Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng: ‘PSG are fragile’
Following their 3-0 loss in Paris in September, Bayern have to win by four goals at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday to pip PSG to top spot in Group B.
Bayern are certainly a more imposing proposition now than they were two months ago after Jupp Heynckes replaced Carlo Ancelotti as first-team boss, and Boateng told L’Equipe the record Bundesliga champions can inflict a first defeat of the competition on PSG.
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Question: How are Bayern going to approach the game in order to finish ahead of PSG?
Boateng: It’s not our objective to finish top of the group. It’s rather to win this last game in front of our own fans against one of the best teams in Europe.
Question: But if Bayern were able to inflict a big defeat on PSG and finish top of the group, wouldn’t it send a strong message to the rest of Europe?
Boateng: Regardless of the score, a win would already be a signal, especially as PSG have been so impressive and we still have quite a few players injured. In Paris, with the exception of Thiago Motta, no-one’s in the treatment room. It wouldn’t be a drama to finish second, especially as we’re no longer the favourites in this group. If ever we manage to do it, it would be a small miracle.
Question: What memories do you have of the game at the Parc des Princes?
Boateng: PSG were much better than us. Of course the final score was a bit harsh given the balance of play, but we made a mess of the start of the game. We struggled in challenges and the Paris goals were scored too easily.
Question: Were you impressed by PSG that evening?
Boateng: Honestly, not too much, as they settled for the minimum and were very clinical. When we upped the tempo, I felt the Paris defence was fragile.
Question: How did you react when you found out you weren’t on the teamsheet?
Boateng: I was very surprised. It was agreed I wouldn’t start because I was coming back from injury and I couldn’t start games every three days, but to be in the stands was disappointing. I didn’t understand. Other players also found themselves on the substitutes’ bench without expecting it. It was hard to take.
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Question: What do you think of PSG?
Boateng: They have a squad full of quality. They’re also a club that has become very consistent. At the Parc, I felt that it’s the whole club that is coming up with the real support of the fans and a great stadium. In terms of potential, they’re right up there at the top with Manchester City right now. But spending enormous sums of money in the transfer market doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll go all the way in the competition.
Question: All the same, do you consider Paris one of the favourites for this competition?
Boateng: With City, Real Madrid and Barcelona, they’re one of the main contenders. Today, a lot of people see a Paris-Manchester City final, but things can change in six months. Right now, with all our injured players, we’re not among the favourites, but when we have a full squad, we’ll have the potential to go all the way.
Question: Jupp Heynckes has replaced Carlo Ancelotti on the bench. What has he done to get everybody pulling in the same direction so quickly?
Boateng: Training sessions and communication are radically different. In a short space of time, Jupp has put the club back on the rails by organising things, introducing discipline and structure. The atmosphere has become warmer and is more like a family. He has done us a lot of good.
Question: When you look back, why did it not work out with Carlo Ancelotti?
Boateng: It’s difficult to say. The coach wasn’t the only one responsible, the team was too. Language was a barrier, there were communication problems. We often had differing opinions. It was complicated.