Why did you give up you career in the national team?
You can play football at top level only for a limited period of time. Playing for many years for both the national team and the club at top level is a great experience, but also it’s an exhausting job. I myself wanted to decide about the end of my career. I didn’t want to stop because my form isn’t at its highest, since this is when others would decide about the end of my career. Apart from that, life is determined by the calendar of games. My decision was also based on the need to spend more time with the family. I had 10 great years in the national team, that’s why, long before the World Cup, I decided it would be a good time to make such a decision – with the World Champion title or without. It definitely was the best end for my career I could dream of.
What has been the most important moment in your career, and which has been the worst one?
There have been many moments that are imprinted in my memory, both the good ones and the worse ones. During the World Cup in Rio I reached the skies – it definitely was the most beautiful moment in my career. Winning Champions League in 2013 with my team was also a very special and extraordinary moment. On the other hand – losing against Chelsea in the final of Champions League in Munich was a bitter experience.
What do you think of Borussia Dortmund? Do you respect the team even though they are your biggest competitor?
I respect each Bundesliga team and match because I know how much they have invested to play at this level. Sometimes also good luck and contacts play an important part, but only good players can achieve the proper level. Borussia Dortmund is one of the top teams in Germany and they compete for the title of champion with four or five other teams. This year the victory belongs to FC Bayern for the third time in a row, and for 25th time ever, and I think that thanks to impressive victories we have confirmed our position as the record-holders in the championship.
If Bayern wasn’t so important to you and if you received an offer from all significant clubs – whose offer would you choose?
It’s not my style to answer questions what if… I’m from Munich, I have been playing for FC Bayern since I was eleven, soon I’ll have been playing for them for 20 years. I identify with the team, colleagues, the philosophy, values and the team motto „Mia san mia” (We are who we are). I won’t find such a package in any other club in the world.
What was the first football team you played for?
Before I moved to FC Bayern at the age of 11, I played for FT Gern since I was five. It’s a team of the Munich district where I grew up. My mum is still their honorary chairperson. My dad, uncle and grandfather also played there.
How does it feel to win the World Cup?
I was asked this question so often that it’s difficult to describe in words even after a year. The moment of the final whistle when we knew that we were the world champions was just incredible. A dream came true. Many of us had tears in their eyes, hugging the guardians; we all celebrated this common extraordinary success. It was an unbelievable experience.
What was the mood in the changing room after the World Cup final in 2014?
Incredible! Playing in the World Cup, the qualifications, the group stage, require a lot of concentration, discipline and focus on the trainings. When you are on top after all that, all the stress vents off. Apart from the mood obviously.
Will you stay in football after your career? For example as a manager?
Certainly! Football is my passion, that’s why I think that after playing in the team I will still be active in FC Bayern. What exactly I will do and the function I will serve is a question that will be answered in the next three years.
Do you remember your first game in the national team?
I do. The fist game in the national team was special. It was on 18 February 2004. It was a match against Croatia.
The coach was Rudi Völler. I played as the left defender in the starting eleven. I’m very grateful to him for the trust and for the chance I got. I played a decent match and we won 2:1.
What has been the best match in your career?
Evaluating myself is always a difficult task. Mostly because somebody might not always like some of the matches – due to the result or the performance. However, I think that my best match was in a disastrous for us Champions League final against Chelsea.
What have been the best moments in your life?
I have been lucky enough to have many great moments. When it comes to football it must have been my debut in Bayern and the national team, winning the first title and obviously, winning the World Cup and our triple victory. Privately, wedding with Claudia and the birth of our son – the two amazing moments in my life.
Who will win in the second round of EURO qualification match between Poland and Germany and why will it be Poland? J
I’ll try to buy my way out of this question, even if I’m not a part of the German national team. Obviously, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for our boys, even sitting on a sofa or having a barbecue. We’ll see how well the team will play together. For all teams the result in the short national games is always decisive.
Who is the best player in your position?
I’d rather not answer this question.
How do you spend your typical day? Do you come across reporter all the time or maybe you are able to cross the street in peace and quiet?
During the season, my lifestyle is determined by trainings and match schedules. On daily basis, when I travel or when I’m at home I’m not mobbed by reporters. In Munich or in Tegernsee life is calm, I can walk with my wife and son.
Obviously, I am often recognized and when somebody asks politely for an autograph or a picture, it’s ok, no problem. Unless it happens in awkward moments, e.g. when we’re eating.
Do you think that Robert Lewandowski is a word-class footballer and will contribute to other victories?
Robert is a world-class forward and he has all it takes for this position. Above all, his achievements in the last season in the final
stage have been brilliant. He is currently an important component of the team. What will happen in the new season – I’m not able to predict, but I bet that if his condition is as good as now, he will continue scoring goals.