Celozzi looking forward to FCB reunion
Stefano Celozzi patrolled the right flank for the FC Bayern reserves between 2005 and 2008. After spells at Karlsruhe, Stuttgart and Frankfurt he joined VfL Bochum in the summer of 2014. The 27-year-old right-back is an undisputed first-team regular, appearing in all Bochum's matches so far this season. It was only last week that he extended his contract through 2020.
Wednesday evening's cup clash will bring a reunion with his former club for Celozzi. "We're like little children, of course we're absolutely looking forward to the game," Celozzi said in an interview with stadium magazine 100% VfL Bochum. The encounter with the record cup winners is going to be "a great experience for the club and the city. A quarter-final tie with Bayern -- nothing can match that."
'Great time' in Munich
The Swabian native joined FC Bayern from SSV Ulm as a 16-year-old in the summer of 2005. The initial plan was to play for the FC Bayern U-19s. It was more by coincidence that he joined the second team at a training camp, where he turned in displays so convincing that he played for the reserves from then on. "Apparently Hermann Gerland thought I was quite good, so I joined the reserves instead of playing for the U-19s," Celozzi recalled.
He made 81 appearances for FC Bayern II in the Regionalliga, playing alongside Philipp Lahm and Holger Badstuber, before joining Karlsruhe. "It was a great time, and I genuinely have nothing but fond memories," he said of his three years in Munich. Later Sven Ulreich and Serdar Tasci were his team-mates at VfB Stuttgart, where he even played in the Champions League against FC Barcelona. Celozzi was later Sebastian Rode's team-mate in Frankfurt.
Friendships set to one side
Many of the faces at the at the sold-out rewirpowerSTADION will be familiar to Celozzi on Wednesday evening, but there is one person he is particularly eager to meet again: his former coach and mentor Gerland. "Except for my parents, I owe Hermann Gerland more than any other man. I'm always glad to see him," Celozzi declared.
"He was better and younger than the others so I put him straight into the team," Gerland revealed to fcbayern.de. "He was my player for two or three years," continued the 'Tiger', who predicted the young full-back's ascent into the pro ranks at an early stage and is now thrilled to see Celozzi "performing well" at Gerland's home club and first love Bochum. "I think he'll have good memories of FC Bayern," the seasoned coach declared.
However, old friendships will be set aside on Wednesday evening. Celozzi has faced off with Bayern four times in the past -- and all four matches ended in 1-0 defeats for the 27-year-old, a "model professional" according to Bochum sporting director Christian Hochstätter. Celozzi is keen to reverse his personal trend against the Reds: "We'll try everything we know and we're really looking forward to it, although it'll obviously be very tough," the full-back said, before concluding with a grin: "But it's surely time we beat them again!"