Interview

Kimmich set to finish job

“It’s been near perfect so far,” is Joshua Kimmich’s verdict on Bayern München’s UEFA Champions League campaign to date – but the versatile 25-year-old knows there is still plenty of hard work ahead.

‘It doesn’t get much better’

Only one side has won every game in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League – Bayern München, who became the seventh team to record six victories in a group before impressively dismantling Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their knockout tie. Having scored 27 goals – seven more than any other side – Bayern are among many people’s favourites to lift the trophy, but their versatile midfielder Joshua Kimmich is taking nothing for granted.

How would you assess Bayern’s UEFA Champions League campaign so far?

We have won all our games until now, so looking at the results, it has been near to perfect so far. We’ve had one or two difficult games, where we pushed through nevertheless. The round of 16 first leg in particular was a great performance, especially such a good result in an away match – it doesn’t get much better than that away from home. Now in the return leg, we have to focus and seal the deal.

Are you glad to be playing Champions League football again?

Yes, absolutely. We’re glad that we’re allowed to play again after a short break and that the Champions League is continuing, since it wasn’t certain for quite awhile, even if it’s sadly without spectators. This new format is different but could also be interesting.

Is it difficult to play behind closed doors? It must be a little strange.

Yes, it’s definitely different to what we’re used to. We’re a little used to it from our youth, when there are few spectators. We’ve now had a few games behind closed doors, but you never really get fully used to it. You do miss the fans. Of course, it’s great that we can continue to play, it’s better than not playing at all, but it would be a lot nicer with fans. As long as that’s not possible, we’ll continue to play games behind closed doors and we’ve been pretty successful in them so far.

The group stage went really well for you. Could you analyse Bayern’s performances?

We were very convincing in both games against Crvena zvezda. We played particularly well in the away fixture and won 6-0; that was a great atmosphere. I didn’t start that game but that allows you to appreciate the crowd better, although we quickly ruined the atmosphere because we played so well.

Against Tottenham, we had a very difficult start in the first game. During the first 30 minutes, Tottenham were better and we were lucky not to be further behind, but we ended up winning sensationally 7-2. Serge [Gnabry] scored four goals in that game, which was amazing. In the second game, there wasn’t much at stake any more. We’d already secured top spot and qualification, and yet we still confidently won 3-1.

Against Olympiacos, they were both rather laboured victories; they weren’t completely convincing. We won the away game 3-2 and I would say that was definitely our weakest Champions League game of this season. At home, we won 2-0 because we didn’t give them a sniff. Nevertheless, it took a long time until we managed to settle the game. That’s why I would say that those two games were the weaker performances.

You’ve mentioned Serge Gnabry’s four goals at Spurs, and at Crvena zvezda Robert Lewandowski also scored four goals in 15 minutes, a record – incredible but that’s almost normal for him, isn’t it?

Four goals are not the usual, even though he has managed that a few times before. I think this was really special even for him, especially to do it within 15 minutes – that really was spectacular.

How significant was that 7-2 win in London?

We didn’t expect that result, considering that Tottenham had been in the Champions League final a few months before. So it was a touchstone for us; we wanted to prove that we can mix it with the top European teams and we did, even though the first 30 minutes didn’t go very well. That’s something you forget a bit when you see the 7-2 final score. Tottenham played very well in that period but after that, we didn’t leave them much of a chance.

And what about Serge’s four goals in that game?

I wasn’t surprised at all. I’ve known him since we were 12 years old and I know what kind of a player he is. He can play out wide, he can play in the middle and he can play up front. He’s a player who can always surprise the opponents due to the fact that he can shoot with both feet. He is dangerous in front of the goal but he also makes a lot of assists, so he really combines both and that’s what makes him very dangerous. He can also dribble with both feet, is very dynamic and finishes well. His development has been great. It’s really important for him that he’s stayed injury-free, particularly over the last season. He’s barely been absent and then you realise that when he is in his rhythm, he’s hard to stop.

There was a change of coach at Bayern before the home game against Olympiacos; what difference did that make to your approach?

