Felix Magath will es diese Saison wissen: Endlich will er die Meisterschale nach Gelsenkirchen holen. Kate Giles von CNN International hat Felix Magath interviewt und Ihn fragen zu Bayern München, zur Champions League, Raul und der Bundesliga gestellt.
Das Interview ist leider nur auf Englisch erhältlich. Allerdings ist es auch mal interessant zu sehen, was Felix Magath der ausländischen Presse zu berichten hat.
Kate Giles: The new season about to begin. You managed to finish in second place last season… where will you finish this season?
Felix Magath: It’s hard to say – this season we’ve changed some things, we’ve sold some players, and bought in some important new players – so the squad is different. We made it 2nd place, the squad worked and battled really hard – but they didn’t actually play that well.. and that’s something we want to work on. We want to play better football. So for the new season, we’ll be using a new formation, with new players… so it’s difficult to say whether we’ll be able to contend for the title, and fight for a champions league spot again this year – like we’d like to.
Kate Giles: Do you feel like people expect too much of you? After what you managed with Wolfsburg it seems like everyone expects you to magic up a title win.
Felix Magath: Schalke hasn’t won the title for over 50 years – so a title is what they’re looking for in any case. So the expectations aren’t really the problem. The problem was the financial situation of the club, which was really bad. We couldn’t invest in the team. Something had to change – and that always needs time. I don’t know how long that change is going to need. That’s why I’ve signed this long term contract. But of course we want to get right up to the top as soon as possible – and fulfil the fans‘ dreams.
Kate Giles: If money’s tight or not, you still managed to convince Raul to come to Schalke. And I think for many people – from Madrid to Gelsenkirchen was quite a surprising change. How did you manage to convince him?
Felix Magath: I think Raul took a decision that he wanted to leave Real Madrid – which was pretty unimaginable – but that he wanted to carry on playing Champions League football. And we had the luck that we had brought in Christoph Metzelder – one of his teammates from Madrid – who initiated the contact with him – and I’m sure that will have been a factor in his decision. The other thing is – He has a team here that is developing… and as an experienced player he can definitely help a young team and I’m sure that that attracted him to the club – and now we have to all work hard to see that both he – and the club – have a successful season.
Kate Giles: Is Raul just the beginning for Schalke? Should we be expecting other big name players to arrive here swell?
Felix Magath: Raul is a great player – but he cant win games alone. He needs the right support. So i think it would make a lot of sense for us if we brought in another very good player in who would support him in the attack. So we are still active in the transfer market and we are looking to sign up another attacking player.
Kate Giles: Do you have your eye on anyone in particular?
Felix Magath: Our eyes are everywhere! But there’s nothing concrete just yet.
Kate Giles: Looking ahead – who do you think are your biggest rivals? Apart from Bayern Munich!
Felix Magath: Munich of course – they’re always the top favourites because they have the necessary funs and so they also have the best squad. But I also think apart from Bayern, Leverkusen, Hamburg, Stuttgart – who had a successful second half of the season… and Wolfsburg who’ll have money at their disposal too… Those are all teams I think could contend for the title as well.
Kate Giles: Is the desire to get one over on Bayern Munich always part of your motivation?
Felix Magath: No! In Germany Bayern Munich is simply on a different level to the rest of the clubs… and you have to be realistic. We are not going to be able to compete with bayern Munich. We might be able to compete with them on the field for a period of time – like last season – but in the end, the financial power and the quality of the players at bayern Munich is much higher than ours. The difference between Bayern and Munich can be cut down – but we’re not going to overtake Bayern in the next few years.
Kate Giles: At both Schalke and Wolfsburg you have managed to take teams that very often finished middle of the table – if not lower – to the top of the table. How have you managed that? Is it about money, the players, motivation?
Felix Magath: Luck! Just luck! Players always want to be successful. Success is my number one priority. I look for players that want to have success too – and that will put everything else second to that as well. I think with that attitude – and withso much desire – you can achieve a lot. But to get right to the top – you need to have a bit of luck – like with Wolfsburg. You cant get there by hard work alone. You can work on the basis for that. But you need a bit more than that to end up right at the top.
