Alaba dismisses rumours of Real Madrid meeting

The defender has been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu in recent months but has made it clear he is happy with life in Bavaria

David Alaba’s father and representative George has dismissed suggestions that Real Madrid have approached the Bayern Munich star over a potential transfer.

Reports from Spain suggested that the Champions League holders had travelled to Vienna to meet with Alaba senior, fuelling speculation that the 22-year-old could be on the move at the end of the season.

Alaba, however, has stressed that no meeting ever took place before adding that the left-back is happy with life at Bayern.

“It’s not true that I met with a Madrid delegation. There was never a meeting,” Alaba’s father told Kicker.

“There is absolutely no reason for us to speak with other clubs. David is very happy in Munich.”

The versatile defender himself, meanwhile, has also insisted that he is not thinking about a potential transfer.

“I am feeling very well here. I am not even thinking about a transfer,” he said.

Alaba has a contract with Bayern until June 2018.

The Austria international has been a key figure at the Allianz Arena so far in 2014-15, scoring five goals in 29 appearances in all competitions.

Bender determined to rekindle Dortmund-Bayern rivalry

Jurgen Klopp’s team have endured a disappointing Bundesliga season but the Germany midfielder believes an improving side can give the league leaders a stern test

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Sven Bender is determined to rekindle his side’s rivalry with Bayern Munich despite their disappointing Bundesliga season.

A recent revival has left Jurgen Klopp’s side in 10th place but they have fought relegation, rather than contended for the title with Bayern, for most of the campaign so far.

The return of former Dortmund stars Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski, however, will add spice to the occasion when the two sides meet on April 4 despite Bayern’s clear lead at the top of the table.

“I have contact with Mario, we’re texting sometimes,” Bender told reporters. “But ahead of such a game there’s no more contact than usual.

“Of course, it’s not the same situation like it was in previous years where we were really close in the standings.

“I think we have found our strength again. We have a good defence again and are playing successfully again. We always showed in the past that we could keep pace with them and even win.

“Everyone is looking forward to that special task. Maybe some may underestimate us and say we’re not at their best level at the moment.

“It would be nice if we could show them that we’re still a top team and can always surprise.”

Bender returned from a long-term knee injury recently and his comeback has coincided with an upturn in Dortmund’s fortunes.

“I wasn’t able to do anything only for two weeks,” he explained. “After that I could start with the rehab.

“All in all, it was four weeks and after that I felt really good. Of course, after this the rhythm was missing a little bit but I felt good and I am feeling good right now.

“Since my return I made every training session and I’m in top condition. Although I need the international break to train and work every day to get the final tuning that is still missing.”

Khedira: It will be hard to leave Real Madrid

The Germany midfielder has all but confirmed his summer departure from the Santiago Bernabeu by vowing to “give everything” until his contract expires at the end of the season

Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira has all but confirmed his departure from the Spanish club this summer by vowing to “give everything” until the expiry of his contract.

The Germany international has been linked with a return to the Bundesliga when his current deal runs out at the end of the season, with Bayern Munich reportedly interested and Schalke confirming talks have taken place.

Khedira has lost his place in Carlo Ancelotti’s central midfield to Toni Kroos and Luka Modric having struggled with injury in 2014-15, making just 11 La Liga appearances.

“I love Real Madrid, it will be hard to leave this club,” Khedira said according to Marca.

“I will give everything for this shirt until the last day of my contract, there should be no doubt about that.”

The 27-year-old last played for Madrid in their 4-3 defeat to Schalke in the Champions League, and has not featured in a league fixture since February 7.

Zidane visits Bayern to learn from Guardiola

The Real Madrid Castilla coach joined Will Sagnol and Claude Makelele in Germany as they aim to complete their Uefa Pro Level Three licence

Real Madrid icon Zinedine Zidane has travelled to Munich to pick up some coaching expertise from former Barcelona boss Pep Guardiola.

The former France star, currently head coach of the Real Madrid Castilla side, has already been earmarked as a potential successor to Carlo Ancelotti at the helm of the senior side at Santiago Bernabeu.