With Hansi Flick, we’ve tried to press higher, to put even more pressure on the opposing team, to force them to commit mistakes, and against Olympiacos that worked pretty well. We won many balls, kept the opponents far away from our goal, conceded very few goal chances, but didn’t have enough urgency in that game and didn’t have that many goalscoring opportunities. We won deservedly but it was more of a tough game.

What kind of influence has Hansi Flick had on the team?

He’s very good on an interpersonal level; he has a close relationship with the team but also with the other staff. He puts a lot of emphasis on appreciation of the staff, the team behind the team. The personal side is very important and he’s very good at that.

You must have taken a lot of confidence from those six group stage wins into the first leg at Chelsea?

Yes, certainly. We really saw that we were competitive on the highest level at the European stage again. Against Chelsea, the first half was a bit nervous from our side. There was a bit of feeling out, too many mistakes, neither team dared to take risks. And in the second half, we did that a lot better, we were more determined, more attacking, and deservedly won 3-0.

Why were you nervous?

It’s the round of 16 in the Champions League. The tension is always very high, you know that every mistake can be punished, and that is why there was a bit of tension and maybe even nervousness from our side.

Having taken that commanding lead, what do you expect from the second leg?

I certainly expect that Chelsea will throw caution to the wind from the start. They know that they need three, possibly four goals to advance further. We know that, too, so I expect that we go into the match with the intent to win it. It doesn’t make sense to say that we start at 0-0, because that is not the case, but nevertheless we have to have the aspiration to also win this game, to give ourselves a certain security and confidence.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

‘It doesn’t get much better’

Only one side has won every game in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League – Bayern München, who became the seventh team to record six victories in a group before impressively dismantling Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their knockout tie. Having scored 27 goals – seven more than any other side – Bayern are among many people’s favourites to lift the trophy, but their versatile midfielder Joshua Kimmich is taking nothing for granted.

How would you assess Bayern’s UEFA Champions League campaign so far?

We have won all our games until now, so looking at the results, it has been near to perfect so far. We’ve had one or two difficult games, where we pushed through nevertheless. The round of 16 first leg in particular was a great performance, especially such a good result in an away match – it doesn’t get much better than that away from home. Now in the return leg, we have to focus and seal the deal.

Are you glad to be playing Champions League football again?

Yes, absolutely. We’re glad that we’re allowed to play again after a short break and that the Champions League is continuing, since it wasn’t certain for quite awhile, even if it’s sadly without spectators. This new format is different but could also be interesting.

Is it difficult to play behind closed doors? It must be a little strange.

Yes, it’s definitely different to what we’re used to. We’re a little used to it from our youth, when there are few spectators. We’ve now had a few games behind closed doors, but you never really get fully used to it. You do miss the fans. Of course, it’s great that we can continue to play, it’s better than not playing at all, but it would be a lot nicer with fans. As long as that’s not possible, we’ll continue to play games behind closed doors and we’ve been pretty successful in them so far.

The group stage went really well for you. Could you analyse Bayern’s performances?

We were very convincing in both games against Crvena zvezda. We played particularly well in the away fixture and won 6-0; that was a great atmosphere. I didn’t start that game but that allows you to appreciate the crowd better, although we quickly ruined the atmosphere because we played so well.

Against Tottenham, we had a very difficult start in the first game. During the first 30 minutes, Tottenham were better and we were lucky not to be further behind, but we ended up winning sensationally 7-2. Serge [Gnabry] scored four goals in that game, which was amazing. In the second game, there wasn’t much at stake any more. We’d already secured top spot and qualification, and yet we still confidently won 3-1.

Against Olympiacos, they were both rather laboured victories; they weren’t completely convincing. We won the away game 3-2 and I would say that was definitely our weakest Champions League game of this season. At home, we won 2-0 because we didn’t give them a sniff. Nevertheless, it took a long time until we managed to settle the game. That’s why I would say that those two games were the weaker performances.

You’ve mentioned Serge Gnabry’s four goals at Spurs, and at Crvena zvezda Robert Lewandowski also scored four goals in 15 minutes, a record – incredible but that’s almost normal for him, isn’t it?

