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.||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."
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