Bayern players can learn a great deal from Alonso, says Gotze

The World Cup star is keen to get the chance to play alongside the influential midfielder and has set his sights on Champions League glory


Mario Gotze believes new Bayern Munich team-mate Xabi Alonso is an example to follow for the rest of the squad.

The 32-year-old left Real Madrid for the Bundesliga champions in the closing stages of the summer transfer window and Gotze is thoroughly impressed by the midfielder’s personality.

“Xabi Alonso is a very, very intelligent and experienced player with an enormous personality,” the Germany star said at a press conference.

“We can learn a great deal from him.”

Gotze went on to stress that the Champions League remains the most “special” competition and has warned of the danger posed by Manchester City.

“The Champions League enjoys a special status. It’s the most attractive trophy you can win.

“Manchester City are probably our most difficult opponents in the group. They have an outstanding team and outstanding players.”

Bayern also meet CSKA Moscow and Roma in Group E.

Bayern Munich-Manchester City Preview: Toure set to face injury-hit hosts

Pep Guardiola’s side are set to be without several key players for the visit of Manuel Pellegrini’s Premier League champions

Manchester City are hoping to have Yaya Toure available when they open their Group E campaign with a daunting trip to face Bayern Munich.

The Premier League champions are paired with their German counterparts in Europe’s elite competition for the second season running.

Having bowed out at the group stage in their previous two Champions League excursions, the signs were ominous as Bayern trampled early season optimism at the Etihad Stadium last term, leaving Manchester with a swashbuckling 3-1 victory. 

But City bounced back to win their next four European games, including a thrilling 3-2 comeback triumph at the Allianz Arena.

A last-16 exit at the hands of another heavyweight, Barcelona followed, although City captain Vincent Kompany believes his team-mates have nothing to prove as they prepare for a return to Bavaria.

“We’re confident,” the Belgium defender told reporters. “This is the first game of the Champions League, an away game against one of the hardest teams to play against in the world right now.

“But we should take confidence out of the last game we played in Munich. We’re up for the challenge anyway.

“I don’t think we’ve got a point to prove in Europe. I dissociate Europe from the league. But I just want to win games.”

Kompany missed the previous trip to Munich and City will be without another key defender on Wednesday night due to Pablo Zabaleta’s red card at Camp Nou in March.

Bacary Sagna is poised to step in at right-back, while manager Manuel Pellegrini should welcome back Toure after the midfielder sat out last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Arsenal having returned fatigued from international duty with Cote d’Ivoire.

Toure could capitalise on a troubling injury list for Pellegrini’s opposite number Pep Guardiola in central areas.

Talisman Bastian Schweinsteiger and long-term victims Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez (all knee) remain on the sidelines. And Guardiola voiced concerns over the weekend that too great a burden could fall on fellow Spaniard Xabi Alonso.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder has enjoyed a seamless transition since his close-season move to Bayern and impressed in Saturday’s 2-0 Bundesliga win over Stuttgart.

Bayern’s injury problems are not limited to midfield, with further doubts surrounding influential attacking duo Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

Robben missed training on Sunday with a knee complaint and match fitness could be an issue for Ribery, despite the former France international marking his season debut with a goal from the bench at the weekend.

Defender Holger Badstuber requires surgery after tearing a thigh muscle against Stuttgart to hand Guardiola more problems as Bayern attempt to bounce back from the disappointment of being thrashed 5-0 on aggregate by Real in the Champions League semi-finals last season.

Bayern need to find another gear to beat Man City – Lahm

Lahm, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze all believe the German giants must be at their best to get the better of the Premier League champions when they meet in the Champions League

Philipp Lahm has warned his Bayern Munich team-mates that they must be at their very best to beat Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The two sides have been drawn into Group E along with Roma and CSKA Moscow and face each other at the Allianz Arena.

Ahead of the clash, Bayern captain Lahm insists his side must to up their game when they take on the Premier League champions.

“We’ll need to find another gear on Wednesday,” Lahm told the club’s official website. 

“Manchester City are an absolute top team, but obviously, when FC Bayern play at home, we expect to win.”

Thomas Muller echoed the former Germany international’s remarks, stating: “We want to make a good start, [but we need] an excellent team performance.”

Lahm: Bayern won't miss or mourn Kroos

The club captain has faith that Pep Guardiola’s squad have plenty of quality to cope without the new Real Madrid midfielder

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm has insisted that he does not mourn the loss of Toni Kroos and that his place in the team will not be missed.

The 24-year-old chose to leave the Allianz Arena in July for Real Madrid, ending his eight-year association with the Bavarians.

Despite Kroos having played a large part in both Bayern’s Bundesliga success in 2013-14 and this summer’s World Cup win for Germany, Lahm has no doubts that Pep Guardiola’s men have not been weakened by Kroos’ departure.

