Munich - With six Bundesliga titles, two DFB Cup triumphs and a UEFA Cup-winners medal racked up during his time at FC Bayern Munich, Lothar Matthäus is ideally placed to talk about the Bavarians’ current quest for silverware on multiple fronts.
Bayern have established a near unassailable lead at the top of the Bundesliga and Matthäus believes the 2013 title is already as good as in the bag, although he anticipates greater resistance to their bid for glory in both the DFB Cup and Champions League.
That said, the 150-time Germany international would not put it past his former club to end a two-season trophy drought in high style this time around.
Question: Bayern are in a league of their own at the top of the Bundesliga, can you see them stumbling?
Lothar Matthäus: Certainly not on the way to the Bundesliga title. For one thing they have too big an advantage, and on top of that they are really stable this year, and hungry after two years without a title. So the title is done and dusted: FC Bayern will be the 2012/13 champions. In the , they have more of a challenge on their hands with Borussia Dortmund in the quarter-finals, and then they still have another two other teams to beat to win it. In the Champions League, particularly after losing in the final against Chelsea last year, it’s something they desperately want to win, but there are tougher teams waiting in Europe than in the Bundesliga.
Question: You mentioned the quarter-final DFB Cup meeting with Dortmund. How will that go - there’s got to be a winner?
Matthäus: There will definitely be a winner because that’s the rule! There won’t be a draw - maybe after 90 minutes or extra time, but then it goes to penalties. Everyone’s looking forward to this game. Dortmund haven’t lost to Bayern for three years in either the league or cup. That’s three away games and twice at home, so you could make a case for Dortmund even starting out as slight favourites. On the other hand, this is a different Bayern from the team of the past two and a half years.
Question: Given Bayern’s comfortable lead in the Bundesliga, is there now more pressure on them to perform in the cup?
Matthäus: Bayern are always under pressure, but the team and coach know how to deal with it. They know what to do and they don’t panic. Of course they want to show who’s the best against the strong teams and Bayern have already proven that in the league - now they can do it in the DFB Cup and in the Champions League as well.
Question: How important would it be to send out a signal with a cup success against Dortmund?
Matthäus: Bayern send out a signal every weekend with one record following the other, but games against Dortmund have a particular significance for Bayern now. You could see that in the first half of season when they ‘only’ drew 1-1 at home against the defending champions and the players were angry after the game - and that doesn’t happen very often with FC Bayern.