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Heinz Müller: The hunger is awe-inspiring

From mid-summer onwards Heinz Müller trained all on his own – until he found himself at FC Bayern two weeks ago. The 36-year-old keeper, who is currently without a club, is an intern at FCB and taking part in the sessions supervised by Pep Guardiola. He is keeping himself fit and also helping to plug the gap left by the injury-enforced loss of Pepe Reina and Tom Starke.

Müller was on the books at FSV Mainz until the end of last season following a lengthy career including spells in Norway, England, and the first and second Bundesliga. quizzed him on his first impressions of Bayern and his thoughts on a second career in motor sport.

Interview: Heinz Müller, how’s the motor racing career going?
Heinz Müller: Once I’m finally finished with football I’ll try and compete in a couple of races. Motor sport has been a lifelong passion of mine and I’m also a trained mechanic. But for now my priority is to keep playing football.

You’re training at Bayern. How did that come about?
I’ve not had a club since the summer and everyone knows the injury situation regarding the Bayern keepers. The enquiry from [FCB technical director] Michael Reschke came via my agent and I didn’t think twice, even though it’s only an internship.

You’ve kept yourself fit?
As best I could, but there was obviously no team training, and you can’t simulate that. You can’t compare kicking the ball against a wall and catching it with going one-on-one with a weaving Thomas Müller or Franck Ribéry. It’s a lot more complex, you’re half a pace late here and ten centimetres short there.

How were the first few training sessions?
There are easier tasks then jumping in at the deep end at Bayern, as I found out in the first week. They’re all world champions and global stars. The pace, composure on the ball, quick decision-making, instant summing up of the situation, moving the ball, staring down the keeper and slotting home into the corner – the standard is extremely high. I was awestruck at the start.

How’s it going now after two weeks?
It’s pretty good now and I’m more comfortable every day. I sense it coming together and I’m recovering my feel for the goal, but I’m not at the limit yet.

What was it like when you entered the dressing room for the first time?
I wasn’t nervous because I’ve faced Bayern often enough and know plenty of the players. They gave me a fantastic welcome. They were all really friendly and no-one looked down his nose at me. It was easy, but still a bit special. There are so many World Cup winners, and I get to train with Manuel Neuer. Manuel is just great! The lad’s so good, as you can see in training.

How were you greeted by Pep Guardiola?
He said to me: We’re a great club and a great team with a great dressing room – and an outstanding coach! Obviously, I wasn’t going to argue with that!

Once you discover what goes on behind the scenes, what changes in your attitude towards FC Bayern?
People always go on about ‘Lucky Bayern’ but now I know it has nothing to do with good fortune. The club is totally focused on success. The players have three matches a week but they’re still working out in the weights room an hour before training. The hunger is awe-inspiring.

What’s the plan after your spell with Bayern?
I’m just enjoying it here for now. It’s tremendous fun, and getting a taste of life here is another nice little chapter in my career. I’m training at the highest level in the Bundesliga and that can’t do any harm. We’ll wait and see what comes along after that.