After an all-conquering first half of the 2015/16 campaign, FC Bayern München centre-half Medhi Benatia is enjoying a well-deserved winter break.
'We never let up'
bundesliga.com: Medhi Benatia, are you pleased that the winter break is now upon us?
Medhi Benatia: I think the break will do us good. During the last few weeks we were playing a game every three days. The break has come at the right time and to prove that you only need to look at our injury list. It’s good that we now have some time to recover and recharge. If I had been fully fit then I would have liked to have kept playing and stayed in a rhythm, but the break means that I won’t miss as many games due to injury.
bundesliga.com: You’ve played for Udinese Calcio, AS Roma and now Bayern, but have you ever played in a side as good as this one right now?
Benatia: Absolutely not. In 2013/14 with Roma we won a lot of games and [almost] reached the 90-point mark but the way we’ve been playing since the start of the season is something I’ve never experienced. It’s pretty close to perfection.
bundesliga.com: What’s the secret to that domestic dominance?
Benatia: We never relax. We have an unbelievable hunger to win and never let up. We don’t just want to win games, but we want to put smiles on the fans’ faces with big wins, which we have managed to do recently.
'Happy with my performances'
bundesliga.com: Have there been any negatives from the Hinrunde, then?
Benatia: We lost once, and at Borussia Mönchengladbach at that. Of course that can happen when you play at Gladbach, even though we were dominant in the first period. It’s not an accident that they’re near the top of the table. Then again, straight after that we got back to winning ways and want to continue that now for as long as possible.
bundesliga.com: And has it been a satisfying first half of the season for you on a personal level?
Benatia: Yes, it has been positive, even though I've been set back slightly by my muscle injuries. I’m happy with my performances, though, both defensively and from attacking set-pieces.
'We want to win as many games as possible'
bundesliga.com: And what have you made of Thomas Müller, who has been outstanding this season?
Benatia: Thomas is unbelievable. He’s always exactly where he needs to be. He reads the game like nobody else but most impressive is his will to win, whoever we’re playing or whatever competition it is. He’s really, really important for Bayern and he and Robert Lewandowski click so well up top. Watching both is an absolute pleasure and they’re definitely among the three or four best attackers in the world.
bundesliga.com: Finally, do you have any particular aims for 2016?
Benatia: We want to win as many games as possible and concede as few goals as possible. Perhaps we can even set a new record again.
Medhi Benatia was speaking to Alexis Menuge.