Four goals are not the usual, even though he has managed that a few times before. I think this was really special even for him, especially to do it within 15 minutes – that really was spectacular.

How significant was that 7-2 win in London?

We didn’t expect that result, considering that Tottenham had been in the Champions League final a few months before. So it was a touchstone for us; we wanted to prove that we can mix it with the top European teams and we did, even though the first 30 minutes didn’t go very well. That’s something you forget a bit when you see the 7-2 final score. Tottenham played very well in that period but after that, we didn’t leave them much of a chance.

And what about Serge’s four goals in that game?

I wasn’t surprised at all. I’ve known him since we were 12 years old and I know what kind of a player he is. He can play out wide, he can play in the middle and he can play up front. He’s a player who can always surprise the opponents due to the fact that he can shoot with both feet. He is dangerous in front of the goal but he also makes a lot of assists, so he really combines both and that’s what makes him very dangerous. He can also dribble with both feet, is very dynamic and finishes well. His development has been great. It’s really important for him that he’s stayed injury-free, particularly over the last season. He’s barely been absent and then you realise that when he is in his rhythm, he’s hard to stop.

There was a change of coach at Bayern before the home game against Olympiacos; what difference did that make to your approach?

With Hansi Flick, we’ve tried to press higher, to put even more pressure on the opposing team, to force them to commit mistakes, and against Olympiacos that worked pretty well. We won many balls, kept the opponents far away from our goal, conceded very few goal chances, but didn’t have enough urgency in that game and didn’t have that many goalscoring opportunities. We won deservedly but it was more of a tough game.

What kind of influence has Hansi Flick had on the team?

He’s very good on an interpersonal level; he has a close relationship with the team but also with the other staff. He puts a lot of emphasis on appreciation of the staff, the team behind the team. The personal side is very important and he’s very good at that.

You must have taken a lot of confidence from those six group stage wins into the first leg at Chelsea?

Yes, certainly. We really saw that we were competitive on the highest level at the European stage again. Against Chelsea, the first half was a bit nervous from our side. There was a bit of feeling out, too many mistakes, neither team dared to take risks. And in the second half, we did that a lot better, we were more determined, more attacking, and deservedly won 3-0.

Why were you nervous?

It’s the round of 16 in the Champions League. The tension is always very high, you know that every mistake can be punished, and that is why there was a bit of tension and maybe even nervousness from our side.

Having taken that commanding lead, what do you expect from the second leg?

I certainly expect that Chelsea will throw caution to the wind from the start. They know that they need three, possibly four goals to advance further. We know that, too, so I expect that we go into the match with the intent to win it. It doesn’t make sense to say that we start at 0-0, because that is not the case, but nevertheless we have to have the aspiration to also win this game, to give ourselves a certain security and confidence.

Read the full story
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‘It doesn’t get much better’

Only one side has won every game in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League – Bayern München, who became the seventh team to record six victories in a group before impressively dismantling Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their knockout tie. Having scored 27 goals – seven more than any other side – Bayern are among many people’s favourites to lift the trophy, but their versatile midfielder Joshua Kimmich is taking nothing for granted.

How would you assess Bayern’s UEFA Champions League campaign so far?

We have won all our games until now, so looking at the results, it has been near to perfect so far. We’ve had one or two difficult games, where we pushed through nevertheless. The round of 16 first leg in particular was a great performance, especially such a good result in an away match – it doesn’t get much better than that away from home. Now in the return leg, we have to focus and seal the deal.

Are you glad to be playing Champions League football again?

Yes, absolutely. We’re glad that we’re allowed to play again after a short break and that the Champions League is continuing, since it wasn’t certain for quite awhile, even if it’s sadly without spectators. This new format is different but could also be interesting.

Is it difficult to play behind closed doors? It must be a little strange.

Yes, it’s definitely different to what we’re used to. We’re a little used to it from our youth, when there are few spectators. We’ve now had a few games behind closed doors, but you never really get fully used to it. You do miss the fans. Of course, it’s great that we can continue to play, it’s better than not playing at all, but it would be a lot nicer with fans. As long as that’s not possible, we’ll continue to play games behind closed doors and we’ve been pretty successful in them so far.

