Landon Donovan has arrived at the Säbener Strasse on loan from LA Galaxy, "and we're expecting great things of him,“ Jürgen Klinsmann told fcbayern.de. The 26-year-old USA star took up his new job in Munich on Friday, and is set to stay until 15 March before a decision on whether the deal may be extended for a longer period.
The attacker, who will wear the squad number 13 in Munich, tested the Bavarian waters in a ten-day spell at the club last November. "He showed he has the class,“ Klinsmann stated. The FCB coach rates the goal-getter as "an additional weapon“ in Bayern's trophy quest: "He's fired up and wants to prove himself with us.“
Donovan, who spent part of his apprenticeship with Bayer Leverkusen but never broke into the senior team there, exuded confidence and desire in conversation with fcbayern.de, as the five-time US Player of the Year gave an exclusive interview shortly after his first official squad workout.
Interview: Landon Donovan
fcbayern.de: Hello Landon, welcome back to Germany. What are you hoping to achieve here at Bayern?
Donovan: "I'm pleased and very excited to be here. My goal is to become part of the team as quickly as possible. I'm confident it'll work out. It was made very easy for me here at Bayern back in November. I was welcomed with open arms.“
fcbayern.de: What impression did you gain of Bayern from your spell here last November?
Donovan: "It was all wonderful – the coaching staff, the players, the medical unit, the performance centre, the training conditions, the whole club, the city. I'm delighted to be here.“
fcbayern.de: How did your wife react when you told her you wanted to go back to Munich?
Donovan: "She was really thrilled for me. Obviously, it's sad we're apart for a little while, but she knows it's a fantastic opportunity for me to play for a really big club.“
fcbayern.de: You were previously with Leverkusen and spent the ten days with Bayern. What are the differences between Germany and Major League Soccer (MLS)?
Donovan: "The people in Germany have much greater passion for football. Football's in their blood, as football has such a long history in Germany, but we've only had the MLS for 13 years. Bundesliga matches are obviously very high quality, every player at a club like Bayern has class, which is different to America. The playing styles are different too. You get more one-on-one situations in the Bundesliga, the players are technically strong and good on the ball - the MLS is faster and more physical.“
fcbayern.de: You're competing with Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski for a place in the team. How would you rate your chances?
Donovan: "Training with them back in November was a dream come true. Training with such classy players makes you a better player yourself. I can learn lots from them. At the same time, I do believe I can bring qualities of my own to the team. I'm a different type of player compared to Luca, Miro and Lukas. I do a lot of work off the ball and at a high pace.“
fcbayern.de: You're here until 15 March for now, but the club may well want you to stay for longer. Is that a pressure situation for you?
Donovan: "Obviously there's pressure, but I like that. I'm at my best under pressure. I was being closely watched when I came here in November. If you can't cope with being watched in training, you'll never survive in a big stadium. Pressure is part of being a footballer.“
fcbayern.de: So your aim is to play for Bayern beyond 15 March?
Donovan: "Yes, I'd definitely like to stay for longer.“
fcbayern.de: What was Jürgen Klinsmann's role in your coming to Munich?
Donovan: "Jürgen has been very supportive. It was lucky for me that he spent a long time in Los Angeles and saw me play there. He knows my qualities. But I'm aware there'll be no gifts for me here at Bayern. I'll have to work hard for everything here, but that's what I'm really looking forward to.“
fcbayern.de: You started out in Leverkusen but ended up going home. How has Landon Donovan changed since then?
Donovan: "I've grown up, especially mentally. I'm more experienced and mentally stronger, and I know what to expect here. Back then in Leverkusen, I wasn't ready for Germany and the Bundesliga. I thought for many months about the decision to come back, and spoke to lots of people. I know I'm ready for it now.“