Ribery hungrier than ever, says Sammer

The Bavarians sporting director has insisted that the Frenchman is eager to start the new season after the disappointment of missing the World Cup

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has stressed that Franck Ribery is raring to go again for the reigning Bundesliga champions after missing the 2014 World Cup due to injury.

The 31-year-old was desperate to help France to glory at this summer’s tournament, but was eventually forced to withdraw from the squad due to a back problem, much to his own disappointment.

Nevertheless, Sammer has made it clear that Ribery has moved on from the missed World Cup and is now keen to start the new season at the Allianz Arena.

“Franck is hungrier than ever before. He is in great shape mentally,” Sammer was quoted as saying by Sport Bild.

“I am really happy for him. He is determined to show what he can do once more after missing the World Cup due to injury. We will be seeing a very strong Franck Ribery right from the start of the Bundesliga.

“Franck is still undergoing some treatment on his back and we have to be careful, but he can take part in any exercise. He is in great shape and things are going well for him.”

Ribery made 39 appearances in all competitions for Bayern last season, scoring 16 goals in the process.

Shaqiri: Juventus not a step back from Bayern

The Switzerland international has acknowledged that it would be hard to turn down the Serie A champions if they made an offer

Bayern Munich attacker Xherdan Shaqiri has admitted that he would be open to a move to Juventus if the opportunity arises.

The Bundesliga champions recently stressed that they have no intention of selling the Switzerland international, yet Juventus continue to closely monitor Shaqiri’s situation at the Allianz Arena as they look to continue their summer recruitment plans.

Shaqiri, who has also been linked with Roma and Liverpool, says he has yet to hear of any concrete interest from the Italian champions but insists it would not be a backward step to move to Turin from Pep Guardiola’s side.

“Juventus would definitely be a nice option,” Shaqiri was quoted as saying by Tuttosport.

“Juventus are a big club, who wouldn’t want to play for them… I don’t think Juventus would be a step back in my career.

“But I am on holiday at the moment. My brother is occupying himself with my future.

“I don’t know whether Juventus have been in touch with Bayern. I have not heard anything about it from Juventus or Bayern.”

Shaqiri joined Bayern from Basel in the summer of 2012, but has been struggling to secure regular first-team action at the Allianz Arena due to the stiff competition for places.

The 22-year-old has a contract with FCB until June 2016.

Schweinsteiger needs six-week break, says Bayern doctor

The Germany international was battling injury problems throughout last season and the club’s medical staff have called for him to rest before the 2014-15 campaign

Bayern Munich team doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt has voiced his concerns over Bastian Schweinsteiger’s fitness ahead of the 2014-15 campaign.

The influential midfielder was plagued by injury problems throughout last season and missed a number of games for Bayern, but he recovered in time to feature prominently at the World Cup with Germany.

Bayern granted the 29-year-old a three-week holiday after he guided the national team to glory at this summer’s tournament, but Muller-Wohlfahrt feels Schweinsteiger needs at least twice as long in order to fully recover from his exploits in Brazil after a gruelling 2013-14 season.

“Schweinsteiger needs at least a six-week break,” the Bayern doctor told Eurosport.

The midfielder missed Germany’s World Cup opener against Portugal and was on the bench for the game against Ghana, but featured from the start in the world champions’ remaining five games.

Schweinsteiger made 36 appearances in all competitions for Bayern last season.

The Bavarians kick off the new Bundesliga season at home against Wolfsburg on August 22.

Immobile good enough for Bayern, says Trapattoni

The veteran coach has little doubt his compatriot will become an instant hit in the Bundesliga and has nothing but praise for Jurgen Klopp

Former Bayern Munich coach Giovanni Trapattoni believes new Borussia Dortmund signing Ciro Immobile could have been a hit with the Bundesliga champions.

BVB signed Immobile from Juventus and Torino after losing Robert Lewandowski to Bayern on a free transfer and Trapattoni has little doubt that his compatriot will succeed at Signal Iduna Park.

“Lewandowski is Lewandowski and Immobile is Immobile. Ciro is a very intelligent player, though. He can play in the middle, but on the left or right as well,” Trapattoni told Bild.

“Ciro is a godsend for [Jurgen] Klopp. He would have been good enough for Bayern as well. Ciro is only 24 years old and still has room for improvement.

“He is a clinical finisher. He scored 22 goals in Italy and will get plenty of goals in the Bundesliga as well.”

Trapattoni also feels Immobile will become a stronger player in Germany while working under one of the finest coaches in the game.

“But the transfer to Dortmund will also benefit Ciro. He now gets the chance to work with one of the best coaches in the world,” he said.

“I am very impressed with what Klopp has achieved with Dortmund and how he has helped young players develop. It’s good fun to see him at work.”

'Bayern will fire me if I fail' – Guardiola

The Spaniard has acknowledged that all coaches are under pressure to produce results but insists that his colleagues should be given more time

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has admitted he will lose his job if he fails to meet expectations next season.

