Exclusive | Dietmar Hamann discusses Borussia Dortmund’s troublesome start to the season & what Bayern Munich need to do to catch Bayer Leverkusen

In an exclusive interview with Get German Football News, courtesy of King Casino Bonus, former Bayern Munich, Liverpool, and Germany international Dietmar Hamann spoke about Borussia Dortmund’s poor start to the season as well as what Bayern Munich need to do if they are to win their twelfth straight Bundesliga title.

You had previously mentioned Bayer Leverkusen’s infamous final day defeat to SpVgg Unterhaching, but one match that will also go down in history is Borussia Dortmund’s final day draw against Mainz. Do you think that Dortmund have underperformed this season? There has been a lot of pressure on Edin Terzić; do you think it is warranted?

“Yeah, I think people expected more. I always knew it was going to be tough psychologically after the final game against Mainz, when everyone expected them to win the league and they didn’t. So to come back four weeks later and start training, it is very hard to tell the players something they want to hear. They had the season of their lives by making up ten points on Bayern Munich, and it was still not enough to win the league, so psychologically, it was always going to be tough. I think also up until the Bayern Munich game, they won their games and were within touching distance, but a 4-0 loss at home was when everything fell apart, which you could tell by their two performances against Stuttgart in the league and in the cup. They lost games and are struggling to finish in the top four now. Did I expect more? Yeah, probably, but at the same time, they are only one point worse off now than this time last season. We must not forget that they won their Champions League group, which was probably the hardest group. They are in the Champions League last 16 now, so give him the time to turn things around. He has new assistance in Sven Bender and Nuri Şahin, so hopefully they can turn things around.”

Do you think Dortmund should now focus on the Champions League, or should they ensure that they can get back into the top four in the Bundesliga?

“You can never put all your eggs in the Champions League basket. I know they have a good draw in PSV, which gives them a good chance of making the last eight, but if they make it to the quarterfinals, then they are probably the biggest outsider in the competition. I cannot see them winning the Champions League; they have to try and get into the top four. I think the Champions League is a bonus, and it is not an easy thing; the players want to play in the Champions League rather than the league, and trying to keep their focus in both competitions will be the challenge from now until the end of the season.”

As for Bayern, they have not had it all their own way over the last two seasons. What have you made of Tuchel’s tenure at Bayern thus far?

“Well, it did not start too well, as they got knocked out of the cup by Freiburg and then out of the Champions League by Manchester City, and they won the league by default. This season, they have started really well. In the Champions League, they have had some bad performances, both games against Copenhagen and Galatasaray, and they were pretty fortunate to win some of those games. But other than that and the defeat, from a results point of view, they have been doing well. They have been playing better football; in the last two or three games, Manchester United away, they had a very dominant performance. A struggling side, but still, you have to dominate them, and then they had one or two games in the league where they played well and dominated games. The curve of the performances has been upward in the last few weeks of the season. They have to keep that going, as earlier in the season they had no control over some games and were fortunate to win. I think they need to do better in the second half of the season if they want to play a good role in the Champions League and knock Bayer Leverkusen off top spot.”

There has been a lot of talk about Bayern’s summer transfer window. Obviously, they got Harry Kane, but there has been a lot of talk about Thomas Tuchel wanting another midfielder, and ideally a number six. Do you think this is something they will address in January, or will they look to tighten other areas where they are struggling with injuries?

“Well, I think Matthijs de Ligt is injured again. So they should bring in at least two new players, whether this is João Palhinha from Fulham, as there has been quite a bit of interest. I still think they need a player that can probably play right-back and at centre-back, as (Noussair) Mazraoui is out on international duty, even though he is injured, and a holding midfielder. So, I expect them to bring in at least one or two players in during January, and what they do not do now, they can do in the summer. But what they definitely need is a player who can play right-back and centre-back.”

Do you have any predictions for how the season will finish, or is there anything you would personally like to see?

“Well, not for me personally. I am not biassed; for me, the best team should win, and usually after 34 games, the team that is at the top is the best team. I think it would be good for the league to see a different winner after eleven straight titles for Bayern. The kids in secondary school have never seen another team win the Bundesliga, and that would be good for the league. There is a chance that happens this season, but if Bayern come out on top again or they take it to the final day, then you have to congratulate them. But as I said, it would be good for the league to have another winner at some stage, and the chance has not looked better than this season.”

Finally, do you think that the title race will go down to the final day?

“There is every chance. I do not think Leverkusen will run away with the title, but if Bayern pick up, then they could. But this Leverkusen side is so settled that I cannot see them falling away. Do not forget RB Leipzig as well, even if they are far away, as they still have to play Leverkusen at home and they have to go to Bayern, which is hard, but they have won there recently. There is an outside chance for Leipzig, so do not rule them out, as I like them as well.”

GGFN | Will Shopland

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