Robben nearing Bayern Munich comeback

Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes has received some encouraging news on the injury front as Arjen Robben is nearing a comeback after spending the past two weeks on the sidelines due to physical problems.

The winger picked up a minor muscle injury in Netherlands’ international friendly against Germany earlier this month, and has been out of action ever since.

Robben missed the games against Nurnberg, Valencia and Hannover due to the knock, but the Bavarians are hopeful he will be match fit in time to face Borussia Dortmund next Saturday.

“We’re making steps forward day after day. My recovery is going well, and according to schedule,” Robben told TZ.

The 28-year-old resumed individual training at the weekend, and is expected to take part in squad training again on Monday for the first time since his injury.

A return against Freiburg on Wednesday seems out of the question, but the match against Dortmund is now a realistic goal.

Bundesliga Team of the Week: Lahm, Ribery, Martinez & Muller star for rampant Bayern Munich

With a total of 22 goals scored across nine games, Round 13 of the Bundesliga proved to be every bit as thrilling as previous weeks.

Bayern Munich marched on with a 5-0 thrashing of Hannover, and Borussia Dortmund followed up their 4-1 demolition of Ajax by coming from behind to beat Mainz 2-1.

Elsewhere there were great wins for Freiburg and Fortuna Dusseldorf, while high-flyers Schalke and Eintracht Frankfurt both took a share of the spoils, and Goal.com was there to pick out the star performers in every position.

In goal we have Fabian Giefer of Dusseldorf. The Austria international put in a fine showing between the sticks as the club finally claimed their first home win since making their return to the top flight this season.

In front of him, we have Philipp Lahm, who was typically composed at the back and going forward for Bayern, Pavel Krmas and the scorer of the all-important second goal for Freiburg in their derby win over Stuttgart. Bastian Oczipka, who helped contain Schalke’s all-star attack and set up an equaliser for Frankfurt, completes the back line.

Another Freiburg star included is Max Kruse, who was also on the scoresheet, while Javi Martinez‘s first Bayern goal, an acrobatic strike, sees him included for the first time. Lars Bender got Bayern Leverkusen off and running against Hoffenheim and finally we have Franck Ribery, who makes his seventh appearance in our dream team.

Thomas Muller completes the Bayern quartet after keeping up his excellent form this season, Bas Dost extended his scoring run for Wolfsburg, and Robbie Kruse found the net in Dusseldorf’s victory on Friday.






Gomez: Bayern Munich must win the Bundesliga

Mario Gomez has stressed that winning the Bundesliga title is an absolute must for Bayern Munich this term following their lack of success in the previous two campaigns.

The Bavarians have not won a major trophy since winning the domestic double in 2010, and Gomez has insisted that they have to keep up their current form in order to win silverware again this season.

“The important thing is that we continue our run through to Christmas and don’t let up,” Gomez told reporters in the wake of Bayern’s 5-0 win over Hannover.

“We’ve won nothing for two seasons, so we have to win the league. We’re on track, provided we keep it up.

“We were on track last year as well, only to veer off course. That mustn’t happen this season.”

Bayern currently sit atop of the Bundesliga table and hold a nine-point lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund.

Javi Martinez: My first Bayern goal feels special

Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez has revealed his happiness after opening his account for the club during the 5-0 win over Hannover on Saturday.

The Spain international has endured a difficult start to life at the Allianz Arena since his summer move from Athletic Bilbao, but notched the first as his side cruised to an easy win over Mirko Slomka’a side.

“It was my first goal in the Bundesliga for Bayern Munich, and it’s something special,” he told Bundesliga.com.

“I’m very happy because it helped the team. I’m taking the ball, it’s special for me, and I’m keeping it as a souvenir. I’ll look after it very carefully.

“Another win against a difficult team, and I’m very happy to have scored my first goal. The team started very well. We tried to keep the ball in their half and cause them problems right from the start.

“My goal helped us.”

Martinez went on to reveal that the over-head kick was the first that he had tried which had come off.

The Spain international added: “I’ve tried a few in the past, but that’s the first that’s gone in!”

Do Juventus now have the best midfield in Europe?

ANALYSIS
By Kris Voakes | Italian Football Writer

Few great football sides are constructed without a midfield of real quality, but Juventus’ fantastic recent form owes much to what is fast developing into one of the modern game’s most dominant units. And if there have ever been any doubts as to whether Antonio Conte’s centrepieces could convert their domestic qualities into Europe, then they were surely dispelled with the destruction of Chelsea in midweek.

That 3-0 Champions League Group E victory provided the perfect snapshot of just how effective the Bianconeri‘s midfield is, with Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Claudio Marchisio being flanked by the galloping wide pair of Stephan Lichtsteiner and Kwadwo Asamoah to help Juve force the European champions into submission from the off.