The Spaniard led the Bavarian club to the Bundesliga title and the DFB-Pokal in his first campaign at the Allianz Arena, but failed to retain the Champions League after being knocked out 5-0 on aggregate by Real Madrid.

“There are no secrets. If I don’t win, another coach will come next year,” he told reporters.

“I came to do my job the best way possible, like I did at Barcelona. I came to a different country where they play football in a completely different way.

“I intend to adapt myself and hope that they adapt to my ideas, but that process is not something achieved in a year.

“We won the Bundesliga and we won the Pokal in an incredible season. What happened against Madrid was a shame. Not that we lost, but that we lost an opportunity.”

Guardiola went on to claim that too many teams attempted to copy his Barcelona side’s style of play.

“All the people went and copied that. It’s a big mistake. You copy that and you won one day because of that. But one day you are going to lose.

“Be patient with the coach and the player and you are going to be good.

“Any system is good, any system is wrong. I’m not convinced England and Italy went out [of the World Cup] because their system is wrong or Germany won because their philosophy is right.

“Spain lost and they will keep going with the same coach and the same style of play. And maybe they will go back. It’s a matter of believing in what you do.”

Sammer delighted with ‘outstanding’ Lewandowski

The Bayern Munich sporting director was happy with the Poland international’s performance in his new side’s 1-1 draw with MSV Duisburg on Monday

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer was delighted to see new signing Robert Lewandowski make a goalscoring start to his career with the Bundesliga champions.

The Poland international scored against MSV Duisburg on 62 minutes in his first match for Pep Guardiola’s men following his summer move from Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer.

Lewandowski was one of a few star players involved in the friendly, which ended 1-1, and Sammer was happy to see the striker test both goalkeepers used by the third-tier club, as well as get his name on the scoresheet.

“He’s an outstanding player with outstanding skills,” Sammer told reporters. “We’ll build him up slowly. On Monday he played almost a full match.

“We’ve had to manage the training carefully this week because at the weekend we’ll play a whole tournament.

“A lot of players are still in holiday. The players that are here cannot play every single match up to full time. We have to be careful but we also have to be at 100 per cent when the Bundesliga starts. That’s quite difficult.”

Lewandowski himself is looking forward to Bayern’s World Cup winners returning to training so that the team can start preparing properly for the new season, in which they will hope to retain their Bundesliga title.

“On the one hand I’m happy to have scored my first goal, but on the other hand we only drawn 1-1,” he added. “Matches like this are more difficult than matches with the whole team together.

“Of course it would be better having all national team players here but we’ll have to wait for them, that’s a normal situation for a team with so many World Cup winners.

“I’m focusing on training and when the players come back we’ll start the season. When they’re back it would be another type of preparation I think.”

The 2014 Goal 50 will be announced on Monday 28 July. Who will win the prestigious annual prize ranking the 50 greatest players in the world from the past season? Get involved in the debate on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #Goal50

Germany desperately need Lahm, insists Beckenbauer

The former West Germany star admits he finds it difficult to understand the Bayern Munich captain’s decision to retire from international football

Germany icon Franz Beckenbauer has voiced his surprise with Philipp Lahm’s decision to retire from international football, claiming the world champions still “desperately need” the Bayern Munich defender.

The 30-year-old stepped down from national team duties after guiding Germany to World Cup glory in Brazil earlier this summer and Beckenbauer finds it hard to comprehend Lahm’s decision.

“Lahm’s decision to retire came as a complete surprise to me. I would have understood it for a number of players, but not for Philipp Lahm,” Beckenbauer told Sky Sports HD.

“The team desperately needs him. He is the leader of this squad. It will be very tough to replace him.

“He still has plenty to offer at the age of 30. He is more than capable of using his energy wisely, regardless of his position on the pitch.

“Yes, he won the World Cup, but that’s not a reason to say farewell to the national team.”

Lahm made 113 international appearances for Germany, scoring five goals in the process, and featured at three World Cups and as many European Championships.

The 2014 Goal 50 will be announced on Monday July 28. Who will win the prestigious annual prize ranking the 50 greatest players in the world from the past season? Get involved in the debate on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #Goal50

MSV Duisburg 1-1 Bayern Munich: Lewandowski scores on debut

The ex-Dortmund striker netted on his first appearance for Pep Guardiola’s side but they had to settle for a draw against third-tier opposition

Robert Lewandowski marked his first Bayern Munich appearance with a goal as the Bavarians were held to a 1-1 draw by third-tier MSV Duisburg.

The Pole was making his Bayern bow following his Bosman transfer from bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund, and looked sharp in attack, keeping home goalkeeper Michael Ratajczak busy in a goalless first half.

However, substitute shot-stopper Marcel Lenz was powerless to prevent Lewandowski opening his account just after the hour mark, following good work from Rafinha.

A frustrating outing saw Bayern, still without their World Cup contingent, struggle to create opportunities playing a 3-5-2 system with just one recognised centre-half on the pitch in the shape of Holger Badstuber, whose comeback from injury was boosted by an 85-minute run-out.

