Anatoliy Tymoshchuk: An Interview with “The Captain”
Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, a 34 year old Ukrainian football midfielder who plays for the German Bundesliga club Bayern Munich and the captain of Ukraine’s national football team.
Tymoshchuk began his professional career at his local club Volyn Lutsk and later moved to play for Shakhtar Donetsk, where he was captain and where he won the Ukrainian Premier League, Ukrainian Cup, and Ukrainian Super Cup titles. In 2008, Tymoshchuk won the UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup as the captain of Zenit St. Petersburg. He also won a Russian Premier League and Russian Super Cup title. With Bayern, Tymoshchuk has already won the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, and the DFB-Supercup titles. He is also a UEFA Champions League Runner-up in 2010, and 2012.
Tymoshchuk is currently the captain of Ukraine’s national football team. He is also the current all-time most capped player of the team. He took part in Ukraine's first-ever FIFA World Cup in 2006 and he also won the Ukrainian Footballer of the Year on three occasions.
During the winter, camp training of the national team is quite short, how difficult is it to tune oneself for the game, for that team in just one day?
The schedule of the national team usually plans one or two friendly games. We got ourselves into that situation last year, where we had only one coaching staff and this year things have been changed and the team got a new coach and accordingly a completely new coaching staff. We have put in the effort to use camp training in Spain as well as at the friendly game with Norway to get acquainted and play following the requirements of the new coaching staff. Generally speaking, the line-up of the team and strategy of the game were not changed significantly, so we cannot say that we had to create a new line of players. Actually there is big difference between preparations for the game within a national team and for club matches as there is not enough time for players to work together on all that requires lots of attention and devotion. So we use any opportunity to do so.
National teams from Eastern Europe – Poland, Montenegro, Moldova- consist of players, who are playing for foreign clubs. Is it some kind of proof that these countries have high level football schools? In your opinion, why are there so few Ukrainian players in Western European football clubs?
It all depends on the conditions of football development within the country. For example, national teams of Germany or Italy almost completely consist of players of Bundesliga and Seria A. That’s sort of a historical outcome and if we look at the results we’ll see that players of these teams show excellent skills. On the other hand, there is the national team of Brazil, almost all of their players are playing at European clubs and even participate in friendly matches in European countries. In Ukraine, the majority of football clubs are financially stronger in comparison to clubs of Poland, Montenegro or Moldova and that is why it is difficult to invite players to other clubs as there will be financial responsibilities implemented and of course the player himself should show specific skills and be interested in this type of opportunity. I think that in Ukraine there are many football players who could play in European clubs and this would even give players an extra boost to develop their skills more.
What changes took place in the game strategy of the national team after participating in EURO 2012? Which team feels more comfortable for you – the EURO 2012 team or the team at present?
Of course, participation in such a high level tournament definitely cannot just go unnoticeably. It is very important that such tournament took place in our country, as hopefully this will give a boost to football development in Ukraine. I think participation in the European championships give many players not only useful experience but also additional confidence, progress and allows for them to upgrade skills. Starting from 2000, when I for the first time, put on Ukraine’s national team jersey, each match has been very special for me. Each time there has been a very pleasant atmosphere within the team and all newcomers feel comfortable in giving it their all for the good of the team.
Within the qualifications for the World 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, Ukraine’s national team will play against Montenegro, San-Marino, England and Poland. Which team of these three in your opinion is the top challenger for Ukraine’s team?
For now, we are in such a situation that each game as well all the scores we get, are very important notwithstanding the name of the opponent team. Our team is now catching up as we had lost some important points at the very beginning, but during the last few spring games we have shortened our distance to the first two places. Right now there are two teams ahead of ours and that means we cannot afford the luxury of loosing any more points. The upcoming game with Montenegro is extremely important, as the result will determine our chances for future matches. Not taking into consideration the fact, that this game will not be at home, I hope its fans will still support the team, just as it was during the last matches.
This autumn Ukraine’s national team will play three home matches within the qualification for the World 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. What do you thing of the idea of holding one of those matches- let’s say Ukraine vs Poland in Lviv?
I am very supportive of the idea that our national team should play matches in different cities of Ukraine as that will give fans from all over the country the possibility to come to the stadium and show support for the players. I have always enjoyed playing in Lviv, as the city has a special football atmosphere and is very supportive of their local and national teams. So if the decision to hold a match in Lviv is accepted, I will be the first one who will be happy, as all players of the team will be pleased to play in this city.
In what way do you see the development of your career as a footballer for the nearest future?
During our last match, Bayern won the team championship, which is truly an historical achievement, as we have never previously in the history of Bundesliga won this championship. We have also continued to compete in the German Cup championship and Champions League. Personally for me, winning the Champion League would be the best and the most prestigious achievement. Until July 1st 2013, I am a player for FC “Bavaria” so all my thoughts are concerning games for that team in this season. As far as the next season is concerned, I really haven’t made any decisions yet, so I don’t have an answer.
For the present time which team(s) do you consider as being the best within the Champions League?
Bavaria and Barcelona. If we were to look back three or four years, we would see that these clubs have shown very solid results. During the last three years we (Bavaria) has ended up twice at the finals of the world’s most important clubs championship. If we remember the sequence of events during those matches, I can only say that it was a long time ago when I saw such luck in football.