Robben gunning for revenge against Dortmund in DFB Pokal final

The Netherlands international is looking forward to next month’s showpiece and is determined to make amends for their recent league defeat

Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben is relishing the prospect of meeting rivals Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal final on May 17 and is determined to make amends for last week’s 3-0 Bundesliga loss.

Bayern progressed from Wednesday’s semi-final with a 5-1 demolition of second-tier outfit Kaiserslautern at the Allianz Arena and the defending champions will now meet Jurgen Klopp’s men in the final, with BVB having seen off the challenge of Wolfsburg in Tuesday’s other last-four encounter.

Dortmund stunned newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayern with a 3-0 win in Munich last week and Robben is eager to set the record straight in the final.

“It’s fantastic to meet a big side like Borussia Dortmund,” Robben told bundesliga.com.

“I’m expecting a great final. It’s the type of game you long for. We’ll be keen, in particular after our last defeat against them.

“They beat us 3-0, we beat them with the same result in the first half of the season. I’m really looking forward to it.”

Robben then went on to stress that the reigning German and European champions had an extra motivation to reach the cup final after their back-to-back defeats against Dortmund and Augsburg.

“We owed it to our fans. It was a do-or-die game against Kaiserslautern, a semi-final, and we had our sights set firmly on the final in Berlin.

“I think we played well, and we achieved our goal of reaching the final.”

Ronaldo targets Madrid return versus Bayern

The Portugal international is happy with his recovery from injury and aims to return to the pitch against the Bundesliga champions in the Champions League semi-final

Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo is hopeful of making his comeback from injury in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

The Portugal international has not featured for Carlo Ancelotti’s men since the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final with Borussia Dortmund on April 2, originally missing out with a knee injury before picking up a hamstring problem.

The 29-year-old was disappointed not to be involved in Madrid’s Copa del Rey final win over Barcelona on Wednesday, but hopes to face reigning European champions Bayern at Santiago Bernabeu next week.

“I’m really happy. I wanted to play and help the team but my team-mates did a great job. I’m getting better, now I don’t feel any pain,” Ronaldo told the club’s official website.

“I might be back in time for next Wednesday or perhaps the second leg of our Champions League tie.

“Bit by bit I’m feeling better and what I want more than anything is to be able to help the team out as soon as possible.”

Ronaldo has been in sublime form for Madrid this term, netting 45 goals in 41 appearances in all competitions.

Sammer: Bayern are being too nice to each other

The 46-year-old was not impressed with the Allianz Arena side’s performance levels against Kaiserslautern despite their 5-1 win sealing a place in the DFB Pokal final

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has insisted that the Bavarians need to step up their game if they are to win the treble this season, claiming the players are being “too nice to each other.”

The Bavarians beat Kaiserslautern 5-1 on Wednesday to book their ticket for the DFB Pokal final against Borussia Dortmund, but Sammer was by no means satisfied with Bayern’s performance.

We’re delighted to be in the final, but I’m not happy with how we’re playing,” the Bayern director told reporters.

“There are too many lapses in concentration and not much by way of a group dynamic. I think we’re being too positive and too nice to each other.

“We need a little more fire and also the courage to speak out and talk about these things. If things stay as they are it’ll be tough collecting another trophy.

“But if we can get back to playing as we did before wrapping up the league we’re capable of winning everything.”

Bayern have won just two out of six official games since wrapping up the Bundesliga title against Hertha Berlin.

Guardiola salutes Bayern Munich spirit after Kaiserslautern victory

The Catalan conceded that the Bavarians had initially struggled to play their usual passing game against their second-tier opponents but he was encouraged by their persistence

Pep Guardiola admitted that Bayern Munich had not been at their best in Wednesday night’s DFB-Pokal semi-final against Kaiserslautern but was nonetheless enthused by the “fight” his players had shown during the 5-1 win at the Allianz Arena.

Fresh from a shock 3-0 Bundesliga loss at home Borussia Dortmund, the Bavarians started slowly but two goals in the space of nine first-half minutes from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos changed the whole atmosphere of the game.

Thomas Muller, Mario Mandzukic and Mario Gotze all netted after the break as Bayern set up an intriguing tournament decider against Jurgen Klopp’s Schwarzgelben in Berlin next month.

“Kaiserslautern were very courageous from the start,” Guardiola told reporters after his side’s semi-final win. “We had problems with our possession of the ball.

“It’s never easy to score five goals, regardless of the opponents or the competition you’re playing in.

“I am happy about how we fought. I am looking forward to playing in the final.”

