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Demichelis wins just reward

Published: Tuesday 22 November 2005, 18.00CET
When Martín Demichelis made his debut for Argentina against England last week it was reward for over two years hard work for the FC Bayern München midfielder.
by Alfredo Rodriguez & Michael Harrold

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Published: Tuesday 22 November 2005, 18.00CET

Demichelis wins just reward

When Martín Demichelis made his debut for Argentina against England last week it was reward for over two years hard work for the FC Bayern München midfielder.
When Martín Demichelis made his debut for Argentina against England last week it was reward for over two years' hard work for the FC Bayern München midfielder.

'Different mentality'
"During my first season in Germany I was still adapting," the 24-year-old told uefa.com. "I had to get used to another language, another mentality, another way of playing and a new team. I alternated between good and bad games. But I think that was understandable considering I had moved from South American to German football, which is completely different. Now I'm in my third year with Bayern and I feel completely settled in. I've learned the language, assimilated the German mentality and I feel fully integrated into German football and my new team."

Argentina role
Demichelis joined Bayern from CA River Plate in 2003 as a centre-back but has really come into his own since switching to the holding midfield role. His consistently strong performances for the German champions soon caught the eye in his homeland. "Martin has got much stronger in that department," Argentina coach José Pekerman said. "He's become a major player in Germany in that position. He has the qualities to give the team balance."

Versatile player
As long as Pekerman wants him, Demichelis is happy to play anywhere for the national team. "I'm playing in front of two centre-backs at Bayern in a defensive midfield position, but with the national team I don't have a favourite position," Demichelis said. "The most important thing is to be part of the squad. It would be a dream come true to play at the [FIFA] World Cup. I'm a versatile player and can play in different positions; central midfield and defence, as a central defender or a left or right-back."

Important goals
Demichelis has been one of Bayern's most dependable defensive players, and has contributed significantly up front as well. It was his goal that defeated Club Brugge KV 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League on 27 September and he was on the scoresheet again in the 2-1 victory against Juventus on Matchday 3.

Intense competition
Juventus hit back to take the points in Turin and the two teams go into this week's matches level at the top of Group A. With one eye on the knock-out rounds, Demichelis admits competition is intense for a place in the final at the Stade de France. "A lot of teams have their eyes on a place in the final but right now, Chelsea FC, AC Milan, FC Barcelona, Juventus, and Liverpool FC can beat anyone and are most likely to be in Paris."

Aspiration
To be sure of qualifying from Group A, though, Bayern must first win at home to FK Rapid Wien on Tuesday. "A big club always sets its sights high. Fortunately, we're doing well in all tournaments; top in our group in the UEFA Champions League with Juventus and also top of the Bundesliga. Nevertheless, we always have to face our next match as if it is our last and most important one."

'Excellent level'
Demichelis has settled well and looks set to thrill Bayern fans for a lot longer. He signed a new contract with the club through to 2010 at the beginning of November, and hopes to have plenty to celebrate in his adoptive homeland. Not only in the Bayern shirt. "There are still seven months left and [Argentina] are still preparing [for the World Cup]," Demichelis said. "We must correct mistakes and polish up our tactics to reach the right level for the final tournament in Germany." As far as Bayern fans are concerned, Demichelis cannot get much better.

Last updated: 22/11/05 15.30CET

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