The 2010 World Cup winner discussed his team’s upcoming game against RB Leipzig and Randal Kolo Muani’s rise.

What do you think of the exciting fight at the top?

“I think it is always exciting if it’s a close fight, whether it be at the top or even at the bottom. It is exciting for the teams, players and especially the spectators. We know how quickly things can change – you lose two or three games in a row, and it suddenly looks completely different. I think it’s exciting at the moment and we are all happy about that. We are only halfway through, but I think it will remain interesting for the season ahead.”

Who do you think is the favourite for the title this year?

“I see Bayern as the favourites due to their history. I am not saying they will win every season but the quality they have, and the way they are set up, makes them favourites. They have had some tough patches in the last ten months, but they still scored the most goals and are a close second for goals conceded, behind Union. They are a very dominant side, so it will be difficult to stop them.”

Soon you will play against Leipzig. What makes them stand out?

“It won’t be easy, especially as the away team. It’s a big challenge and we always like to compete with the teams at the top of the table. It won’t be easy.”

You came to Eintracht Frankfurt in the summer and got to know Kolo Muani. Did you realise quickly how good he is?

“The great thing is that we also train together, we don’t only play matches – you get to know more about a player in training. You see the quality in training, but the challenge is also to bring that form to the games. As a French player, coming to Germany, that also does not make it easier for him. I think it was a perfectly normal adjustment process since he arrived. The way he has improved in such a short space of time, the importance he has
on the team and the fact that he got called up to his national side for such a big occasion, makes it quite special at such a young age – it shows his quality and personality, which I can see every day in training.”

He even played in the World Cup final. Did you think he could achieve such a high level of success right away?

“I think a lot was down to chance. A lot of factors had to fall into place for it to happen. It’s a very positive thing for him. He has to use the experience and keep working hard; keep growing. It was certainly a very positive thing.”

What is it like to play for Eintracht Frankfurt?

“For me personally, it has been a very easy transition. The environment and structure of the team, along with the infrastructure and positive energy, makes it easier for players to adapt. Everything kind of falls into place nicely here, with the connection to the city and the experiences you live. The sporting success is also a big factor – we are playing in the Champions league. All these factors and of course, the team as well – it is extremely
important for a player that he gets along with all his colleagues. The different cultures, languages and personalities around the place is very nice.”

The fan culture is also special, isn’t it?

“Absolutely, along with the sporting success that comes with it – the emotions of playing our first ever Champions’ league group phase. The chance to go even further than the group phase, is a massive achievement.”

How did you perceive Eintracht Frankfurt from the outside?

“It’s my 13th season in the Bundesliga. I think at the start, I didn’t quite realise the stature of the club. In the last five years, where they have played internationally and won trophies, they have become more recognisable. There have always been interesting games here; the stadium was always impressive. All this, coupled with their success and development in recent years, have made people take notice and feel the growth.”

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