Benjamin Pavard: "Always strive for the maximum"
© Fotos: Fritz Beck
Benjamin Pavard will hold up the championship trophy for the third time on Sunday - after a game against VfB Stuttgart, the club from which he joined Bayern Munich. In an interview with our members' magazine "51", he talks about partying with the fans, wheat beer showers, his childhood and his nickname "Pavardinho".
The interview with Benjamin Pavard
Benji, after winning the league against Dortmund you were the first to shower coach Julian Nagelsmann with wheat beer…
"It's my third league title with Bayern, and finally we could celebrate the way we should. In the last two years this was not possible because of coronavirus. The wheat beer shower is part of the celebration in Munich, I could hardly wait - and took full advantage of the opportunity (smiling). The best thing was we could finally celebrate with our fans again at the Allianz Arena. Together we made up for something that hasn't been possible in the last two years. We won the titles in empty stadiums."
Did the league celebrations do you good after the Champions League exit?
"To be honest, I'm still very disappointed about the exit. We are Bayern, we always want to go all the way in every competition. In my eyes, we have to win at least two titles every year: the league plus the DFB Cup or the Champions League. So the season could have been better, even with the league. It's our own fault. But next season we start all over again."
Under Julian Nagelsmann you tend to play in a back three in defence. This causes you to move further in from the right. do you like that?
"The position is perfect for me. I played in central defence in Stuttgart. I don't really see myself as a right-back, I feel most comfortable in the centre of defence. That's where I can best develop and help the team with my qualities. I anticipate well and have good build-up play. I hope that I will be able to play in this position in the future. But of course that's up to the coach."
Your father played football in the third division. Was he a role model for you in the past?
"From him I learned early on what a winning mentality is: you want to win every game, you should never slack off, never. My attitude has always been to strive for the maximum. I've also had phases in my career when I didn't play well and had to take criticism. But you have to keep going, not give up. The mentality makes the difference."
Your nickname as a young player was "Pavardinho". Did you like that?
"I still like the name today (smiling). A youth coach gave it to me. We played a good game and afterwards he came to me and said I played in midfield and dribbled like a Brazilian. From that day on, I was called "Pavardinho". Later, as a defender, I also dribbled from time to time, but the coaches soon stopped me - it was too dangerous. Today, if in doubt, I prefer to hit the ball into the stands."
Your parents were worried you would take off after the World Cup title, you would dye your hair and become a second Neymar.
(laughing) "No, no, don't worry. My parents and everyone close to me know I haven't changed. No matter how many titles I win, I remain the same, simple and humble, both feet on the ground. That's how I was brought up and that's how I am. I've always done well with this attitude in my career. In football, you can't get caught up in emotions. Things go up quickly, but they also go down quickly."