Meanwhile, Kroos also acknowledged that Bayern had taken some time to get going against their second-tier opponents.

“Our first two goals did us good,” the midfielder said. “Before then we were not quite there, had no opportunities and did not play smoothly.

“After that, we were a bit freer and played better. I look forward to the final.”

Bayern Munich 5-1 Kaiserslautern: Bavarians set up DFB-Pokal final showdown with Dortmund

Bayern Munich kept hopes of a second straight treble intact by reaching the final of the DFB-Pokal with a 5-1 victory over Kaiserslautern.

Pep Guardiola’s men remain on track to emulate their achievements of last season, when the Bavarians won the Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB-Pokal, following a comfortable semi-final triumph at the Allianz Arena on Wednesday.

Midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger put Bayern, who have already been crowned Bundesliga champions and won the Club World Cup in December, ahead midway through the first half with a fine headed effort.

Toni Kroos netted shortly after to put Bayern in complete command before a second-half penalty from Thomas Muller eased any nerves.

Simon Koller did pull one back for second-tier outfit Kaiserslautern, but that proved to be little more than a consolation as Bayern cruised to victory, Mario Mandzukic and Mario Gotze both scoring late on to set up a mouth-watering showpiece with Borussia Dortmund in Berlin next month.

Muller, who replaced Gotze in the Bayern starting XI following last weekend’s 3-0 home defeat to Dortmund, came close to opening the scoring after eight minutes as his header from Schweinsteiger’s clever cross was deflected against the crossbar.

The hosts laboured for much of the opening period against a determined Kaiserslautern defence, but Guardiola’s men made the breakthrough in the 23rd minute when Schweinsteiger powered home a magnificent downward header from Arjen Robben’s pinpoint corner.

And that lead was doubled nine minutes later, Kroos meeting Robben’s lay-off on the edge of the area with an exquisite finish that curled past Kaiserslautern goalkeeper Tobias Sippel and into the bottom corner.

Any hopes of a Kaiserslautern revival were extinguished just five minutes into the second half as Muller rolled the ball home from the spot after Chris Lowe had tripped Robben inside the area.

Bayern refused to take their foot off the gas, though, and would have added a fourth had Franck Ribery not missed the target when presented with an empty net from Muller’s pull-back.

The visitors then reduced the deficit on the hour mark, striker Zoller glancing Florian Dick’s right-wing cross beyond Bayern goalkeeper Lukas Raeder.

But Bayern were far from finished and re-emphasised their dominance 13 minutes from time when Mandzukic confidently slotted home after latching on to substitute Gotze’s through-ball.

Gotze then rounded off another wonderful Bayern showing in injury time, combining effortlessly with Ribery before coolly finishing from point-blank range.

Ajax boss De Boer would 'consider' coaching Barcelona

The former Blaugrana defender insists that he is happy in Amsterdam but confessed that he would be open to returning to Camp Nou one day

Ajax boss Frank de Boer has admitted that he would consider coaching Barcelona at some point in the future.

The future of current coach Tata Martino has been the subject of much debate of late, with the Blaugrana having slipped to third in La Liga and failed to qualify for the last four of the Champions League for the first time in seven years.

Barcelona icon Johan Cruyff says the club need to bring former boss Pep Guardiola back to Camp Nou, from Bayern Munich, but De Boer is also once again being linked with the job.

“I’m happy at Ajax but if at one point in my career the possibility comes, I would consider it,” the former Blaugrana centre-half told Sport 1.

“But, for now, I have enough goals at Ajax.”

De Boer continued: “Pep back to Barca would be a good move, but I don’t think it’s a possibility.

“Barcelona could want this, but Pep has just started at Bayern and is far from finished over there. He wants to achieve a lot more goals.”

'Bayern must show passion and heart to beat Madrid' – Guardiola

The former Barcelona coach has urged his “exceptional” players to get back to winning ways after they suffered two straight league defeats

Pep Guardiola has called upon Bayern Munich to show “passion and heart” in their next games as they look to progress to the finals of the Champions League and DFB-Pokal.

The Bavarian giants have won just one of their last five games in all competitions – a 3-1 victory over Manchester United in their quarter-final tie – during which time they lost two consecutive Bundesliga matches.

But Bayern, having already wrapped up the league title, are still in with a chance of winning a second straight treble, as they face Kaiserslautern in the DFB-Pokal semi-final on Wednesday a week before the first-leg of their Champions League last-four meeting with Real Madrid.

And Guardiola has urged his players to up their game and show more desire if they are to reach the final of each competition.