The group stage went really well for you. Could you analyse Bayern’s performances?

We were very convincing in both games against Crvena zvezda. We played particularly well in the away fixture and won 6-0; that was a great atmosphere. I didn’t start that game but that allows you to appreciate the crowd better, although we quickly ruined the atmosphere because we played so well.

Against Tottenham, we had a very difficult start in the first game. During the first 30 minutes, Tottenham were better and we were lucky not to be further behind, but we ended up winning sensationally 7-2. Serge [Gnabry] scored four goals in that game, which was amazing. In the second game, there wasn’t much at stake any more. We’d already secured top spot and qualification, and yet we still confidently won 3-1.

Against Olympiacos, they were both rather laboured victories; they weren’t completely convincing. We won the away game 3-2 and I would say that was definitely our weakest Champions League game of this season. At home, we won 2-0 because we didn’t give them a sniff. Nevertheless, it took a long time until we managed to settle the game. That’s why I would say that those two games were the weaker performances.

You’ve mentioned Serge Gnabry’s four goals at Spurs, and at Crvena zvezda Robert Lewandowski also scored four goals in 15 minutes, a record – incredible but that’s almost normal for him, isn’t it?

Four goals are not the usual, even though he has managed that a few times before. I think this was really special even for him, especially to do it within 15 minutes – that really was spectacular.

How significant was that 7-2 win in London?

We didn’t expect that result, considering that Tottenham had been in the Champions League final a few months before. So it was a touchstone for us; we wanted to prove that we can mix it with the top European teams and we did, even though the first 30 minutes didn’t go very well. That’s something you forget a bit when you see the 7-2 final score. Tottenham played very well in that period but after that, we didn’t leave them much of a chance.

And what about Serge’s four goals in that game?

I wasn’t surprised at all. I’ve known him since we were 12 years old and I know what kind of a player he is. He can play out wide, he can play in the middle and he can play up front. He’s a player who can always surprise the opponents due to the fact that he can shoot with both feet. He is dangerous in front of the goal but he also makes a lot of assists, so he really combines both and that’s what makes him very dangerous. He can also dribble with both feet, is very dynamic and finishes well. His development has been great. It’s really important for him that he’s stayed injury-free, particularly over the last season. He’s barely been absent and then you realise that when he is in his rhythm, he’s hard to stop.

There was a change of coach at Bayern before the home game against Olympiacos; what difference did that make to your approach?

With Hansi Flick, we’ve tried to press higher, to put even more pressure on the opposing team, to force them to commit mistakes, and against Olympiacos that worked pretty well. We won many balls, kept the opponents far away from our goal, conceded very few goal chances, but didn’t have enough urgency in that game and didn’t have that many goalscoring opportunities. We won deservedly but it was more of a tough game.

What kind of influence has Hansi Flick had on the team?

He’s very good on an interpersonal level; he has a close relationship with the team but also with the other staff. He puts a lot of emphasis on appreciation of the staff, the team behind the team. The personal side is very important and he’s very good at that.

You must have taken a lot of confidence from those six group stage wins into the first leg at Chelsea?

Yes, certainly. We really saw that we were competitive on the highest level at the European stage again. Against Chelsea, the first half was a bit nervous from our side. There was a bit of feeling out, too many mistakes, neither team dared to take risks. And in the second half, we did that a lot better, we were more determined, more attacking, and deservedly won 3-0.

Why were you nervous?

It’s the round of 16 in the Champions League. The tension is always very high, you know that every mistake can be punished, and that is why there was a bit of tension and maybe even nervousness from our side.

Having taken that commanding lead, what do you expect from the second leg?

I certainly expect that Chelsea will throw caution to the wind from the start. They know that they need three, possibly four goals to advance further. We know that, too, so I expect that we go into the match with the intent to win it. It doesn’t make sense to say that we start at 0-0, because that is not the case, but nevertheless we have to have the aspiration to also win this game, to give ourselves a certain security and confidence.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

Interview

Kimmich set to finish job

“It’s been near perfect so far,” is Joshua Kimmich’s verdict on Bayern München’s UEFA Champions League campaign to date – but the versatile 25-year-old knows there is still plenty of hard work ahead.

