview with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, part 1: You, Jan-Christian Dreesen, Matthias Sammer and Pep Guardiola have spent this week working on next season’s squad. What news do you have for the fans?
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: We fundamentally have a very good team, nor is the squad particularly old. None of our players is due for retirement. We can be very relaxed and calm as we survey the future. But we’re still watching the transfer market very closely. Fortunately our finances are extremely solid and we have no problem with Financial Fair Play. There won’t be any serious activity in the transfer market until the World Cup gets going. Relatively little will happen before then.

But would you say there are likely to be additions to the confirmed new arrivals, Robert Lewandowski and Sebastian Rode?

We’re talking about what else we need to do. The coach’s opinion is very important. There’s a lot of speculation in the media, but we won’t be knocked off course. Let’s wait and see.

Is there any news of Claudio Pizarro and Daniel van Buyten? Both are shortly out of contract.
Talks are ongoing, and I believe we’ll have results very soon.

What’s the situation with Toni Kroos?
As I’ve always said, our aim is to agree a contract extension, and that still applies. If we can’t, we’ll have to think about other options.

And how about Mario Mandzukic?
I regret what’s happened, because he’s made his contribution to our success. But every player has to know his place and accept the coach’s decisions in a disciplined way.

Youngster Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was the surprise hit of the cup final. Is the club thinking of sending him out on loan?
No, quite the opposite! Pierre is hugely talented and the coach is delighted with him. I basically support loan spells for younger players if they’re unlikely to break though at Bayern in the first instance. But Pierre has come on wonderfully well, he’s incredibly mature for an 18-year-old and he’s just played his way into the team. He’s a Bayern player and he’s staying here!

How pleased are you about Holger Badstuber’s imminent comeback?
Very pleased! Holger is a great person who’s been through an incredibly tough period. He’s coped amazingly well. Two cruciate operations, two long spells of rehab – not everyone would have managed that. Respect! He’s continuing his training and things are looking good for him. His knee is fine again and he’s moving well. We’d all like him to become an important factor in the team again soon.

How are things looking for Thiago?
His operation went very well. We hope he has a good recovery and is available again very soon.

What are you hoping for from Robert Lewandowski?
Robert is a world-class striker, and Bayern fans everywhere can look forward to seeing him play for us. He scored lots of goals for Borussia Dortmund. He gets through a great deal of work for the team and he uses his physique to optimal effect, even though he’s not actually that big. And I’ve also heard he’s a model pro.

And Sebastian Rode?
They played him in the holding role or central midfield in Frankfurt, but our coaches think he’d do well at full-back. I can imagine him being good for a surprise. He reminds me a bit of Jens Jeremies: he’s aggressive and a tireless runner, always determined, always up for it, always hurting his opponents.