Bayern can win Champions League: Matthaeus
Munich legend Matthaeus confident Ancelotti can deliver Champions League glory
At an upscale restaurant in Dusseldorf earlier this month, Bayern Munich and Germany legend Lothar Matthaeus was in fine form. In a meet-and-greet session with the media, which included TNP's football writer Gary Lim, the 55-year-old spoke about the one topic that evokes his passion the most - Bayern Munich, a club he spent 12 years playing for.
1 You spent four years in Serie A when it was at its peak, playing for Inter Milan. Having crossed swords with former AC Milan star Carlo Ancelotti so many times before in the Milan Derby, how do you think he will fare in his role as Bayern coach?
MATTHAEUS: Ancelotti was the leader of the AC Milan team.
He played in the same position as Guardiola, a No. 6.
He's a strong player, whereas Guardiola is more technical. I have played against both.
When Inter play AC Milan, it's always a high-level game.
Ancelotti was a powerful player, he packed a very good shot, he wasn't fast, but he was very smart.
We are seeing the same qualities in him as a coach.
He has a good mentality and his mentality is the right one for Bayern.
He talks to players, hugs them and likes to help them.
He is always looking for communication with the team.
Guardiola is a bit different.
He did a great job, of course, but I hope Ancelotti will make Bayern a little better than Guardiola did.
2 Do you think Ancelotti can lead Bayern to the Champions League title - something which Guardiola failed to do?
Bayern Munich are like a big family.
The fans are very sensible. They love being in contact with the coach, and they like to see a family atmosphere.
Guardiola was a strong character. He changed what he wanted to. But he didn't connect with the fans.
The fans liked Guardiola, but they didn't love him, not like Ottmar Hitzfeld or Jupp Heynckes (former Bayern coaches). Those coaches were with the fans. They were together.
Ancelotti is similar to Heynckes, who is a little older but the style is the same. Ancelotti can get this love from the fans too, because he is someone who likes to communicate.
He is straight with the players, he talks and explains to them. In today's context, this is very important.
The best example was Mario Goetze when he was at Bayern. He was never happy at Bayern. He's young and a great talent, but he needed a little bit of love and lots of hugs.
3 Was this lack of connection with the fans and the players why Guardiola couldn't win the Champions League?
No, because the players are the ones who play on the field. But connecting with the fans can make a small difference, maybe to the results of what Ancelotti can achieve and what Guardiola achieved.
"Bayern were missing one player in their jigsaw and that was Hummels."- Matthaeus on Mats Hummel (above)
4 With the new signings Bayern made, how would you rate their chances this season?
Renato Sanches is an excellent transfer. When you consider how much Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba, 35 million euros ($53.4m) is small money. He's just turned 19, but he is good value. I like his body language.
He surprised people at Euro 2016. He went into the Portugal team and played like an experienced player, with speed, confidence and passion.
Mats Hummels is also a great signing. They have Jerome Boateng, but Holger Badstuber and Javi Martinez were getting injured too often.
Bayern were missing one player in their jigsaw and that was Hummels. He and Boateng are what I think form the best central defence in the world.
Philipp Lahm and David Alaba as the fullbacks, Arturo Vidal protecting the defence and Manuel Neuer behind them, who can win against this team? Who can score against them?
With Hummels and Sanches, Bayern can be No. 1 in Europe.
In attack, they also have Arjen Robben, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Mueller, Douglas Costa, Kingsley Coman and Thiago Alcantara. All of them are players of the highest level.
And when you look at their ages, Bayern's future looks bright.
5 You will be in Singapore in November for the Masters Football Asia, playing for the Germany legends against the England legends. Are you looking forward to it?
It will be nice. We played against one another in many games years before. We still see one another in big games or tournaments. We wrote history for football and we always have a lot of respect for one another when we meet.
"He’s just turned 19, but he is good value."- Matthaeus on Renato Sanches (above) PHOTOS: COURTESY OF GERMAN BUNDESLIGA, AFP, REUTERS
- Lothar Matthaeus was speaking at a German Bundesliga event ahead of the German Super Cup between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Muinich at the Signal Iduna Park on Aug 14.
- Nationality: German
- Age: 55
- Playing positions: Midfielder, sweeper
- Club career: 1979-2000
- Clubs played for: Borussia Moenchengladbach, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, MetroStars
- Club honours won (player): 7 Bundesliga titles, 3 German Cups, 1 Serie A title, 1 Uefa Cup, 1 MLS Eastern Division Champion
- International career: 1980-2000
- International caps: 150
- International honours: 1980 European Championship, 1990 World Cup
- Individual honours: 1990 Ballon d'Or, 1991 Fifa World Player of the Year
- Coaching career: 2001-2011
- Teams managed: Rapid Vienna, Partizan Belgrade, Hungary, Atletico Paranaense, Red Bull Salzburg, Maccabi Netanya, Bulgaria