‘It doesn’t get much better’

Only one side has won every game in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League – Bayern München, who became the seventh team to record six victories in a group before impressively dismantling Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their knockout tie. Having scored 27 goals – seven more than any other side – Bayern are among many people’s favourites to lift the trophy, but their versatile midfielder Joshua Kimmich is taking nothing for granted.

How would you assess Bayern’s UEFA Champions League campaign so far?

We have won all our games until now, so looking at the results, it has been near to perfect so far. We’ve had one or two difficult games, where we pushed through nevertheless. The round of 16 first leg in particular was a great performance, especially such a good result in an away match – it doesn’t get much better than that away from home. Now in the return leg, we have to focus and seal the deal.

Are you glad to be playing Champions League football again?

Yes, absolutely. We’re glad that we’re allowed to play again after a short break and that the Champions League is continuing, since it wasn’t certain for quite awhile, even if it’s sadly without spectators. This new format is different but could also be interesting.

Is it difficult to play behind closed doors? It must be a little strange.

Yes, it’s definitely different to what we’re used to. We’re a little used to it from our youth, when there are few spectators. We’ve now had a few games behind closed doors, but you never really get fully used to it. You do miss the fans. Of course, it’s great that we can continue to play, it’s better than not playing at all, but it would be a lot nicer with fans. As long as that’s not possible, we’ll continue to play games behind closed doors and we’ve been pretty successful in them so far.

The group stage went really well for you. Could you analyse Bayern’s performances?

We were very convincing in both games against Crvena zvezda. We played particularly well in the away fixture and won 6-0; that was a great atmosphere. I didn’t start that game but that allows you to appreciate the crowd better, although we quickly ruined the atmosphere because we played so well.

Against Tottenham, we had a very difficult start in the first game. During the first 30 minutes, Tottenham were better and we were lucky not to be further behind, but we ended up winning sensationally 7-2. Serge [Gnabry] scored four goals in that game, which was amazing. In the second game, there wasn’t much at stake any more. We’d already secured top spot and qualification, and yet we still confidently won 3-1.

Against Olympiacos, they were both rather laboured victories; they weren’t completely convincing. We won the away game 3-2 and I would say that was definitely our weakest Champions League game of this season. At home, we won 2-0 because we didn’t give them a sniff. Nevertheless, it took a long time until we managed to settle the game. That’s why I would say that those two games were the weaker performances.

You’ve mentioned Serge Gnabry’s four goals at Spurs, and at Crvena zvezda Robert Lewandowski also scored four goals in 15 minutes, a record – incredible but that’s almost normal for him, isn’t it?

Four goals are not the usual, even though he has managed that a few times before. I think this was really special even for him, especially to do it within 15 minutes – that really was spectacular.

How significant was that 7-2 win in London?

We didn’t expect that result, considering that Tottenham had been in the Champions League final a few months before. So it was a touchstone for us; we wanted to prove that we can mix it with the top European teams and we did, even though the first 30 minutes didn’t go very well. That’s something you forget a bit when you see the 7-2 final score. Tottenham played very well in that period but after that, we didn’t leave them much of a chance.

And what about Serge’s four goals in that game?

I wasn’t surprised at all. I’ve known him since we were 12 years old and I know what kind of a player he is. He can play out wide, he can play in the middle and he can play up front. He’s a player who can always surprise the opponents due to the fact that he can shoot with both feet. He is dangerous in front of the goal but he also makes a lot of assists, so he really combines both and that’s what makes him very dangerous. He can also dribble with both feet, is very dynamic and finishes well. His development has been great. It’s really important for him that he’s stayed injury-free, particularly over the last season. He’s barely been absent and then you realise that when he is in his rhythm, he’s hard to stop.

There was a change of coach at Bayern before the home game against Olympiacos; what difference did that make to your approach?

