Interview of the Week: Mario Gomez

Spiegel Online journalists Tim Röhn and Rafael Buschmann met up with Mario Gomez during FC Bayern Munich’s training camp in Doha and talked about the striker’s future at Bayern, Bayern’s style, Arjen Robben and a whole lot more.

You can find the entire interview in its original form (in German) here. Below is our translation of the interview. Enjoy.

Spiegel Online: Herr Gomez, your and the FC Bayern’s machinery run perfectly from a sporting perspective at the moment, and the only person who is discussed incisively is Arjen Robben. What do you think about this matter?

Mario Gomez: The thing that annoyed me the most, was that he was discussed while he couldn’t do anything about it, while he was injured. If you are injured, you don’t feel great to begin with. If questions are being asked all the time in addition to that, despite the fact that you are one of the best players in the world, it simply isn’t fair. It is nice that he is fit again, and that he can show his critics what he is capable of in the Rückrunde.

Spiegel Online: Robben is supposedly an individualist, who is isolated from the team. Is that true?

Mario Gomez: He scored a spectacular goal against Schalke in the DFB pokal and he was hailed for it. If he wouldn’t be selfish from time to time, he wouldn’t score goals like that one. That is part of his class. If you are always beaten up every time you try to dribble you shouldn’t try to find your teammate, but you should reward yourself from time to time. And the biggest reward for an attacking player is a goal.

Spiegel Online: Have his teammates talked to him about that?

Mario Gomez: No. We knew that these discussions were silly. The situation occurred not because he had screwed up a couple of times, but because he wasn’t there. That is not fair – especially in his case, considering how well he has done in the last couple of years. We all knew that he is an important player, who should come back as soon as possible.

Spiegel Online: So, you are hoping that he extends his contract?

Mario Gomez: Of course. But that isn’t up to me. He enjoys himself in Munich, very much like myself. We have to wait and see how the club will act and react. Then we’ll see what happens.

Spiegel Online: When are you extending your contract, which runs until 2013?

Mario Gomez: You simply can’t make a decision like that over night in these matters. At the moment I’d say: ”Wow, I’m playing for a killer club, and in a killer team, and I’m not considering leaving that behind.” But, there is more to consider: What is the club planning? What is the team going to look like?

Spiegel Online: But, talks should start soon…

Mario Gomez: Well, I’m relaxed about that. It’ll happen in the next few months.

Spiegel Online: Compared to previous years, what has changed at Bayern Munich?

Mario Gomez: I believe that the feeling, that we are a strong team that could achieve something in Europe as well, has grown stronger. You can feel that. There is something charismatic about this club, that affects every club and every player, in Germany and abroad alike. You can feel it when you are going onto the pitch in an away match. Your opponent respects you. It’s an honour to play for Bayern Munich, for every German player.

Spiegel Online: How would you describe the philosophy of Bayern Munich?

Mario Gomez: During the van Gaal days we were focussing on keeping the ball. Now, maybe due to the fact that Heynckes himself was a striker, we do put a lot of emphasis on a quick transition after winning the ball. We’ve become more unpredictable, and in addition to that we also defend better.

Spiegel Online: You are unquestionably the number one striker at Bayern, but you still haven’t managed to make that spot your own in the national team. Why not?

Mario Gomez: This isn’t a problem for me anymore, I don’t feel burdened by it. In a top team the competition for a spot in the starting line up is immense. I won’t start to demand anything, it is my job to put myself on offer, and the rest is up to the coach. And, if it wasn’t enough, but I gave it my best shot, then it is what it is, and I’ll be able to live with that.

Spiegel Online: From where do you derive this easy-going attitude?

Mario Gomez: I’ve come to understand that I don’t have to be a regular in the national team to convince some critics or to represent the ”Mario Gomez brand”, but because it is an honor and it is fun. Every time I’m playing for the team it feels like a dream has come true. Miro (Miroslav Klose) is giving it his all, just like me – who the coach picks in the end time will tell. I haven’t picked a time for when I want become the number one striker of the national team. But, I’m convinced that I’m going to score many important goals for Germany in the future.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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