But if the Old Lady’s midfield is to be taken seriously as the very best the world has to offer, then who are their rivals for such a crown? With the help of Goal.com‘s panel of experts, we’ve narrowed the candidates down to six and looked into their differing qualities.


  Buffon



Barzagli Bonucci
Chiellini

Lichtsteiner Vidal Pirlo
Marchisio
Asamoah

Vucinic
Giovinco

The mechanics of the Bianconeri‘s midfield line are impressive to say the least. Considering the relative deficiencies of the defence and attack at times, Juve’s central trio do a lot of covering both with and without the ball. Vidal is arguably among the best midfielders in the world right now, with his high tackle percentage and driving runs laying the foundation for Pirlo’s wonderful passing game. Marchisio provides an excellent third prong with his well-timed forays into the area, and Lichtsteiner and Asamoah are equally adept at giving the front two great support while also giving great cover to the wider centre-backs when necessary.


  Valdes


Alves
Pique   Puyol
Alba
  Busquets Xavi
Iniesta

Pedro
  Messi

Villa

Ben Hayward, Spanish Football Writer:

Barcelona’s midfield is surely among the world’s finest. Xavi and Andres Iniesta are widely regarded as the two best playmarkers around, which has been reflected by their placings in recent Ballon d’Or votes, plus the success of Spain at international level. And for club and country they are joined by Sergio Busquets, described by some as the most complete player of his generation. It’s an embarrassment of riches, especially considering Cesc Fabregas is at Camp Nou, too. Under Pep Guardiola and now Tito Vilanova, the Catalans have dominated possession in well over 250 matches, thanks largely to their brilliant ball-playing midfielders – and nobody is likely to end that streak any time soon, either.


  Neuer


Lahm
Boateng
Badstuber
Alaba
  Martinez
Schweinsteiger

Muller
  Kroos

Ribery

  Gomez



Enis Koylu, German football expert:

Bayern are simply spoilt for choice in midfield. While Bastian Schweinsteiger remains an integral cog, they have the luxury of picking either €17 million Luiz Gustavo or €40m Javi Martinez to partner him, with both fitting in seamlessly. Meanwhile, in front of them, there is Toni Kroos, one of Germany’s finest passes since Matthias Sammer. If one of their first-choice players is injured, it matters little due to the sheer number of options they have. The fluid system between the deeper line of two and the attacking midfield trio works superbly whether Arjen Robben is fit or not, and the Dutchman would arguably struggle to retain a shirt even if he could stay fit for any lengthy period.


  Weidenfeller

Piszczek Subotic
Hummels
Schmelzer
  Bender
Gundogan

Kuba
  Gotze

Reus

  Lewandowski



Enis Koylu, German football expert:

The German champions, meanwhile, also possess a fierce midfield. They replaced Nuri Sahin, the key figure on the 2010-11 title win, with Ilkay Gundogan, a player of a similar ilk, who has fitted in seamlessly. Alongside him is Sven Bender, a tireless player who will be among the Bundesliga’s finest for years to come. Ahead of them is the best of the lot, though. Mario Gotze has shown time and time again that he is one of the finest young players in Europe, and having shaken off his injury problems, is hitting top form once again. He works along with Jakub ‘Kuba’ Blaszczykowski and Marco Reus to present Robert Lewandowski with great service.


  Casillas


Arbeloa
Pepe
Ramos
Marcelo
  Alonso
Khedira

Di Maria
  Ozil

Ronaldo

  Benzema
 

Ben Hayward, Spanish Football Writer:

Real Madrid’s midfield is divided into two lines. Sami Khedira and Xabi Alonso sit in front of the back four, with the German charged with breaking up play and the Basque in the role of deep-lying playmaker, pinging passes across the pitch for the three more attacking players ahead of him. In Jose Mourinho’s first-choice side, Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria are usually chosen along with Cristiano Ronaldo and, in full flow, Madrid’s midfield is a devastating machine on the counter-attack, providing chances for the Portuguese and the central striker, either Gonzalo Higuain or, currently, the in-form Karim Benzema.


  Pyatov


Srna
Kucher
Rakitskiy
Rat
  Hubschman
Fernandinho

Teixeira
  Mkhitaryan

Willian

  Adriano



Marcus Haydon, Ukrainian football expert:

Much of Mircea Lucescu’s success at Shakhtar can be derived from his ability to ally together the two halves of his team. With a largely European defence and South American attack, their midfield is crucial to giving the team balance between stability and openness. In the past few seasons Lucescu has been steadfastly loyal to the 4-2-3-1 system, which invariably pairs the ball-winning Tomas Hubschman – a converted centre-back – with the calm distribution of the Brazilian Fernandinho at the back of the midfield. The pace of inverted wingers Willian, Alex Teixeira and Douglas Costa can cause havoc and also creates space for the full backs to overlap. In the centre, the Armenian Henrikh Mkhitaryan is an adroit presence who knits the side’s attacking play together with the same efficacy of his predecessor Jadson.

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