And 20-year-old winger Fabian Schnellhardt grabbed a deserved draw for Duisburg, curling home a fine strike.

Bayern made a good start with regular left-back David Alaba probing from a central midfield role that he often operates in for Austria at international level.

Lewnadowski went close eight minutes in, latching onto Lucas Scholl’s downward volley, but Ratajczak was alert to flick away the striker’s flicked header.

Alexander Sieghart saw a good effort saved for Bayern before Duisburg raced up the other end and should have taken the lead, only for Zlatko Janjic to inexplicably miss from six yards.

A quick start at both ends belied the rest of the half as Bayern set up camp in Duisburg’s half but found centre-backs Christopher Schorch and Thomas Meissner in stubborn mood.

The first period ended goalless and Bayern’s struggles continued immediately after the break, Duisburg calling Tom Starke into action through Scorch and Janjic.

But Bayern’s class finally told as Rafinha clipped a neat delivery in from the right flank and Lewandowski touched the ball away from Lenz before providing a low finish.

The hosts were determined to give a good account of themselves, though, and produced the game’s outstanding moment through Schnellhardt.

Drifting in from the right channel, the Germany Under-20 international touched the ball onto his left foot before curling a superb 25-yard effort out of Starke’s reach.

Michael Eberlein wasted a good opening soon after when racing through on goal, with the winger’s touch letting him down.

Lenz denied Lewandowski in the closing stages, diving at the Poland striker’s feet to preserve a creditable result for the 3. Liga side.

Bayern dismiss Cuadrado rumours

The winger has been linked with a host of top clubs on the back of an impressive World Cup, but he will not be joining the Bundesliga champions

Bayern Munich sporting director Mathias Sammer has described rumours linking the club with a move for Fiorentina star Juan Cuadrado as “nonsense”.

The winger was one of the stand-out performers at the World Cup in Brazil, as he helped Colombia to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Since then he has been linked with a host of big clubs, including Bayern and Barcelona, but Sammer has laughed off reports he is on their wish list. 

He told TV1: “The rumours about Cuadrado are absolute nonsense. If all speculation were true, we would have a 57-man squad.” 

Midfielder Toni Kroos departed the Allianz Arena last week to join Real Madrid in a €20 million deal but Sammer was non-committal over the prospect of bringing in a direct replacement.

He added: “We must consider if it’s good enough or if we will do anything further.” 

Bayern’s World Cup stars will have just three weeks to recover before beginning the defence of their Bundesliga crown against Wolfsburg on August 22.

CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has criticised rival clubs and accused them of trying to “hurt” his side for failing to grant a later start date for the division and Sammer admits he is concerned over the fitness of several players.

“I am afraid because the mental and physical burden could lead to injury concerns.”

Neymar: Messi was one of World Cup's top three players

A number of pundits did not feel that the Barcelona ace should have been voted the top player in Brazil this summer but the Selecao starlet has jumped to his club-mate’s defence

Neymar has attempted to defuse the controversy over Lionel Messi’s Golden Ball triumph in Brazil by arguing that the Argentina captain was “at least” among the top three players at the World Cup.

Messi led his country all the way to the final in Rio de Janeiro, where they were edged 1-0 after extra-time by Germany.

The 27-year-old was presented with the Golden Ball for the tournament’s best player after the match, much to the bemusement of many football fans and pundits, with Argentine icon Diego Maradona even claiming that it had been down to “some marketing plan”.

Neymar, though, believes that Messi, who failed to score in the knockout stages, did enough in Brazil to at least mark himself out as a legitimate contender for the accolade.

“I’m a huge Messi fan, as a player and as a person,” the Selecao starlet said of his Barcelona team-mate during an interview with Rede Globo‘s ‘Fantastico’. 

“I don’t know whether it was fair or not but, for me, he was one of the best players in World Cup.

“At least in the top three, anyway. I think [Germany midfielder Bastian] Schweinsteiger and [Netherlands attacker Arjen] Robben were also among the top three.”

Neymar, of course, saw his tournament ended by a fractured vertebra sustained in his country’s quarter-final win over Colombia and then had to sit on helpless as Brazil suffered a humiliating last-four hammering at the hands of Germany.

The inquest into the Selecao’s capitulation is ongoing but Neymar does not believe that Luiz Felipe Scolari, who has since resigned, should have been made the scapegoat for what he believes was a cultural failing.

“I’m a guy who don’t know much about tactics,” he confessed. “But we head a leader [Scolari] who was one of the best Brazilian coaches the Selecao have ever had.

“I also question myself about why we did not win the World Cup, but I can’t find an way to explain it.

“But who prepares better wins in football. Preparation is everything.

“I think the Brazilians are some of the best players in the world but every training session in Europe is taken seriously.

“In Brazil, it’s different. You train more, but some time you train with less determination. Brazilians are like that.

“Brazilian football is behind Germany and Spain football. We have to be men up to admit that.”

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