Created on 23-05-2015 at 09:30 AM
He is a world champion and two-time European champion – but Pepe Reina had to wait for a national championship title until this day. When FC Bayern receive the shield on Saturday the 32-year-old is finally able to call himself German champion. Reina is appropriately happy. “I truly wanted this title,” he told fcbayern.de, “when Bayern got in touch with me last summer my first thought was: finally I can win a national championship. I didn't want to finish my career without having been champion.”
Reina is not the only FCB debutant when it comes to the shield. Juan Bernat, Sebastian Rode, Mehdi Benatia, Gianluca Gaudino and Sinan Kurt are winning a national championship title for the first time too. “It's an awesome experience,” reported Rode, “as a kid you dream of being German champion. That dream comes true now.”
Bernat is “very happy” too. “It's my first title as a pro,” said the 22-year-old who moved from Valencia to Munich at the start of the season. “It's not easy when you're new to such a big club. But I can be very, very satisfied with this season. I've had a lot of playing time.”
“I came here to win titles,” said Benatia, who switched from AS Roma to Munich last summer. The Moroccan international is looking forward to the celebrations at the weekend. “My team-mates told me about it. There will be a big party with our fans who supported us fantastically over the whole year. We want to say thank you.”
'That showering thing...'
The FCB championship debutants are particularly excited about events at the Allianz Arena after the shield handover on Saturday afternoon. “The beer, the big jugs and that showering thing,” said Bernat, who is well-informed about the obligatory Weissbier (wheat beer) showers. Rode is actually experienced in this regard: “When we were promoted with Frankfurt we had something similar. It'll be a bigger party this time. The three-litre steins will be well-filled.”
Reina's anticipation of the parties at the stadium on Saturday and the Town Hall balcony on Sunday is huge too. “We’ve worked hard over the whole year. Now we can have fun, celebrating together with the fans,” said the Spaniard. After a season shaped by injuries the championship triumph is a “great thing,” commented Benatia, “even if all of us would certainly have liked to get through to at least one more final.” Rode added: “But you always need new targets.”