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Exclusive interview, part 3

Rummenigge: Our football had a new quality

It has been another eventful and exciting season at Bayern, culminating in the domestic double. “We've played a different quality of football in this campaign,” Karl-Heinz Rummenigge declared in the third part of a major interview. The FCB chairman also reflected on Pep Guardiola’s first season in Munich, and looked ahead to the World Cup in Brazil, where a large number of Bayern players are going for glory. “I wish all of them good luck at the World Cup and hope they enjoy the tournament,” Rummenigge said.

Interview with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, part 3: Pep Guardiola has completed his first season at FC Bayern. Has he surprised you?
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: He hasn't surprised me at all. He's shown the same level of quality as he did at Barcelona. Pep is a wonderful coach with a clear philosophy, a clear plan - and, as you saw in the cup final, he's a coach capable of springing a tactical surprise that causes the opposition problems. We're really happy with him. We have to thank the dear Lord he sent Pep Guardiola to us in Munich.

You recently described Pep as an “inspired coach”. What is so inspirational about him?
After winning the treble you might tend to think you don't need to change anything and all changes are wrong. But Pep has changed quite a few things. And all the changes he made were right. He got rid of the two defensive midfielders, he put Philipp Lahm in the holding role, the team played higher up the pitch and they pressed more than in the previous season... he set the team new challenges. Players like Philipp Lahm, Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer have repeatedly told me how much the squad enjoy the new regime. We've also played a different quality of football in this campaign.

How did you react to Guardiola's idea of playing Philipp Lahm in the holding midfield role?
It was a brilliant decision. We had arguably the best right-back in the world - and moving him into defensive midfield improved the quality of the team. Philipp enjoys playing in his new role and he’s incredibly clever and intelligent in that position.

Pep Guardiola has worked incredibly hard to be successful. In his review of this term he said it was his “most difficult year as a coach.”
He had to get used to a different culture in Germany and here at Bayern Munich, and he also had to learn a new language. You can't forget that. But I think the only thing that annoys him is not winning the Champions League. He's incredibly ambitious.

Have you had chance to see the private side of Pep Guardiola?
Pep really feels at home in Munich because he's discovered something here that clearly doesn't exist in Spain: people leave him alone when he goes out to eat or have a coffee somewhere. He values that a lot. On top of that, he's an unbelievably modest man. That makes him a really good ambassador for Bayern Munich.

The World Cup in Brazil is just round the corner. Will you be watching the tournament?
I'm really interested in the World Cup. I'll watch lots of games. A lot of our players will be in Brazil. I wish all of them good luck at the World Cup and I hope they can enjoy the tournament. Getting the chance to play at the World Cup finals is something special.

Who do you think are the favourites?
Brazil are the big favourites. They're playing a completely different type of football now. They're no longer just a magical group of players but rather an incredibly aggressive team.

And Germany?
I'm happy people are a bit less over optimistic about Germany compared with a couple of months ago. I said that to Joachim Löw at the cup final: it's always better to exceed expectations rather than not meet them. It's important for Germany to get off to a good start. If they can get a bit of a boost like they did four years ago then I think they can go though to the last four. You need a bit of luck after that.

You're off on holiday soon. Can you really switch off?
Holiday for me is making a lot of calls in the morning about the transfer market. But even I get chance to unpack my swimming trunks.