With Hansi Flick, we’ve tried to press higher, to put even more pressure on the opposing team, to force them to commit mistakes, and against Olympiacos that worked pretty well. We won many balls, kept the opponents far away from our goal, conceded very few goal chances, but didn’t have enough urgency in that game and didn’t have that many goalscoring opportunities. We won deservedly but it was more of a tough game.

What kind of influence has Hansi Flick had on the team?

He’s very good on an interpersonal level; he has a close relationship with the team but also with the other staff. He puts a lot of emphasis on appreciation of the staff, the team behind the team. The personal side is very important and he’s very good at that.

You must have taken a lot of confidence from those six group stage wins into the first leg at Chelsea?

Yes, certainly. We really saw that we were competitive on the highest level at the European stage again. Against Chelsea, the first half was a bit nervous from our side. There was a bit of feeling out, too many mistakes, neither team dared to take risks. And in the second half, we did that a lot better, we were more determined, more attacking, and deservedly won 3-0.

Why were you nervous?

It’s the round of 16 in the Champions League. The tension is always very high, you know that every mistake can be punished, and that is why there was a bit of tension and maybe even nervousness from our side.

Having taken that commanding lead, what do you expect from the second leg?

I certainly expect that Chelsea will throw caution to the wind from the start. They know that they need three, possibly four goals to advance further. We know that, too, so I expect that we go into the match with the intent to win it. It doesn’t make sense to say that we start at 0-0, because that is not the case, but nevertheless we have to have the aspiration to also win this game, to give ourselves a certain security and confidence.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

‘It doesn’t get much better’

Only one side has won every game in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League – Bayern München, who became the seventh team to record six victories in a group before impressively dismantling Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their knockout tie. Having scored 27 goals – seven more than any other side – Bayern are among many people’s favourites to lift the trophy, but their versatile midfielder Joshua Kimmich is taking nothing for granted.

How would you assess Bayern’s UEFA Champions League campaign so far?

We have won all our games until now, so looking at the results, it has been near to perfect so far. We’ve had one or two difficult games, where we pushed through nevertheless. The round of 16 first leg in particular was a great performance, especially such a good result in an away match – it doesn’t get much better than that away from home. Now in the return leg, we have to focus and seal the deal.

Are you glad to be playing Champions League football again?

Yes, absolutely. We’re glad that we’re allowed to play again after a short break and that the Champions League is continuing, since it wasn’t certain for quite awhile, even if it’s sadly without spectators. This new format is different but could also be interesting.

Is it difficult to play behind closed doors? It must be a little strange.

Yes, it’s definitely different to what we’re used to. We’re a little used to it from our youth, when there are few spectators. We’ve now had a few games behind closed doors, but you never really get fully used to it. You do miss the fans. Of course, it’s great that we can continue to play, it’s better than not playing at all, but it would be a lot nicer with fans. As long as that’s not possible, we’ll continue to play games behind closed doors and we’ve been pretty successful in them so far.

The group stage went really well for you. Could you analyse Bayern’s performances?

We were very convincing in both games against Crvena zvezda. We played particularly well in the away fixture and won 6-0; that was a great atmosphere. I didn’t start that game but that allows you to appreciate the crowd better, although we quickly ruined the atmosphere because we played so well.

Against Tottenham, we had a very difficult start in the first game. During the first 30 minutes, Tottenham were better and we were lucky not to be further behind, but we ended up winning sensationally 7-2. Serge [Gnabry] scored four goals in that game, which was amazing. In the second game, there wasn’t much at stake any more. We’d already secured top spot and qualification, and yet we still confidently won 3-1.

Against Olympiacos, they were both rather laboured victories; they weren’t completely convincing. We won the away game 3-2 and I would say that was definitely our weakest Champions League game of this season. At home, we won 2-0 because we didn’t give them a sniff. Nevertheless, it took a long time until we managed to settle the game. That’s why I would say that those two games were the weaker performances.

You’ve mentioned Serge Gnabry’s four goals at Spurs, and at Crvena zvezda Robert Lewandowski also scored four goals in 15 minutes, a record – incredible but that’s almost normal for him, isn’t it?

