Munich - With 100 days to go until the FIFA World Cup gets under way with hosts Brazil entertaining Croatia in Sao Paulo, bundesliga.com caught up with a man hoping to play a major role in the tournament opener, FC Bayern München centre-back Dante.
The 30-year-old admitted he can hardly wait for "the biggest tournament around" to get started, and after sweeping the board with the Bavarians last season, he is now after the ultimate accolade with his national team, who he is likely to represent in a friendly in South Africa on Wednesday.
also revealed an insight into Bayern's unprecedented success as he continues his quest for trophies with the German record champions.
bundesliga.com: Dante, with 100 days to go until the World Cup, how much are you looking forward to the tournament?
Dante: The excitement is growing slowly - it's the biggest tournament around. And we're playing at home. We know our three group opponents [Croatia, Cameroon and Mexico, ed.] and also who we could meet in the last 16 [potentially the Netherlands or Spain, ed.].
bundesliga.com: What's the atmosphere like in the country?
Dante: Everybody's looking forward to this event. They're all delighted that so many people from different nations are going to be coming to Brazil. Brazilians are very friendly hosts. Everybody's ready.
bundesliga.com: After the 5-1 win over FC Schalke 04, Bayern are even closer to clinching a 24th league title. How do you explain the team's apparent invincibility?
Dante: Our hunger for success is our biggest strength. After winning the treble last season, we started from scratch because we all wanted to show the new coach that he could rely on us. We know how to deal with success. It sometimes gets pretty heated between us in games or training, but that's because we all want the maximum success. Even having somebody around like Matthias Sammer does us good because his winning mentality is unrivalled.
bundesliga.com: What's different this season compared to last?
Dante: Last season we wanted to get a goal as quickly as possible. This term, we're more patient and flexible. We're getting more possession and we're creating more chances. We've become more flexible, particularly up front. We can play with long balls and then a minute later, with short passing. We're constantly swapping positions and that's confusing our opponents. That's what makes us so strong and unpredictable. We're playing high up the field and very dominant - which is the trademark of [Bayern head coach] Pep Guardiola.
bundesliga.com: Even with players out, things are going well. Is the squad more complete these days?
Dante: When a player like Franck Ribery is out, we're now able to cover for him. The depth and quality of the squad is sensational, even though, if the truth be known, Franck's irreplaceable.
bundesliga.com: Is the aim to defend your treble this season?
Dante: We want to win every game. We'll have to see what we get come the end of the season. Of course we will try to win all the trophies once again.
Interview by Alexis Menuge