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Exclusive interview

Rode: I did everything right by joining Bayern

Saturday's hard-earned win over Leverkusen owed a huge amount to Sebastian Rode. The 24-year-old came on as a half-time substitute and made an immediate impact, recovering possession and arrowing into the box  before winning the corner from which Franck Ribéry struck the winning goal.  On Sunday, spoke exclusively to Rode, who joined Munich from Frankfurt last summer and has appeared in nine of FCB’s 14 Bundesliga fixtures to date.

Interview: Sebastian Rode Hello Sebastian, what does the win in Saturday's top match feel like today?
Sebastian Rode: It still feels very, very good. Winning means we'll be a lot more relaxed at our Christmas party.

Were Leverkusen your toughest opponents in the league so far?
Dortmund also played well against us, but yes, we were pushed to the limit yesterday. We had a few problems, but at the end of the day all that counts is that we won again. Leverkusen could still be a threat in the title race, so it was an incredibly important victory.

You created almost nothing by way of chances in the first half. Why couldn't you impose your authority on the play?
On the one hand Leverkusen were very disciplined and played a good pressing game. And on the other hand, we didn't hit our peak.

Your introduction at half-time was the game-changer. user Chris has asked via Twitter what exactly Pep Guardiola said to you at half-time?
Not a lot, just that I should take Franck Ribéry’s position in midfield and go for it as usual.

What were you thinking when you came on?
I was thrilled and thought to myself: great, you've got 45 minutes to show the coach and the fans what you can do!

How do you manage to deliver the goods immediately after coming on as a sub?
It's a good question and to be very honest I don't really know the answer. I wasn't used to coming on as a sub in Frankfurt because I was always in the starting line-up. I try not to worry about it too much, and it's worked out well so far.

Yet again, Pep Guardiola singled you out for special praise afterwards. What's your reaction to that?
You're obviously pleased to hear it. The coach has made it clear he values me from the very first day, and the best evidence of that is the increasing amount of playing time I’m getting.

You have your feet firmly on the ground. How have you managed to stay that way?
It's just the way I am, and there's no reason for me to get above myself just because I'm now at Bayern. It's not how I am and it never will be.

How would you sum up your first six or so months at the club?
It's been very positive. I know I did everything right by joining Bayern and I've already learned a huge amount from my team-mates and the coach, but I want more. I hope I'll play more in the future and become a regular at some point.

Were you surprised at how much bigger everything is at Bayern?
I arrived with plenty of respect but I soon settled in. Bayern is certainly a big step up compared to Eintracht. We sometimes had 3,000 fans watching us train in the summer, and that's unbelievable.

You now face CSKA in the last Champions League group fixture, but there's nothing at stake for FCB...
But we still want to win! It'll be another 70,000 crowd and we want to put on a show for them. If I play I can promise I'll give it everything.

Next week you travel to third-placed FC Augsburg. Are you surprised at how well they're doing?
They're doing an outstanding job in Augsburg. They made a poor start to the season but refused to be knocked off course. It’s an object lesson in what you can achieve with consistently good work, and they’re not undeservedly third.

Our social media users have a couple of questions for you. Carina wants to know whether Franck Ribéry has played a practical joke on you?
Yes, he has, but I can't reveal what he did. Let's just move on! (laughs)

Anja asks when you'll finally be called up by Joachim Löw?
Soon I hope, but I'm not putting myself under pressure. I'm totally focused on Bayern. If I do well here and perform, we'll see what comes of it.

Finally, Frank wants to know if you've already learned the Bavarian card game Schafkopf?
Unfortunately not! Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer, Claudio Pizarro and Philipp Lahm play on every flight and bus transfer, but it's all so quick I can't actually follow it. However, Thomas has offered to explain at some stage (laughs).