Martínez: I'm feeling quick and strong

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Eight journalists were typing and listening to Javi Martínez on Thursday noon when David Alaba sneaked in, grinning. Alaba listened to his team-mate for a few minutes before cutting in: "An interview in German? Are you nuts? Sweet!" Martínez sheepishly got up to approach the TV reporters a few yards away. In the second part of the press conference he proved proficient in Bavarian as well: "Servus! It's an honour!"

In his fourth year the Spaniard feels at home in Munich and at FC Bayern -- even though he has faced hard times. The defensive all-rounder won the treble in his very first season with Bayern in 2013, but a knee injury forced him to the sidelines for over a year. The encounter with Dortmund two weeks ago was the first match in which Martínez played the full 90 minutes since his injury.

Centre-back instead of midfielder

"I'm feeling very quick, strong, focused -- simply good," he reported two days before the Bundesliga match away to Werder Bremen on Saturday at 15.30 CET. He has no problems with his knee any more. "I'm not quite back at 100 percent, but it's close. The Dortmund match was a fantastic test. I'm ready for the upcoming games," commented the Spaniard, who currently plays as a centre-back in Pep Guardiola's current formation.

At first Martínez was a defensive midfielder at FCB. "I'm flexible," he commented on Thursday. The two positions do not differ too much. "As a defensive midfielder you run more, but not as fast as in the defence." Against Bremen the 27-year-old is set to defend at Jérôme Boateng's side -- a partner he can count on.

As is David Alaba, who is back on the left flank after Martínez' return. "We're glad Javi can play football again," said Alaba, "the last few matches showed he's in very good form again." And not only in terms of sport -- it holds true for the language as well. Martínez' German is becoming ever more fluent. His is now proficient enough in his adopted second tongue to say, almost faultlessly: "We're one of the best teams in Europe. I have a feeling it'll be a very good season."


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