- Ricken expecting tense Supercup against Bayern.
- Former midfielder predicts Borussia to win 1-0 on Sunday.
- 40-year-old believes BVB squad is the most exciting in the Bundesliga.
Lars Ricken spent his entire career at Borussia Dortmund after joining the club as a teenager, winning three Bundesliga titles, the UEFA Champions League and two Supercups in his 14 years as a Schwarz-Gelben player.
Ahead of the latest edition of the Supercup between BVB and FC Bayern München, Ricken, who has occupied the role of Youth Coordinator at Borussia since 2008, spoke to bundesliga.com about Sunday’s clash, Dortmund’s summer recruitment and the effect Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment as head coach might have on the Bundesliga champions.
bundesliga.com: Lars Ricken, how important is the 2016 Supercup?
Lars Ricken: We'll see how important it is in the line-ups the teams put out. Both Bayern and us take the Supercup very seriously. Over the past few years the Bundesliga champions haven't usually won it, so maybe that gives us a slight advantage. Obviously we're expecting a very tense game. Furthermore, Mario Götze will be playing for us as a former Bayern player, and vice versa with Mats Hummels. For that reason alone there's already plenty of spice in the match. So the teams definitely won't approach this as another warm-up game; they'll be very motivated because it's taking place just before the Bundesliga starts up again.
bundesliga.com: The stadium is sold out, so the stage is set…
Ricken: Our fans can hardly wait for it to get going again. The summer break was long enough. I’m sure they’ll generate an atmosphere worthy of the Supercup.
bundesliga.com: What are you particularly looking forward to on Sunday?
Ricken: We arguably have the most exciting squad in the Bundesliga this season. We have lost several players, but have also made some very astute and exciting acquisitions. It’ll be interesting to see how they do on Sunday. In recent years we’ve had a very settled side that has grown together over time. Now we’re starting a new chapter with young, talented players, as well as players who have been here a long time. Mario Götze has also returned to the club. As I said, I believe our team is the most exciting [in the Bundesliga].
"Götze always shows his true qualities in big games."
bundesliga.com: The previous two winners of the Supercup - BVB (in 2014) and VfL Wolfsburg (in 2015) - have struggled to meet expectations in the league during the following campaign. Is that a bad omen for the winners?
Ricken: (Laughs) Fans of statistics are welcome to interpret them how they like! Otherwise you should just ignore them.
bundesliga.com: Dortmund duo Mario Götze and Sebastian Rode are up against their former club on Sunday, as is Bayern’s Mats Hummels. How quickly will these players settle in at their new clubs?
Ricken: Sebastian Rode has been training with us for several weeks now. From what I’ve heard he’s acclimatised very well. He’s also the type of player who wins many plaudits because of his playing style. Mario shouldn’t have any problems whatsoever. There are enough former team-mates of his still at the club. He knows the surroundings and his team-mates, and everyone’s thankful to have a player as talented as Mario Götze at Borussia Dortmund. There won’t be any problems.
bundesliga.com: Do you think Andre Schürrle can rediscover his form of old?
Ricken: Yes. I have the impression that they’re both enjoying themselves. Mario will also play an important role for us in big games, which wasn’t always the case at Bayern. Last season in particular he rarely played in decisive matches. He’s shown for Dortmund and the national team in the past that the bigger the occasion, the more likely he is to show his true qualities and play to his potential. It’s nice that he’ll have another chance to do just that at Borussia Dortmund.
"Carlo Ancelotti brings something new to the table at Bayern."
bundesliga.com: While this is the beginning of a new era at Dortmund, there’s also a new man in charge at FC Bayern, who haven’t been as active in the transfer market this summer. How excited are you to see how Carlo Ancelotti can maintain his players' hunger for silverware?
Ricken: Bayern will continue to crave further titles, as they have shown in previous years. Even after they won the treble they were as hungry as ever for further silverware. Even though sporting director Matthias Sammer has left the club, Bayern will always be programmed to achieve success. Every player will be eager to prove themselves under their new coach. Carlo Ancelotti brings something new to the table at Bayern, but what Pep Guardiola built at the club during his three-year tenure will remain intact. I expect Bayern to have another successful season.
bundesliga.com: What are your memories of playing in the Supercup? How has the competition changed over the years?
Ricken: During my playing career it wasn’t really that important. I won the Supercup as a player, but I can’t remember how often (editor’s note: he won it twice, in 1995 and 1996). These days it’s very different, as you can tell from the build-up alone. Sometimes we used to play our reserve side. The Supercup’s reputation has sky-rocketed since then, though.
bundesliga.com: What’s your prediction for Sunday?
Ricken: We’ll win 1-0.
Lars Ricken was talking to Tobias Gonscherowski
Watch: Check out the highlights of the teams' last Supercup meeting in 2014: