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13.08.2007 18:50

Van Bommel: “It will be strange to play Barça”

Gustau Galvache / Jordi Clos

The Dutch midfielder is about to face his former club for the first time since leaving the Camp Nou to join Bayern Munich at the start of the 2006/07 season.

One of the main attractions of the Bayern Munich v FC Barcelona game on Wednesday will be Mark Van Bommel. Speaking to www. fcbarcelona. cat, he told us what he feels about taking on his former colleagues. Van Bommel was part of the Champions League and Liga winning side a couple of seasons ago, and has fond memories of the Camp Nou.

Wednesday will be the first time you have played your former club. How do you think you will feel on the pitch?

"It will be weird to play Barça because it is just a year since I left. I have been following the team since then, I have watched all the games I can and am still in contact with some of the players and coaching staff".

Is the game a test for both sides?

Toni-und-Klose-schiessen-Bayern-an-die-Spitze_45d68f1cee.jpg"Yes. It will be hard for us because we started the league on Saturday and we have another game next week. It will be a good test to keep us in shape. But I doubt we will stick to the same eleven for the whole ninety minutes".

Is it odd to play a friendly when the league has already started?

"Yes, but it’s normal enough because lots of leagues haven’t started yet and are still getting ready. Anyway, it will be an important game because it is Mehmet Scholl’s last one". 

How will the friendly be approached in Germany?

"Barça are famous, everybody knows they’re one of the biggest teams in the world and that they signed some good players this summer. They’re talking a lot about the game, people want to see Bayern, who have also bought lots of new players, in action against a big club".

What do you think of the new players in both teams?

"We have sighed eight players. All of them are top quality and fit into the team well, that’s important. Barça have signed Henry, Touré, Abidal and Milito, all very good players that will help the side to win titles".

Are Bayern looking to win the lot?

"We are in the League, Cup and the UEFA Cup. We’ve got a good squad and if the team develops well, we have a chance of winning two or three titles".

Do you think Barça can win the Champions League and Spanish League again?

"They are capable of it, but last season they were after seven titles and ended up with just two. I think they were unlucky. Against Liverpool, for example. We were lucky ourselves the year before with the disallowed Shevchenko goal in the semi finals. But everybody knows Barça can win everything, but even a great team needs its luck".

Where do you think it went wrong for Barça and Bayern last season?

"It’s hard for me to say what went wrong with Barça. Bayern dropped a lot of points against sides that were low down in the table. Towards the end of the season, we dropped twenty points, and that’s far too many".

What differences have you noted between the two clubs?

"Barça is more cultural because of what it represents to Catalonia. Bayern are a club people hate in Germany because they have won so many things and teams want to beat us. In the Spanish League it’s more evenly divided because there are FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. The Bayern and Barça fans are very similar, but Barça has more members. They are two very big clubs that have a lot in common".

Are the styles the same in both leagues?

"Any team in Spain plays good football, we learnt that the other day in a friendly with Mallorca. German clubs are less skilful but work hard and are very tough to break down".

What memories do you have of Barcelona?

"It was all wonderful. The stadium, the grandeur of the club, my family loved the city. I have very fond memories of the year I spent there, especially the titles I won".

Van Bommel: “It will be strange to play Barça”
Great start in the Bundesliga

Is there a lot of excitement in Munich after the first league win?

"There are high expectations because we have spent a lot of money on several players. We played very well against Hansa Rostock, we won 3-0 and are top of the table. Everybody is wondering who will be able to beat this ‘Super Bayern’. There’s a lot of pressure". 

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