Munich - 2014 was without a doubt the most successful year of Jerome Boateng’s career to date. The 26-year-old has become a permanent fixture for both club and country, and has picked up a fair few trophies along the way.
In an exclusive interview with bundesliga.com, Boateng talks about his aims for the rest of the calendar year, head coach Pep Guardiola, and his own future.
bundesliga.com: Jerome Boateng, you managed to maintain your high standard of performance after the World Cup and didn’t let your motivation levels drop, like some of your team-mates did. How do you explain that?
Jerome Boateng: That’s because I love football and want to improve a little bit every day to give me the best possible chance of winning more trophies at club and international level. I don’t want any regrets when my career is over. I want to give everything until the day I stop playing.
bundesliga.com: You seem to be very happy at FC Bayern.
Boateng: I am indeed. I’ve been in Munich for three and a half years now and feel incredibly settled. FC Bayern are a huge club that is perfectly organised. It’s hard to find anything better anywhere in the world. I want to stay here for many years to come.
bundesliga.com: How would you describe your daily routine under Pep Guardiola?
Boateng: We work a lot on the tactical side of things and not a day goes by when we haven’t learned something new. We have more possession and press our opponents more. Learning new things is always a lot of fun.
bundesliga.com: Is that tactical versatility Bayern’s biggest strength in 2014/15?
Boateng: I would agree. We change our system every game and we often alter our tactics in the middle of a match to cause our opponents even more confusion. This unpredictability is definitely our great strength.
bundesliga.com: What sort of changes have you made during a game?
Boateng: Recently, we’ve often started the match with a three-man defence and switched to a back four without our level of performance being affected in any way.
bundesliga.com: Are FC Bayern even better than they were this time last year, when you were also runaway leaders?
Boateng: Yes, we’re definitely a lot further along in our development process. We understand Pep Guardiola a lot better than we did in the autumn of 2013, our work together is going excellently and we’re constantly getting better at implementing his ideas. The important thing for our coach is that we keep the ball and play it on the floor. Overall I think he’s happy, even if he’s a perfectionist who’s never satisfied.
bundesliga.com: You’ve got before the winter break. What objectives have you set yourselves in that time?
Boateng: We don’t want to lose another match and want to finish the Hinrunde unbeaten at the top of the league. We also want to end the Champions League group stage on a high note against CSKA Moskva after our slip-up against Manchester City. After that we want to prepare ourselves for the second half of the season to give ourselves the best chance of achieving our aims.
bundesliga.com: First of all, you’re up against Bayer 04 Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena this weekend. What do you make of die Werkself?
Boateng: Leverkusen have been near the top of the table for several years now and have managed to qualify from a very tight group in the Champions League. In that sense, we know what to expect. We have to take Bayer very seriously, otherwise we’ll be in for a nasty shock. If we play to our potential though, I’m convinced we’ll win the game.
Jerome Boateng was speaking to Alexis Menuge