Along with former international team-mates Claude Makele and Willy Sagnol, Zidane has joined a delegation attending Bayern’s training centre on Sabener Strasse to watch Guardiola lead a session on Wednesday.

Zidane, Makele and Sagnol – currently head coach of Bordeaux – are attempting to acquire their Uefa Pro Level Three coaching licence as they look to begin their careers in the dugout in earnest.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge welcomed the group at the training ground ahead of their three-day spell in Germany.

France legend & World Cup winner #Zidane is visiting #FCBayern this week to observe training.

— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) March 24, 2015

Zidane, who has also visited Marcelo Bielsa at Marseille in the past few months, is currently enduring a tough spell with the Castilla side, who have lost four games in a row.

Guardiola’s Bayern are currently 10 points clear at the top of the Bundesliga and will take on Porto in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Neuer out of Germany friendly

The shot-stopper will not be risked in Wednesday’s friendly, while Holger Badstuber and Ilkay Gundogan are both expected to feature from the start

Germany coach Joachim Low will have to make do without the services of Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the international friendly against Australia due to injury.

The 28-year-old featured for the full 90 minutes in his side’s 2-0 Bundesliga defeat against Borussia Monchengladbach at the weekend, but complained about pain in his knee after the game and will consequently be rested.

“Manuel is suffering from an inflammation to his knee and will not play against Australia,” Low said at a press conference.

“He will be sidelined for two days and resume training on Thursday. I think he will be ready in time for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Georgia, but we will not take any risks.”

Low then went on to reveal that Borussia Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan and Bayern defender Holger Badstuber – both of whom returned to the Germany squad after a lengthy absence due to injury – are likely to start versus Australia.

“Players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Marco Reus, Badstuber and Gundogan are all back.

“We have some extra options again. Badstuber and Gundogan will probably start.”

Gundogan, meanwhile, was able to delight at being back in the Germany team after his injury problems.

“What touches you the most after suffering an injury for so much time, is the fact that you really appreciate your health afterwards when you have recovered,” the BVB man said.

“You appreciate that you spend a day without suffering. For a long time, I already felt pain when I woke up in the morning. If I compared it to now, I feel reborn, I am a whole other man. 

“So these are the little things that make you enjoy your life so much more, also besides football. 

“Right now, I have no problems on the pitch and I hope it will stay like this. But I also enjoy my social life so much more than before.”

Unbelievable Gotze is crucial to Germany, says Low

The national team coach has nothing but praise for the 2014 World Cup hero and is impressed with his development in recent years

Germany coach Joachim Low has taken the time to praise Bayern Munich attacker Mario Gotze’s progress and has hailed the 22-year-old’s “unbelievable” importance.

Gotze was the hero for Germany during last year’s World Cup in Brazil as he netted the winner in the final against Argentina and Low is impressed by the former Borussia Dortmund attacker’s development in recent years.

“I find the way he has developed over the last two years remarkable, as he had gone through a tough time around two-and-a-half years ago, when he was injured for six months, and nobody was really sure how quickly he would be back on form,” Low told the official Laureus site.

“In the last two years I have also noticed an unbelievable change in Mario. Starting out as a very young player he has matured from a promising talent into a highly professional player. 

“I have also noticed that he puts in a lot of additional effort in training, in his diet and in his lifestyle, so that for his young years he is unbelievably professional and ambitious.

“He was an unbelievably important player for us in the World Cup, not only because of the goal he scored in the final but because of his whole manner of playing, which always makes him unpredictable for the opponent.”

Gotze has netted 15 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions for Bayern so far this term.

Bayern will not sell Dante, insists Sammer

The Brazilian defender has been linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena, but the German giants are determined to hold on to him

Bayern Munich director Matthias Sammer has insisted that the Bundesliga champions have no intention of selling Dante.

The 31-year-old is no longer an undisputed starter for the Bavarians this term and a number of recent reports suggested Bayern are ready to cash in on the Brazilian come June.

However, Sammer has stressed that Dante remains a key figure for the German champions and they are determined to hold on to him.

“It’s utter nonsense that we are looking to sell Dante at the end of the season,” Sammer told Kicker.

“It’s hard to say just how important Dante is for Bayern.