Kate Giles: In your first season here – you did manage to get them to second place. Did you actually believe when you came to the club that that would be possible?
Felix Magath: No! Absolutely not! Even when the second half of the season kicked in – I didn’t think we could reach the Champions League. I would have been happy if I could have been sure that we’d get to the Europa League. But the ways things developed and when we were right at the top at the end of the season – it was surprising for me. Because it was surprising and because I didn’t believe that team could repeat that success, I decided to make some changes, to build things up from scratch – bring in a new style of play here again – and to give the fans a better standard of football than we did last season.
Kate Giles: This season you’ll also be playing in the Champions league. Do you think that will make the campaign in the Bundesliga that much harder for the team?
Felix Magath: Definitely. We have a young team. We don’t have many players like Raul who have played Champions League for years – we have a lot of players who are going to be playing in it for the first time. So for those players it’s the highlight of the season… and we need to make sure we’re prepared that when we’re in that phase, when we’re playing in the champions league and in the league – we are going to lose a point here or there.
Kate Giles: At both Schalke and Wolfsburg you insisted on being both the manager and the coach – which in German football is unusual. Why is that so important for you?
Felix Magath: At both clubs I thought it was particularly important – because the team didn’t just need coaching. In the first place, it needed to be built. In Wolfsburg we only had 12 players – so I had to buy at least another 10 or 12 players. And it was the same here. The club had finished in 9th in the table. They’d had big financial problems. So you had to be working off the basis that we needed to ring in some changes that were going to take some time. When you’re planning your squad – and you have to make compromises with a manager – that makes it really hard for the club to be successful. So i think it’s best for the club when one man makes the sporting decisions.
Kate Giles: It does mean that if things go wrong at Schalke – the responsibility is your’s alone. Is that not an awful lot of pressure?
Felix Magath: You cant have it all. In life you have to choose one thing or another — and I am happy to carry the responsibility and the risks — as long as I can make all the decisions alone. Then I don’t have a problem with it. I“ve been in this business for years, I have lots of experience in this business — and I trust myself to make the right decisions for the club… so I don’t put that pressure on myself, thinking i could fail. I approach it positively… and I do the best I can.
Kate Giles: Its just over a year since you signed for Schalke and i think at the time it was quite a surprising move for a lot of people – what drew you to the club?
Felix Magath: Schalke is one of the biggest clubs in germany and – after bayern munich – it has the best infrastructure. We have a great stadium, after Munich we have the second most members, we have the most fans, perhaps also the best, the most emotional fans… so we definitely have the opportunity to achieve something here… and Schalke also has all the prerequisites to be a top club internationally. My aim is to win the Champions league with a team one day. And I think the chances of that here at Schalke are better than at other German clubs.
Kate Giles: Earlier in your career you were often the man people took on when they wanted to avoid relegation… whereas now you’re the man that they look to hire when you want to win the title… Which of the two jobs is harder? And which do you prefer?
Felix Magath: In the past i’ve been able to pull sides up from the bottom of the table.. and take them to promotion or even the UEFA Cup. I do feel more comfortable higher in the table. I find the pressure much greater when I’m playing to avoid relegation. I am more afraid of failing when I know a club will have to live with sporting and financial consequences – than I am afraid of not winning a title.
Kate Giles: Your success in the Bundesliga is very well known. have you ever thought about testing your talents further afield – abroad maybe?
Felix Magath: Yes! I’ve always wanted to go abroad and to work in another big league – but you know how it is. One thing is what you want to do – another is making it happen. And that’s proved more difficult. There’s never been the right offer at the right time so, so far, I’ve spent my career managing in the Bundesliga – but I would definitely be interested in managing abroad some day.
Kate Giles: Is there a particular league that would interest you more – the premier league, the serie a, la liga?
Felix Magath: language is always a limiting factor. English is the only foreign language I’ve learned so I think clubs in Italy or Spain might think twice before think a manager like me. So I think right now – the English league would be the option for me.
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