1. FC Union Berlin will welcome the German champions Bayern Munich to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei on Saturday evening. Ahead of Bayern's first competitive fixture in Köpenick, Christian Arbeit spoke with Union's assistant coach Sebastian Bönig, a former Bayern youth player who went on to play more than 120 matches for 1. FC Union Berlin. The full interview can be found on AFTV (German only).
CA: It's part of your story that we don't know so much about. Tell us a bit about the family ties and Bayern Munich.
SB: There are actually many connections. So, my two brothers and I, we all played for Bayern Munich for a very long time and enjoyed training there. My father was there for a long time, so we have a very strong tie to the club. I didn't just play football there, but I was also allowed to make photocopies and coffee, as I did an apprenticeship there as an communications office assistant, i.e. as part of my football education. I was actually perfectly prepared for my future professional career.
CA: How does it feel for you when the club comes here, not because they want to do something good for us, but because they have to?
SB: It's very special to be able to play here with the club of my heart against Bayern Munich, especially on a special anniversary. That is something really special. To play against this club in the Bundesliga and to go eye-to-eye with them is really something special and we will try to make their lives as difficult as possible.
CA: It's been a while since our last conversation. Lots has changed since then. This season has been quite demanding for you, not only as you are preparing the team to play each week, but because you are training on the Fussball-Lehrer course. How is that going?
SB: For me personally, it's a special situation. I'm allowed to complete the training course and now I'm in the upcoming week of examinations. It's of course very complex, no doubt about that. But it's foreseeable and I'll be very happy when I've done the whole thing and can concentrate fully on our guys again. I also learned a lot in Köln and I hope to be able to apply these things here in the future.
CA: Who else is on your course?
SB: Some familiar names: Tim Borowski, the current assistant at Bremen, Bochum's Heiko Butscher, Christian Eichner from Karlsruhe, Steve Cherundolo from Hannover. Many interesting people. Lots of fun and stuff I can take with me.
CA: In your role as an assistant coach, you've had the chance to work with different coaches over the years. If you now end up going on the same course as them, do you see things differently?
SB: There's always new things to learn for us and what was very interesting, for example, was the expert talks. So far, there was Ralf Rangnick, Roger Schmidt, Christoph Daum - all the different types of coaching personalities that exist in Germany. We've been able to take a lot away from that. The exchanges between colleagues are always the most interesting as lots of random things happen in lives which you can't plan for! But I think that I got a kind of "structure" from the course, which helped me a lot.