Whether he's been raiding down the right or shoring up central defence, Benjamin Pavard has had a fine first season with Bayern Munich. - © DFL
Whether he's been raiding down the right or shoring up central defence, Benjamin Pavard has had a fine first season with Bayern Munich. - © DFL
bundesliga

Benjamin Pavard: "Bayern Munich want to win for fans more than ever"

Benjamin Pavard has said that he and his Bayern Munich teammates will be playing for the fans more than ever when they return to action on Sunday.

Defending champions Bayern will resume their bid to win the Bundesliga for an eighth time in a row when they take on Union Berlin in the capital.

It will be the leaders' first game since a 2-0 victory over Augsburg on 8 March, and Pavard says he is happy to get back playing following a lengthy interruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

"Even if the crowd won't be there, it can allow people to think a little on something else," the 24-year-old told French sports paper L’Equipe. "There are fans who are waiting [for football to return] and there are sick people or people who have been affected for whom it can do some good.

Pavard (l.) has made 23 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern so far in 2019/20. - DFL

"Football is a spectacle. A bit of skill or a goal can create an emotion. If only for that, I tell myself that we can be useful. We'll play for them."

Comfortable at either full-back or centre-back, Pavard has been a revelation since moving from VfB Stuttgart. He has featured in 35 of Bayern's 37 competitive games this season, and has previously signalled his determination to improve on a tally of two goals and three assists in 23 Bundesliga appearances.

A FIFA World Cup winner with France in 2018, he says he was confident of making a significant contribution during his first year in Bavaria.

"For the people who criticised me, yes, for me, no," Pavard said, when asked if it had been a surprise to have played so much. "I came to one of the biggest clubs in the world – if not the best – to play. I fight for that every day.

Watch: See how Pavard and Bayern are set in the title race

"It's going well at the moment but that doesn't mean that I think I've arrived. I think I'm having a good first season. But I'm never happy. I don't want to give up my place so I'm going to continue to work."

Pavard believes that Bayern have a "complete" team that can win the UEFA Champions League, and that even more sides now fear the five-time European champions following a 3-0 first-leg win over Chelsea in the last 16.

Having compatriots like Kingsley Coman, Lucas Hernandez, Corentin Tolisso and Mickaël Cuisance at the club has helped the former Lille defender feel more at home. Bayern have a tradition of employing talented French players, and Pavard sees no reason why he can't follow the likes of Bixente Lizarazu, Franck Ribery, and Willy Sagnol in staying for the long term.

Playing alongside French compatriots Corentin Tolisso (l.) and Kingsley Coman (r.) in 2018/19, Bayern legend Franck Ribery (c.) won a league and cup double in his final season with the club. - via www.imago-images.de/imago images / Revierfoto

"Bayern are a club that suits me," he said, highlighting the discipline required to make it at the record German champions. "Its values are the same as mine… when you join, you sense the history. When I see French players stay for such a long time, it reinforces the idea that it’s a real family here.

"You do have to work and be rigorous. If you do that, the Germans will love you.

"I don't know how many years I'll stay at Bayern: eight years, 10 years, four years… I feel good here. I hope to win a lot of titles with the club."