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Paderborn’s top striker

Kachunga: We’ll soak up the atmosphere

SC Paderborn's arrival in the Bundesliga caused an unprecedented football boom in the East Westphalian town, as Bayern's next opponents increased their membership tenfold almost overnight. An ongoing outbreak of euphoria has been maintained and fuelled by the minnows’ stunning achievement in taking top spot in the standings after four matches.

One of the reasons why Paderborn travel to Munich as leaders is striker Elias Kachunga, scorer of three goals so far. Interviewed exclusively by the Germany U–21 international discussed his team's great start, the big game away to FCB, and a former team-mate who now plays for Munich.

Interview: Elias Kachunga Elias, do you have a colour printer at home?
Elias Kachunga: Of course. Why do you ask?

Because you'll certainly have printed out the league table.
Ha! (laughs) In fact not. Obviously I've taken pics and screenshots because it's a nice snapshot in time, but we're not making a big deal out of it. Our target is to avoid relegation and there’s a long way to go yet.

What would you have said if a fortune teller had told you you'd be travelling to Munich on Matchday 5 as league leaders?
I'd have flicked the V’s and demanded my money back (laughs). Coming to Munich is fantastic in any case, and even better because we’re league leaders. But what we're looking forward to most is the match. It's very special to be flying in for a game against Bayern rather than 1860.

Coach André Breitenreiter has described SC Paderborn as the “biggest underdogs in Bundesliga history." But you've not looked like underdogs so far.
If you look only at resources we really are complete underdogs, because all the other clubs have more room for manoeuvre than us. But we all fight for each other and go the extra yard. We enjoy every day together and that's why it's going so well at the moment.

Before the season, club president Wilfried Finke said he was looking for ten points from the first four matches, but you've “only" managed eight. Have voices been raised?
Not at all (laughs). The president is delighted with the way things are going. We've refused to put ourselves under pressure and we've just gone out and played. It's what makes us strong, and it's one of the reasons we already have eight points. There’s no burden on us at all.

How are the players coping with your new-found fame?
We’re enjoying it. When you play well you attract more attention. But it doesn't add to the pressure, it's just fantastic and it's why we play football! Lots of people still regard us as a village team, but others are becoming aware we're not that small after all and we’re capable of great things. We know it'll be tough at times, but our coach knows exactly how we should react.

Your coach has said you should enjoy the Bayern clash, but isn't that easier said than done?
We're just looking forward to playing one of the best teams in the world. We're under no pressure, so we'll just soak up the atmosphere and see what comes of it.

Are you looking forward to crossing swords with star striker Robert Lewandowski?
Of course. He's an outstanding player and a world-class striker. Just look at the way he's come on in recent years – it's tremendous and I'd like to emulate it. But obviously I'm delighted the goals are coming for me at the moment.

Bayern defender Dante has praised you as a quick and dangerous striker. Can he expect a torrid night?
I took my first steps as a pro as a 17 or 18-year-old in Mönchengladbach. Dante was really good to me at the time and got stuck in to the tackles. It's wonderful when a player like Dante has such positive things to say about me. I hope I can make life as difficult as possible for him on Tuesday.

Pep Guardiola expects Paderborn to go for it in Munich because you have nothing to lose. Is he right?
Obviously I can't say anything about tactics, but the coach knows exactly how to set us up for the match. I'm sure he'll give us a perfect game plan.

Paderborn's game is based on hard running, but how long can you keep it up?
Bayern generally have the bulk of the possession so we’ll have a lot of running to do. We're not really used to playing twice a week, but we worked hard over the summer and we're not afraid. We're in good spirits, we'll give it our best shot, and we hope to take something from the game.