Four goals are not the usual, even though he has managed that a few times before. I think this was really special even for him, especially to do it within 15 minutes – that really was spectacular.

How significant was that 7-2 win in London?

We didn’t expect that result, considering that Tottenham had been in the Champions League final a few months before. So it was a touchstone for us; we wanted to prove that we can mix it with the top European teams and we did, even though the first 30 minutes didn’t go very well. That’s something you forget a bit when you see the 7-2 final score. Tottenham played very well in that period but after that, we didn’t leave them much of a chance.

And what about Serge’s four goals in that game?

I wasn’t surprised at all. I’ve known him since we were 12 years old and I know what kind of a player he is. He can play out wide, he can play in the middle and he can play up front. He’s a player who can always surprise the opponents due to the fact that he can shoot with both feet. He is dangerous in front of the goal but he also makes a lot of assists, so he really combines both and that’s what makes him very dangerous. He can also dribble with both feet, is very dynamic and finishes well. His development has been great. It’s really important for him that he’s stayed injury-free, particularly over the last season. He’s barely been absent and then you realise that when he is in his rhythm, he’s hard to stop.

There was a change of coach at Bayern before the home game against Olympiacos; what difference did that make to your approach?

With Hansi Flick, we’ve tried to press higher, to put even more pressure on the opposing team, to force them to commit mistakes, and against Olympiacos that worked pretty well. We won many balls, kept the opponents far away from our goal, conceded very few goal chances, but didn’t have enough urgency in that game and didn’t have that many goalscoring opportunities. We won deservedly but it was more of a tough game.

What kind of influence has Hansi Flick had on the team?

He’s very good on an interpersonal level; he has a close relationship with the team but also with the other staff. He puts a lot of emphasis on appreciation of the staff, the team behind the team. The personal side is very important and he’s very good at that.

You must have taken a lot of confidence from those six group stage wins into the first leg at Chelsea?

Yes, certainly. We really saw that we were competitive on the highest level at the European stage again. Against Chelsea, the first half was a bit nervous from our side. There was a bit of feeling out, too many mistakes, neither team dared to take risks. And in the second half, we did that a lot better, we were more determined, more attacking, and deservedly won 3-0.

Why were you nervous?

It’s the round of 16 in the Champions League. The tension is always very high, you know that every mistake can be punished, and that is why there was a bit of tension and maybe even nervousness from our side.

Having taken that commanding lead, what do you expect from the second leg?

I certainly expect that Chelsea will throw caution to the wind from the start. They know that they need three, possibly four goals to advance further. We know that, too, so I expect that we go into the match with the intent to win it. It doesn’t make sense to say that we start at 0-0, because that is not the case, but nevertheless we have to have the aspiration to also win this game, to give ourselves a certain security and confidence.

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‘It doesn’t get much better’

Only one side has won every game in the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League – Bayern München, who became the seventh team to record six victories in a group before impressively dismantling Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg of their knockout tie. Having scored 27 goals – seven more than any other side – Bayern are among many people’s favourites to lift the trophy, but their versatile midfielder Joshua Kimmich is taking nothing for granted.

How would you assess Bayern’s UEFA Champions League campaign so far?

We have won all our games until now, so looking at the results, it has been near to perfect so far. We’ve had one or two difficult games, where we pushed through nevertheless. The round of 16 first leg in particular was a great performance, especially such a good result in an away match – it doesn’t get much better than that away from home. Now in the return leg, we have to focus and seal the deal.

Are you glad to be playing Champions League football again?

Yes, absolutely. We’re glad that we’re allowed to play again after a short break and that the Champions League is continuing, since it wasn’t certain for quite awhile, even if it’s sadly without spectators. This new format is different but could also be interesting.

Is it difficult to play behind closed doors? It must be a little strange.

Yes, it’s definitely different to what we’re used to. We’re a little used to it from our youth, when there are few spectators. We’ve now had a few games behind closed doors, but you never really get fully used to it. You do miss the fans. Of course, it’s great that we can continue to play, it’s better than not playing at all, but it would be a lot nicer with fans. As long as that’s not possible, we’ll continue to play games behind closed doors and we’ve been pretty successful in them so far.