“We need to show passion and heart,” he told the Bundesliga’s official website. “That’s the only way we’ll make it to the final in Berlin and overcome Real Madrid to reach the Champions League final. Sometimes defeats help you to improve.”

The coach then urged his “exceptional players to go back to playing their own game”.

Captain Philipp Lahm reiterated his coach’s point, insisting his side cannot slip up like they did against Borussia Dortmund at the weekend.

“We have to perform to 100 per cent of our abilities, concentrate on the game and not make so many mistakes like we did against Dortmund.”

'Barcelona must bring back Guardiola' – Cruyff

The former Barca player and coach believes Guardiola is the person who can bring the club back to the pinnacle of world football and criticised the current administration

Barcelona icon Johan Cruyff believes the best thing the club could do is bring Pep Guardiola back as coach.

The current Bayern Munich boss spent four years at the helm of the Catalan giants, during which he won a host of titles including two Champions Leagues, Uefa Super Cup, Club World Cup and Copa del Rey crowns as well as three league titles.

Since his departure the club have struggled to reach the same heights, having failed to reach a Champions League final and this season crashing out at the quarters – and currently lie third in La Liga, four points behind leaders Atletico Madrid.

With that in mind, Cruyff believes the best way for the Blaugrana to return to the fore of world football is to lure the 43-year-old back from the Allianz Arena.

“The best thing for Barcelona is for Guardiola to come back,” the club icon told Mundo Deportivo.

“If Joan Laporta became president again I’d say that the best thing to do is to sign Pep, and as an intelligent person, I’m sure he would.”

The former Barca player and coach then went on to criticise the current administration running the reigning league champions, insisting people with a football background should be in charge of the club.

“Those who know what to do are not the decision makers, it’s those who want to take advantage of the football business.

“When Laporta was the president, he left those who knew football like [former director of football] Txiki Begiristain and Frank Rijkaard and then Pep to make football decisions. Everyone can make mistakes, but they knew football motivated their decisions and Laporta was dedicated to being the president and protecting them.

“That’s why it worked. There were good and bad moments, but overall it was a great step for both sides.”

The 66-year-old then went on to discuss the criticism Lionel Messi has received in recent weeks.

“It’s an absurdity. I recently said Messi was the best player in the world, and now, after they were eliminated from the Champions League, his value is being questioned.

“Barcelona has a structural problem. The president wants to be the manager and coach.”

Rode vows to prove doubters wrong at Bayern Munich

The former Germany Under-21 international is determined to make an impact at the Bundesliga champions after agreeing a four-year deal

Sebastian Rode is confident that he has what it takes to succeed at Bayern Munich and is keen to prove Pep Guardiola right for giving his transfer the green light.

Bayern announced the capture of the 23-year-old from Eintracht Frankfurt on a free transfer earlier this week, with Rode signing a four-year deal at the Bundesliga champions, and the midfielder is eagerly anticipating his summer move.

“Many people think that only seasoned professionals can make it at Bayern Munich,” Rode was quoted as saying by Bild.

“I have to prove the opposite. I dare to do that, despite the fierce competition. I’ll show everyone that I can do it.

“I have been assured in no uncertain terms that the coach is behind this transfer. There are no guarantees, I have to prove myself in training.

“If a team has been so successful, new players such as [Robert] Lewandowski and I are also important to maintain the hunger for success.”

Rode has made 17 Bundesliga appearances for Frankfurt so far this term, but has not featured since February due to a knee injury.

Robben: Netherlands need Sneijder

Oranje boss Louis van Gaal claimed recently that the midfielder’s World Cup spot is at risk but the Bayern Munich star is in no doubt as to his importance to the side

Arjen Robben has insisted that Wesley Sneijder remains a key figure for Netherlands and is hopeful the midfielder will make Oranje‘s World Cup squad.

The attacking midfielder has lost his place as an undisputed first-team player in the side since his move to Galatasaray and national team coach Louis van Gaal recently hinted that Sneijder’s place in the World Cup squad is under threat.

Nevertheless, Robben feels the former Inter star still has plenty to offer, telling NOS: “Wesley Sneijder is a very important player. I have already said this before and it’s not a secret how I feel about Wesley.

“When he plays at his own level and is fully match fit, which he is now, Wesley is a player who brings something extra. You need that at a World Cup.

“Wesley is an extraordinary player when he’s at his best and we have to take advantage of that.

“I am a fan of Wesley. Of course, we shouldn’t compare him to the player he was four years ago. We’ve moved on and things have changed since then. But he still adds something to Oranje.”

Sneijder has made 97 appearances for Netherlands so far, scoring 26 goals in the process.

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