“We have so much quality at Bayern that it’s difficult to weaken us,” the club captain, who has branded Real Madrid as Champions League favourites this season, told Kicker.

“I do not mourn Kroos. I’ve been around at Bayern long enough to not grieve for players leaving, even if Kroos is an excellent man.”

Bayern kick off their attempt to claim the top European title two years after they last won it on Wednesday at home to Premier League champions Manchester City.

Real Madrid are Champions League favourites, says Lahm

The former Germany international says the club’s summer outlay, which included the signing of Toni Kroos from Bayern, makes them the side to beat in Europe

Bayern Munich skipper Philipp Lahm believes that Real Madrid enter this season’s Champions League as favourites after winning the competition last year.

The Bundesliga champions were beaten 5-0 on aggregate by Carlo Ancelotti’s side at the semi-final stage, despite having won the tournament the previous term.

The 30-year-old feels that the Spanish side will be the team to beat once more but is determined to add to his one winners’ medal in the European Cup before he calls it a day.

“The club have strengthened an already-excellent team with a lot of money,” he told Kicker.

“Real are certainly the team to beat. I want to win this trophy again. Whether with the squad we have this season or in the new three years, I want a shot at the title.”

Bayern begin their bid to win the Champions League for the sixth time in their history with a clash against English champions Manchester City on Wednesday.

Muller: Bayern are destined for glory again

The World Cup winner is convinced that this season will see more silverware be lifted by the Bavarians, dismissing the notion of a hangover from his efforts in Brazil

Bayern Munich forward Thomas Muller believes that the club are destined for more success this season.

The Bavarians triumphed in the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal, Club World Cup and Uefa Super Cup under Pep Guardiola last season, but failed to defend their Champions League title which they lifted in the treble-winning campaign of 2012-13.

Muller satisfied his appetite for glory again in the summer as Germany stormed the World Cup in Brazil and, although it’s overshadowing the start of the Bundesliga, the 25-year-old is convinced Bayern are heading for trophies

“Everyone wants to link everything to the World Cup in the early weeks of the season,” the forward, who has rejected rumours suggesting he nearly joined Manchester United this summer, told the Guardian.

“If you play badly, you’ve fallen into a hole because of the World Cup. If you play well, it’s the World Cup feel-good factor.

“Physically, it shouldn’t be a problem at all, especially for us younger guys. Maybe in October or November it’ll become difficult, mentally. But you can’t think that way when you play at Bayern. You mustn’t.

“At Bayern, the destination is always heading for titles. So far, the travel agency haven’t called to say there’ll be complications. No rebooking, just yet.”

The Allianz Arena will play host to Manchester City on Wednesday in both sides’ opening Champions League group stage game.

Badstuber requires surgery on thigh injury

The recently returned from a lengthy injury but will be out for another “long period” after picking up an injury in his side’s win over Stuttgart on Saturday

Holger Badstuber is facing another lengthy spell on the sidelines after Bayern Munich confirmed he requires surgery on a thigh injury.

The defender missed around 20 months of action after damaging knee ligaments in December 2012, and now faces another “long period” out after tearing tendons in his left thigh during Bayern’s 2-0 victory over Stuttgart on Saturday.

But Badstuber, whose return to the first team lasted just three Bundesliga matches, says he is determined to recover as quickly as possible.

“I’m obviously very disappointed at the moment,” the 25-year-old told the club’s official website. 

“But now I know how to deal with such a situation.

“Do not worry, I will come again. I will not give up.”

Badstuber had played the full 90 minutes against Wolfsburg and Schalke before being forced off two minutes prior to half-time this weekend.

News of Badstuber’s latest setback is a major blow to Bayern, who host Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Gotze: Bayern must get better

The attacking midfielder believes his side’s sluggish performances will pick up once player fitness improves

Mario Gotze is confident that both he and Bayern Munich will reach top form as they look to shake off a jaded start to the season.

Two months on from his winning goal in the World Cup final, Gotze was on target again on Saturday as Bayern overcame Stuttgart 2-0 in the Bundesliga.

The defending champions have now taken seven points from their opening three league outings but have yet to reach peak form as they continue to struggle with injuries, some of which are linked to Germany’s triumphant World Cup campaign.

Gotze, however, believes both he and the team will hit their stride as 2014-15 progresses.

“We know that we need to improve,” the attacker, 22, told reporters. “But for now the important thing is that we picked up all three points. That was our priority and so we can be satisfied.

“Of course we have a few injured players but every club has the same situation. The players we have available are fit and we’ve got a very good side.

“It comes with time. It’s been a long year and now it’s all starting up again. My fitness will return the more I train and I’m confident I’ll be back at 100 per cent soon.”

Bayern are next in action on Wednesday in the Champions League group stage, with familiar foes Manchester City visiting the Allianz Arena.

