Neuer: Schweinsteiger still one of world's best

The German midfielder has become an outcast at Manchester United, but his former Bayern Munich team-mate believes he still has a lot to offer at the top level

Manuel Neuer has expressed his sadness at Bastian Schweinsteiger’s Manchester United situation, claiming he remains one of the best midfielders in the world.

The 32-year-old, who retired from Germany duty last month, is not in Jose Mourinho’s plans at Old Trafford and has been training away from the United first team.

Schweinsteiger told fans on Twitter on Wednesday he will be ready when called upon and does not intend to leave for another European club, but Neuer, his former Bayern Munich team-mate, has expressed bemusement at the state of affairs.

“It’s very bitter and sad,” he told reporters. “We know how important Bastian was for all his teams, no matter if it was Bayern or the national team.

“For me he was one of the best midfielders in the world and still is. So it’s sad that the football world can’t see him right now.”

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As for his own club fortunes, Neuer has been impressed by Carlo Ancelotti’s management style since he succeeded Pep Guardiola as Bayern coach.

“Basically he already gives us more freedom,” he said. “He knows that we have world-class players in our ranks, he can trust us and it shows.

“He is very relaxed around us and knows, of course, that we have different characters and so deals differently with each of us.”

Bayern beat Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the DFL-Supercup to kick off their season.

Dortmund beat Bayern to Dembele capture – Watzke

BVB’s CEO claims the club pipped their closest rivals to the signing of the highly rated French forward, but insists the relationship between the two teams is as good as ever

Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke claims the club beat Bayern Munich to the signing of Ousmane Dembele, but says the relationship between the two Bundesliga giants is as good as ever.

Dembele signed for Dortmund from Rennes in May, agreeing a five-year contract, after an impressive campaign that saw the 19-year-old score 12 goals in 26 Ligue 1 appearances.

But while Watzke insists Dortmund acted quicker than Bayern in securing the services of the striker, he feels the two clubs enjoy a profitable professional relationship.

Both sides have done business with each other this summer, with Mats Hummels returning to Bayern from Dortmund while Mario Gotze and Sebastian Rode have moved in the opposite direction.

“We were in that moment faster [than Bayern in signing Dembele],” Watzke told Sport1.

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“I do not know how deep the interest of Bayern was, but we were very early and had already discovered the player.

“He has exceptional talent, but there are many things he still needs to learn. He needs to learn the language and assimilate here.

“I cannot blame Bayern in this case. We had three talks with Karl-Heinz Rummenigge this year. These were very confident and professional. The relationship to Bayern is as good as it’s ever been.

“They have established themselves on the same level as Real Madrid.

“Accordingly, it would be stupid to say that we are attacking Bayern Munich. You should then attack if the opponent has a period of weakness.”

Alaba warns against complacency as Bayern begin Bundesliga defence

The Bavarians’ first league opponents were shocked by Sportfreunde Lotte at the weekend, but their Swiss star will not be taking anything for granted

David Alaba has warned Bayern Munich not to underestimate a wounded Werder Bremen when they begin their Bundesliga title defence on Friday.

Bremen suffered a shock DFB-Pokal first-round exit at the hands of third-tier Sportfreunde Lotte on Sunday, with Andre Dej netting the winner in a 2-1 victory.

Holders Bayern breezed into round two with a 5-0 victory over Carl Zeiss Jena and will head into Friday’s match in buoyant mood having won their last 13 encounters with Bremen in all competitions, with no goals conceded in their last five meetings.

Alaba, however, says his side must not allow complacency to affect their performance as they aim to make a winning start in their quest for a fifth league title in a row.

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“They will work even harder, especially after their struggles in the cup,” he told Bayern’s TV channel. “Now they come to the Allianz Arena to face Bayern where they will be hoping to up their game.

“We need to take that into account and deal with it.

“Things feel really good on the pitch. Hopefully we can convey that when we play.”

Meet Davide Ancelotti, our assistant coach and @MrAncelotti’s son! Impressive German skills, Davide!

— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) August 21, 2016

Bayern’s clash will be their first since head coach Carlo Ancelotti appointed his son as one of his assistants.

Davide, 27, was a fitness coach at Madrid during his father’s spell in charge between 2013 and 2015 and has taken on a more senior role at the Allianz Arena.

“I support our coaches both in training and in pre-match preparations,” he told Bayern’s official website after his appointment last week. “On the training pitch, I explain exercises or just help out with the language.

“My father speaks German well but doesn’t understand everything yet. I like the language – it’s difficult but I find it very interesting.”

Dortmund know how to treat Gotze – Ballack

The Germany international completed a return to his former club earlier this summer, having previously left to join Bayern Munich, and the ex-Chelsea star feels the move is wise

Former Germany international Michael Ballack believes Borussia Dortmund are better placed to handle Mario Gotze than Bayern Munich.

Gotze won two Bundesliga titles and the DFB-Pokal during four years at Dortmund, before departing for fierce rivals Bayern in 2013.

Despite lifting three more league titles and two Pokals during his stay at Allianz Arena, Gotze struggled for regular playing time under Pep Guardiola and his return to Dortmund was confirmed earlier in the transfer window.

And Ballack, who spent four years at Bayern between 2002 and 2006, winning three successive Bundesligas, feels Dortmund are more likely to make the most of Gotze’s considerable talent.

“I can’t judge that move, just like most of us can’t. He grew up in Dortmund and he is for sure one of the most gifted players we have at the moment,” Ballack told Omnisport.

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“There a few players like him who know what to do in every situation, just like he does. If he is able to perform on his highest level there are few others who are able to always make the right move like he does. But he has to feel good and he has to bring it.

“That he was not able to do so in the recent past, neither at Bayern nor the national team, is probably for many different reasons.

“Maybe it was trust, there were a lot of speculations, but I think Dortmund knows best how to treat him. Three years have passed, he has developed, his personality changed.

“But I think Dortmund knows how to handle the situation. If it is the best option for him to already return to Dortmund, I don’t know. But he made the step and we have to accept that.

“It is a top club, and he has to give us all the remaining answers on the pitch.”

Ancelotti wowed by fit-again Martinez

The former Athletic star started just 11 times in the last Bundesliga campaign due to knee problems, but his new coach is delighted with what he has seen so far

Carlo Ancelotti has been impressed by the form of fit-again Bayern Munich star Javi Martinez as the new Bundesliga season approaches.

The versatile Spain international, able to play in defence and midfield, has seen his career in Germany continually interrupted by injury since moving to Bavaria from Athletic Bilbao in 2012.

The 27-year-old started just 11 league games last season due to knee trouble, having ruptured his cruciate ligament in a separate incident in 2014.

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Martinez, though, has started both the Super Cup win over Borussia Dortmund and a DFB-Pokal triumph at Carl Zeiss Jena, drawing high praise from his new head coach. 

“To be honest, I’ve been very surprised by Martinez,” Ancelotti was quoted as saying by ESPN.

“He was the best player on the pitch against Dortmund and against Jena he reached the same level.”

Martinez could partner Mats Hummels at centre-back when Bayern begin the defence of their Bundesliga title at home to Werder Bremen on Friday.

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