“If you look at him in the dressing room and on the training pitch, you would realise how much he means to the team.”

Dante joined Bayern from Borussia Monchengladbach in the summer of 2012 and has since made over 100 appearances for the Allianz Arena side.

The centre-back has a contract with Pep Guardiola’s side until June 2017.

Neuer: Bayern simply not good enough

The Germany international failed to hide his frustration with his side’s surprise defeat and acknowledged he was partially to blame

Manuel Neuer feels Bayern Munich were simply not good enough in their 2-0 Bundesliga defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday.

Goals from Raffael either side of half-time saw Pep Guardiola’s men leave the Allianz Arena empty handed and Neuer was quick to acknowledge Bayern did not deserve a good result.

“We didn’t create any genuine chances. That wasn’t good enough,” Neuer told the official Bayern website.

“Gladbach were very good and defended excellently.

“Obviously we wanted to do much better and we’ve missed a chance because Wolfsburg dropped points.

“But it won’t darken our mood. We know what we’re aiming for this season. We’ll look to the future and we’re optimistic.”

Neuer was at fault for Gladbach’s opening goal and the Germany international admitted he should have done better on Raffael’s strike.

“It was the first shot on target from Gladbach. I wanted to catch it and hold on to it. I just should have played it safe and palmed it away.”

Neuer has kept 16 clean sheets in 25 Bundesliga appearances so far this term.

Guardiola defends bungling Neuer as Bayern suffer shock defeat

The Spaniard was quick to stand by the Germany number one who was uncharacteristically sloppy on Sunday

Pep Guardiola refused to criticise goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after his error in Bayern Munich’s 2-0 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach, pointing the finger at his attackers instead.

Neuer inexplicably allowed a Raffael effort to squirm over the goalline 30 minutes into the clash at the Allianz Arena on Sunday, a setback from which Bayern never recovered.

That error came just six minutes after the forced withdrawal of the injured Arjen Robben and the Bundesliga’s runaway leaders lacked fluency in the final third without their Dutch star.

Raffael doubled his tally 13 minutes from time, handing Bayern their first Bundesliga home defeat since April 2014, but it was the champions’ forwards who drew the ire of Guardiola, not Neuer.

He told reporters: “We didn’t lose due to Manu, but because we had problems in attack. 

“It’s the Bundesliga and people think it’s always easy, but I know how difficult it is. 

“We’ll analyse the game and after the international break we’ll get back to winning ways.”

Neuer himself was also quick to lament Bayern’s ineffectiveness in attack, acknowledging that the hosts did not deserve anything due to the simple fact that they failed to craft any clear-cut opportunities.

“Gladbach were very good and defended excellently,” the goalkeeper said. “We didn’t create any genuine chances. That wasn’t good enough. 

“Obviously we wanted to do much better and we’ve missed a chance because Wolfsburg dropped points [in a 1-1 draw at Mainz] today. 

“But it won’t darken our mood. We know what we’re aiming for this season. We’ll look to the future and we’re optimistic.”

Injured Robben to miss 'several weeks'

Bayern Munich have confirmed the winger has torn an abdominal muscle and will be absent during a crucial stint of the season

Bayern Munich have confirmed winger Arjen Robben has been ruled out for “several weeks” after tearing an abdominal muscle.

The Netherlands international lasted just 24 minutes of Sunday’s shock 2-0 home defeat by Borussia Monchengladbach before being forced off following a heavy challenge from the visitors’ Tony Jantschke.

Bad news: Arjen #Robben has torn an abdominal muscle and will be out for several weeks.

— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) March 22, 2015

The news compounds a miserable fortnight for Robben who only returned to training this week after sustaining a back injury against Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on March 12.

Although beaten on Sunday, retaining the Bundesliga title appears a formality for Pep Guardiola’s side but the possible absence of Robben in the Champions League could have a serious impact on their chances of going deep in the competition.

Next up for Bayern is a quarter-final tie with Porto with the first leg scheduled for April 15 in Portugal.

Robben will also miss the Netherlands’ two fixtures over the next 10 days – the European Championship qualifier at home to Turkey and the glamour friendly with Spain.

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