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Exclusive interview

Rode: We definitely won’t get bored

This break has come at just the right time. Pep Guardiola has given his players three days off after Bayern successfully negotiated the recent run of fixtures. “A short breather always does you good,” said Sebastian Rode as he looked forward to a long weekend that allows the defender to take a short break abroad. “We’ve played every three days over the past few weeks and it will be the same again after the international break. So it’s good to get the opportunity of switching off and thinking about something else.”

In an exclusive interview with, Rode divulges where he will spend his weekend off, his progress over the first few months at FC Bayern and why he won’t forget the most recent trip with the double winners in a hurry. The man from the state of Hesse celebrates his 24th birthday on Saturday.

Interview with Sebastian Rode Hello, Sebastian. You were recently away with FC Bayern for a Champions League game for the first time. I believe it was a rather interesting trip?
Sebastian Rode: “The journey to Moscow was certainly out of the ordinary (he laughs). That started with the departure as we flew out to Russia a day early from Cologne straight after the Bundesliga game. And the fire alarm went off on the first night in the hotel. We had to assemble outside before we were shown to a restaurant. It was a rather unusual situation.” Manuel Neuer felt like he was back on the school playground. What was it like for you?
Rode: “It really did feel like being at school. Nobody knew what was going on at first. You couldn’t hear the alarm from the bedrooms. Then we were led outside.” How much did that incident interfere with your preparations for the match?
Rode: “Obviously, it wasn’t ideal but I don’t think it had a negative effect at the end of the day. We felt safe at all times. We were close to the Kremlin so nothing could happen to us (he grins).“ Half the squad is on international duty at the moment and you’re one of the players left behind at Säbener Strasse. How have you managed in the training sessions?
Rode: “We’re doing a lot of individual training during this phase. Everybody’s working on their own weaknesses in the gym or on the training ground. Of course, we’re a rather small group at the moment. But you can certainly get stuck in in five- or six-a-side games.” You’ve played six competitive games since joining FC Bayern and you’ve been in the squad for every match. What’s your initial assessment of your progress to date?
Rode: “Really positive! The lads have made me feel at home and I’ve settled into the city very well. I would like to have played a few more games but I’ve not done too badly for starters. The move to Munich was definitely the right step.” What areas do you think you can still improve in?
Rode: “I’m picking up more and more from Pep Guardiola’s approach to the game. It’s great being able to train under him. He gives you tips about how to act on the pitch and he shows you solutions for every possible situation. You can develop your game really well here - at every training session.” And I suppose you can learn a lot from team-mates like Xabi Alonso...
Rode: “You generally learn a lot when you watch other lads who play in the same position. Their composure on the ball, their ability to read the game: There’s certainly one or two things I can pick up.” Have you already got one particular mate in the team?
Rode: “I get on well with all the other players and I can talk to all of them. Away from the training ground there isn’t much time to do things together due to all the games we’re playing. But I’m sure that will change sometime.” You’ve been involved with projects against violence in your spare time. What does that actually involve?
Rode: “I’m an ambassador for the violence prevention campaign in Hesse. It’s a multifaceted role. There are no referees for the kids’ games in Hesse and it’s up to the teams to organise them. I’ve been involved with that. And I visit centres for young offenders. I’m involved in a wide range of activities.” What feedback do you get from the teenagers?
Rode: “It’s very positive. Everybody listens intently when I’m giving a talk and they’re happy when I sign autographs. It’s great fun and I’ll carry on with it even though I’m living a bit further away now.” The coach has given you all three days off. What have you got planned?
Rode: “I’ll fly out to Stockholm to visit my girlfriend. She’s studying over there. Some of my team-mates who’ve been to Stockholm said the city’s really beautiful. I’m really looking forward to the short break.” How important is it for you mentally to get away?
Rode: “A short breather always does you good. We’ve played every three days over the past few weeks and it will be the same again after the international break. So it’s good to get the opportunity of switching off and thinking about something else.” The fixtures are virtually non-stop after the international break. Does that suit you?
Rode: “Playing is always more fun than training so that’s cool. We’ve got a lot of big games coming up such as the Champions League match away to Roma and the DFB Cup tie at Hamburg SV. We definitely won’t get bored.”