Coach Nerlinger’ s interview from

With Bayern in a commanding position at the halfway point in the season, Christian Nerlinger was understandably upbeat and satisfied when he appeared on Sport1 TV on Sunday lunchtime. The FCB director of sport covered a number of topics, including questions about Toni Kroos, Arjen Robben and the club’s transfer reviews Nerlinger’s most important statements.
Christian Nerlinger on…

…Bayern’s performance in the first half of the season: “At this stage last year, we were 14 points behind in the league, so we’re all extremely pleased about a three-point lead now. We’ve done the job we had to do, not only in the Bundesliga, but also in a really tough Champions League group. Provided we now get past Bochum on Tuesday, we can head off for Christmas in a very serene and satisfied mood.”

…the club’s main title rivals: “We said it before the season, we’ve said it during the season, and we’re saying it now at the halfway mark: Borussia Dortmund are definitely our main rivals for the title, even if they’re refusing to acknowledge it themselves.”

…the progress made by Toni Kroos: “Toni is an exceptional player with exceptional technical skill. Under Jupp Heynckes, he’s now taken the right steps in terms of mentality, commitment and work-rate. He’s on course to becoming a vital player for Bayern and also for Germany. He’s come on fantastically, and he’s far from complete yet, so I’m really delighted we’ve signed him up at Bayern for the long term.”

…the absence of Bastian Schweinsteiger with injury: “Bastian is very important as the man who dictates the pace and the play, although I think it’s too simple to link the defeats against Dortmund and Mainz with his absence. I am 100 percent convinced that a team like Bayern Munich must be able to cope with this kind of absence.”

…Franck Ribéry’s sending-off against Köln: “I don’t want to make excuses for him, but I won’t make a mountain out of a molehill either. Naturally, what he did wasn’t smart. Even if emotions are running high, you have to control yourself. But that’s football. The players are under extreme pressure, and things like this happen. I think the referee’s decision to administer a second yellow card was correct. We’re now without Franck in the important opening match of the second half of the season against Gladbach, and it means we’ll be a lot weaker. But we have to live with it – and we can live with it.”

…Arjen Robben, whose contract expires in 2013: “Overall, we have a very well-balanced team, and Arjen Robben is an important component of that. He’s totally integrated. We’ve not forgotten what he’s already done for Bayern, and we know what he can still do for us. We respect and value him enormously. Bayern is well known for a desire to keep the best players for the long term, and that applies to Arjen. He’ll play a major role for Bayern Munich beyond next summer, and hopefully not just for one year, but for the long term. We know he feels very settled in Munich both professionally and privately, and we’re entirely satisfied with him. So there’s no reason we wouldn’t agree an extension.”

…media speculation about Gladbach’s Marco Reus: “Marco Reus is fundamentally a very interesting player with lots of quality, but there’s been no decision yet. We’ve just had an excellent meeting involving the president, the board, the coach and me, where we discussed our mid-season activities in a very productive atmosphere. We said this: we’ll go into the second half of the season with the current squad, because we have total faith in this squad. We’ll discuss what might happen next summer at a later date. Fundamentally, we want to bring the best players to Munich. And if Bayern Munich wants to sign a player, we have sufficient powers of persuasion and resources to ensure we bring him to Munich.”

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