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Pre-match interview

Olic: We aim to spring a surprise

In his spell with FC Bayern from 2009 to 2012, Ivica Olic made 80 appearances and scored 23 goals. The former Munich crowd hero returns to his old stomping ground with VfL Wolfsburg for the Bundesliga restart fixture on Friday. The 34-year-old spoke to official FCB house journal Bayern  Magazin about the reunion. fcbayern.de presents excerpts from the interview:

Ivica, you'll be 35 in September. Asking you in the nicest possible way, don't you feel your age sometimes?
Ivica Olic: No. After the serious knee injury I picked up at Bayern I started to have back problems and I thought it might be the end, but I managed to get back on track. I was able to perform at my peak again. 2010 was the best year of my career, but I certainly don't think I'm any worse now. I was already 30 back then but I'm still feeling great.

Wolfsburg finished fifth last season. Many commentators think you're strong enough to challenge for a Champions League place this time. What's the official target?
Yes, lots of experts think we have a good team and should be finishing in the Champions League places. But I say this: last season we had nothing to lose after finishing 11th the previous year. We now have to prove last term was no one-off, and that's always tough. Furthermore, the teams who finished ahead of us have brought in new faces and have good squads. But we have plenty of quality too and we have to deal with the pressure.

The new season opens this Friday in Munich when you’re away to FC Bayern at the Allianz Arena. Is it still special for you?
I always enjoy coming back. I had the best season of my career with Bayern. We played really well against strong opponents in the Champions League, and I'll never forget it. But I'm on the opposing team now. We've played a few times in Munich with me in the team but we've always lost. I’m hopeful we might open the season with a surprise.

Bayern had a tough pre-season due to the large number of World Cup participants arriving back late for training. Might that be an advantage for you?
I'm certain the World Cup players who joined pre-season at a late stage can't yet be on peak form, but obviously Bayern still have a huge number of quality players in their squad. It'll be tough for us. But if I was given the choice of when to face Bayern, I'd take the first match.

Wolfsburg lost 6-1 at home to FCB the last time the sides met. Are you bent on revenge?
I'm just looking forward to the Bundesliga restart. We don't need any special motivation. Every player wants to give his best when he’s away to Bayern. Obviously I'm hoping we don’t suffer another big defeat like last time. We want to do the best we can in Munich.

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