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Weigl speaks on Benfica role and potential DFB return: "I believe in myself."

By Peter Vice

Ahead of Bayern's visit to Benfica on Wednesday, former Dortmund and national team midfielder Julian Weigl sat down with German footballing magazine Kicker for an extended interview appearing in the Monday print edition. 

Julian Weigl.
Julian Weigl.Photo: Florian Goll, Qiao Foto, CC BY-SA 2.0

Bad Aibling native Julian Weigl grew up not far from the Bavarian capital of Munich. In point of fact, he even came up through the 1860 München youth ranks before catching on at Borussia Dortmund. Having now finally settled into a regular role with Portuguese club Benfica Lisbon, the 26-year-old gets set for his biggest duel with a familiar German club since moving out of Germany on a €20 million transfer in January 2020.

"We have an atmosphere that can make it uncomfortable for an opponent," Weigl told German footballing magazine Kicker when asked about the upcoming matchup, "We're not easy to figure out and can transition easily."

After the onset of the corona-pandemic put everything on hold and some early struggles under trainer Jorge Jesus, the midfielder finally found his feet at his new club. He's now settled into a regular starting role and has 52 appearances to his name with As Aguias. Unlike fellow German international Luca Waldschmidt, who spent just one year at Benfica, Weigl appears to be on the Iberian Peninsula to stay.

"Instead of leaving early, I stayed and fought my way back into the team," Weigl said of his journey over the past 18 months, "The fans certainly appreciated that."

Naturally, just like Waldschmidt, Weigl would also like to return to the German national team. After just failing to make the cut for Euro 2016 and incurring an injury that left him unavailable for the 2018 World Cup, Weigl hasn't appeared for the German Nationalmannschaft since 2017.

"The requirements to get back into the DFB team have been laid out," Weigl said of a potential call-up under new Bundestrainer Hansi Flick, "and I believe in myself."

Asked if playing in Portugal left him too far off the radar in terms of the national team's scouting arms, Weigl seemed to acknowledge that the path wouldn't be an easy one.

"We'll have to see about that," he told interviewer Matthias Dersch, "Of course I notice that the interest in me is less than it was during my Dortmund days, but I think that theres a way back into the DFB-XI here at Benfica. I have a chance to play for titles here and have opportunities that are better than at an average German Bundesliga club."

Weigl did note that he had not yet been in contact with Flick or his team. It goes without saying that they will be looking at him should he play on Wednesday.

"All I can say is that I'd very much like to return to the national team," Weigl concluded, "In order to do so, I'll showcase myself to the best of my ability."

99Odisseas Vlachodimos
4Lucas Verissimo
30Nicolás Otamendi
5Jan Vertonghen
34André Almeida (C) ↩40
20João Mário ↩81
28Julian Weigl
3Álex Grimaldo
27Rafa Silva ↩81
15Roman Yaremchuk ↩76
9Darwin Núñez ↩81
77Helton Leite
7Everton ↪76
88Goncalo Matias Ramos ↪81
91Felipe Rodrigues
97Francisco Ferreira
11Soualiho Meïté
17Diogo Gonçalves ↪40
21Pizzi ↪81
23Nemanja Radonjić
49Adel Taarabt ↪81
55Paulo Guilherme Gonçalves Bernardo
FC Bayern
1Manuel Neuer (C)
5Benjamin Pavard ↩66
4Niklas Süle
2Dayotchanculle Upamecano
21Lucas Hernández ↩86
6Joshua Kimmich
18Marcel Sabitzer ↩86
25Thomas Müller ↩77
10Leroy Sané
11Kingsley Coman ↩86
9Robert Lewandowski
36Christian Früchtl
7Serge Gnabry ↪66
13E. Choupo-Moting
3Omar Richards ↪86
20Bouna Sarr
23Tanguy Nianzou
44Josip Stanisic ↪77
22Marc Roca
24Corentin Tolisso ↪86
42Jamal Musiala ↪86

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