Munich - In his heyday, Michael Schumacher was one of the most high-profile faces in global sport.
The seven-time Formula 1 world champion, who definitively retired in from the circuit in 2012, has more than one sporting passion in life however, and football is right up there with the most enduring of them. And as he revealed in interview, the 44-year-old motorsport legend is more than just a passive follower of the game.
Question: Michael Schumacher, in June you played in former Germany captain Michael Ballack's official farewell match against a World Select in Leipzig...
Michael Schumacher: Playing alongside the professionals is just the greatest buzz for me. I took part in one game in Madrid between teams captained by Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane. That was amazing, what they could do with the ball was a high art form. When it comes to football, that was my most memorable experience.
Question: You're a keen follower of the Bundesliga. How do you think it bears comparison with other leading leagues at the moment?
Schumacher: The Bundesliga has just overtaken the very best and it's close to lapping the rest. The way the league's developed is really phenomenal. And it's not just Bayern Munich - with Dortmund, Leverkusen and so on I think we're very well represented internationally.
Question: What would you attribute that trend to?
Schumacher: It's down in great part simply to top-class management. And that in turn has a lot to do with healthy finances, with clubs choosing the right players and with the youth system as well, which is really paying dividends now. I think you can take Julian Draxler as an example of someone who's making great progress and could go a lot further yet. And that's not to even mention the younger players, like Mario Götze, who've long since made a name for themselves already.
Question: How do you see this season's title race panning out?
Schumacher: On paper, Bayern Munich obviously have to be out there in front - with their new coach, who's got a certain reputation to maintain. Although I can see that posing a bit of a problem in itself. It's going to be difficult for everyone concerned to top what they've already achieved. You have to admire what Jupp Heynckes has left in place at Bayern. Now they have to follow through on those achievements, then we can maybe really start talking about them.