Benjamin Pavard has enjoyed a fine first season at Bayern Munich, but he still wants to add more goals and assists to his name as he seeks to succeed Joshua Kimmich in his role as an attacking right-back.
The French World Cup winner has operated mostly at right-back since his summer move from VfB Stuttgart, although he has often slotted comfortably into the centre-back position as well.
It’s as an attacking threat, however, that the 24-year-old feels he can continue to improve. Pavard has two goals and three assists in 23 Bundesliga matches in 2019/20, but he is eager to make an even bigger contribution.
“I have good statistics for my first season at Bayern,” he told Sport1. “But I always want to improve.
“I work hard in training, for example, on my crossing. In the future I want to have more assists and score more goals myself.”
Pavard’s arrival has allowed Kimmich to shift up to a central midfield role, and the pair’s adaptability and impressive fitness have resulted in them being the Bavarians’ most-used outfield players this season.
Goals in home wins over Mainz and Union Berlin have helped Pavard become popular with Bayern’s fans, but his most famous strike came at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. A picture-perfect volley against Argentina was later voted Goal of the Tournament.
The former Lille player said his life had changed since becoming a world champion. After being relegated with Stuttgart last season, however, linking up with five-time European champions Bayern has further enhanced his reputation.
“Absolutely, [my life is different],” Pavard said. “I won the World Cup and play with Bayern Munich, one of the biggest clubs in the world and where people pay even more attention to you.
”All at once, after the World Cup a lot more people knew my name, and since joining Bayern that’s increased again. I’m under close observation, but that doesn’t bother me.
“I’ve always dreamed of winning titles. I’ve won the World Cup – the biggest of them all. But I won’t be satisfied with that.”
Pavard said he signed for Bayern in the hope of winning the UEFA Champions League, and he’s still in line to do that this year following his side’s impressive 3-0 round-of-16 first-leg win over Chelsea.
He has started all seven of his side’s European fixtures so far, and has also helped the German champions become favourites to win the Bundesliga for a record eighth season in a row. Before the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the campaign, Bayern were four points ahead of Borussia Dortmund in the standings.
Watch: Pavard was impressed by Hansi Flick's early impact at Bayern
Hansi Flick has guided Bayern back to the top of the table after replacing Niko Kovac in November. Considering they have also kept their treble hopes alive by reaching the DFB Cup semi-finals, it’s no surprise that he was given the job on a permanent basis earlier this month.
Following the former Germany assistant manager’s appointment to an interim role, Pavard was one of the first to speak publicly about Flick’s positive impact on the squad. The Frenchman expects to continue to get better now that Flick’s tenure has been extended.
“We have a really good relationship,” Pavard said when asked about Flick, who played for Bayern as a midfielder. “He’s a coach that’s very close to the players – whether they’re in the starting eleven or among the substitutes.
“We get along well and when he has something to say to me, he’ll always say it directly to my face. He communicates a lot with us. He often explains to me in one-on-one conversations about how I can improve further.”
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