The group stage went really well for you. Could you analyse Bayern’s performances?

We were very convincing in both games against Crvena zvezda. We played particularly well in the away fixture and won 6-0; that was a great atmosphere. I didn’t start that game but that allows you to appreciate the crowd better, although we quickly ruined the atmosphere because we played so well.

Against Tottenham, we had a very difficult start in the first game. During the first 30 minutes, Tottenham were better and we were lucky not to be further behind, but we ended up winning sensationally 7-2. Serge [Gnabry] scored four goals in that game, which was amazing. In the second game, there wasn’t much at stake any more. We’d already secured top spot and qualification, and yet we still confidently won 3-1.

Against Olympiacos, they were both rather laboured victories; they weren’t completely convincing. We won the away game 3-2 and I would say that was definitely our weakest Champions League game of this season. At home, we won 2-0 because we didn’t give them a sniff. Nevertheless, it took a long time until we managed to settle the game. That’s why I would say that those two games were the weaker performances.

You’ve mentioned Serge Gnabry’s four goals at Spurs, and at Crvena zvezda Robert Lewandowski also scored four goals in 15 minutes, a record – incredible but that’s almost normal for him, isn’t it?

Four goals are not the usual, even though he has managed that a few times before. I think this was really special even for him, especially to do it within 15 minutes – that really was spectacular.

How significant was that 7-2 win in London?

We didn’t expect that result, considering that Tottenham had been in the Champions League final a few months before. So it was a touchstone for us; we wanted to prove that we can mix it with the top European teams and we did, even though the first 30 minutes didn’t go very well. That’s something you forget a bit when you see the 7-2 final score. Tottenham played very well in that period but after that, we didn’t leave them much of a chance.

And what about Serge’s four goals in that game?

I wasn’t surprised at all. I’ve known him since we were 12 years old and I know what kind of a player he is. He can play out wide, he can play in the middle and he can play up front. He’s a player who can always surprise the opponents due to the fact that he can shoot with both feet. He is dangerous in front of the goal but he also makes a lot of assists, so he really combines both and that’s what makes him very dangerous. He can also dribble with both feet, is very dynamic and finishes well. His development has been great. It’s really important for him that he’s stayed injury-free, particularly over the last season. He’s barely been absent and then you realise that when he is in his rhythm, he’s hard to stop.

There was a change of coach at Bayern before the home game against Olympiacos; what difference did that make to your approach?

With Hansi Flick, we’ve tried to press higher, to put even more pressure on the opposing team, to force them to commit mistakes, and against Olympiacos that worked pretty well. We won many balls, kept the opponents far away from our goal, conceded very few goal chances, but didn’t have enough urgency in that game and didn’t have that many goalscoring opportunities. We won deservedly but it was more of a tough game.

What kind of influence has Hansi Flick had on the team?

He’s very good on an interpersonal level; he has a close relationship with the team but also with the other staff. He puts a lot of emphasis on appreciation of the staff, the team behind the team. The personal side is very important and he’s very good at that.

You must have taken a lot of confidence from those six group stage wins into the first leg at Chelsea?

Yes, certainly. We really saw that we were competitive on the highest level at the European stage again. Against Chelsea, the first half was a bit nervous from our side. There was a bit of feeling out, too many mistakes, neither team dared to take risks. And in the second half, we did that a lot better, we were more determined, more attacking, and deservedly won 3-0.

Why were you nervous?

It’s the round of 16 in the Champions League. The tension is always very high, you know that every mistake can be punished, and that is why there was a bit of tension and maybe even nervousness from our side.

Having taken that commanding lead, what do you expect from the second leg?

I certainly expect that Chelsea will throw caution to the wind from the start. They know that they need three, possibly four goals to advance further. We know that, too, so I expect that we go into the match with the intent to win it. It doesn’t make sense to say that we start at 0-0, because that is not the case, but nevertheless we have to have the aspiration to also win this game, to give ourselves a certain security and confidence.

Penalty Pedigree

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