Guardiola hopeful over Badstuber injury

The defender has only just returned after a near two-year absence but his coach has calmed fears he could be set for another lengthy lay-off

Pep Guardiola played down fears over Holger Badstuber’s fitness after the defender sustained an injury in Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win over Stuttgart.

The centre-back was substituted late in the first half during the champions’ 2-0 victory at the Allianz Arena, raising concerns that he had suffered another serious knee problem.

Badstuber had been sidelined since 2012 with a knee injury before making his long-awaited return in July, but Bayern revealed that the 25-year-old suffered a hamstring problem on Saturday and coach Guardiola is hopeful that his latest injury is not serious. 

“We will get the diagnosis tomorrow [Sunday]. But I don’t think it’s that serious,” said the former Barcelona coach.

Franck Ribery marked his first appearance of the season with a goal after coming off the substitutes bench to seal the victory for Bayern after Mario Gotze had put them in front in the first half.

Guardiola was in no doubt that his side were worthy winners, but felt they were not at their best in the final third.

“We dominated the match and had lots of touches of the ball but we had problems with the final pass and our crosses,” he said.

“We’re always pleased when we win.”

Xabi Alonso impressed on his home debut for the Bavarian giants and the former Real Madrid midfielder stressed that there is more to come from Bayern.

“It was tough going. We obviously dominated the game, but there were a few minutes before the first goal when we weren’t so good,” said Alonso.

“We put a lot into it in the second half. We knew Stuttgart only needed the one goal for most of the match, but we were a lot more composed after our second goal.

“It was a workmanlike win. We still need a little time. We’re improving, but the three points are what mattered.”

Bayern have now won two of their first three Bundesliga matches and face Manchester City in the Uefa Champions League on Wednesday.

Bayern Munich 2-0 Stuttgart: Gotze and Ribery secure win for Guardiola's men

A goal in either half from the champions was enough to ensure they took all three points at the Allianz Arena and maintained their unbeaten start to the season

Franck Ribery marked his first appearance of the season with a goal as Bayern Munich beat Stuttgart 2-0 in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

The former France winger came off the bench to seal a deserved win for the champions with a well-taken late goal on his return from a knee injury.

Ribery, who this week stated he would not reverse his decision to retire from international football, had not featured since Bayern’s DFB-Pokal final win in May, but he made up for lost time at the Allianz Arena.

Midfielder Mario Gotze, who scored Germany’s winner in the World Cup final, found the back of the net for the first time this season for the Bavarian giants with a clinical first-half finish to put Bayern in front.

Xabi Alonso, making his home debut, and Robert Lewandowski both struck the post as Bayern secured a 12th successive win against Stuttgart, who had their chances but were unable to end their dismal run against the home side.

Bayern have now won two of their first three Bundesliga matches and were impressive ahead of their UEFA Champions League clash with Manchester City on Wednesday.

Armin Veh’s Stuttgart side, on the other hand, are awaiting their first Bundesliga victory of the campaign.

Bayern’s recent signing Mehdi Benatia was among the substitutes, while Pep Guardiola restored Dante and Juan Bernat to the starting line-up at the expense of Sebastian Rode and Xherdan Shaqiri.

Timo Werner and Moritz Leitner replaced Daniel Didavi and Alexandru Maxim in the Stuttgart starting line-up.

Bayern wasted little time in stamping their authority on the game and it took an agile save from Sven Ulreich to keep out Thomas Muller’s header after Jerome Boateng picked the forward out.

Antonio Rudiger spurned an opportunity to give Stuttgart a shock lead when he headed wide at the back post and that miss proved costly, as Gotze put Bayern in front after 27 minutes.

The midfielder showed great composure to take a touch inside before rifling home with his right foot from around 10 yards out after Stuttgart failed to deal with a free-kick from Alonso.

Bayern were worthy of their lead, but were caught napping when Rudiger was left unmarked from a corner, only to again head off target.

The home side wanted a penalty for handball against Gotoku Sakai, but the referee waved played on and Bayern suffered a blow when Holger Badstuber picked up a thigh injury late in the first half and was replaced by Gianluca Gaudino.

Close-season signing Filip Kostic replaced Vedad Ibisevic at half-time as Veh attempted to get his side back into the game.

Bayern always looked dangerous going forward, though, and Lewandowski tried his luck with an acrobatic volley after demonstrating some excellent close control, but was off target.

Rudiger was presented with another golden opportunity when Bayern again left him unmarked from a free-kick, but he appeared to be caught in two minds and the chance had passed.

Ribery was given a great reception when he replaced Gotze after 67 minutes, then Alonso struck the post before Lewandowski was also denied by the woodwork.

Former Marseille man Ribery showed his class to seal the points two minutes from time, though, finishing with his left foot after Lewandowski played him in.

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