Slomka reiterates Hannover commitment amid Bayern rumours

Hannover manager Mirko Slomka has assured fans he is fully focused on guiding the club to trophies, amidst reports suggesting the German is in line to replace Jupp Heynckes in the Bayern Munich dugout.

Since the 45-year-old took over the reins at the AWD Arena, they have established themselves as one of the top sides in the Bundesliga, securing European qualification for the last two season.

With rumours that Heynckes is set to call time on his career at the end of the season rife, Slomka has been touted as a potential successor to the 67-year-old, but is concentrating on matters at his own club.

“Let’s be clear: there is no offer from another club. But the speculation is understandable, since both mine and Heynckes’ contracts are running out,” the 45-year old told Bild.

“We are in good discussions [over a contract renewal].”

The former Schalke coach went on to comment on his ambitions with Hannover, conceding he retains hopes of lifting the title despite the dominance of giants Bayern and Dortmund is recent years.

“I want to achieve the highest as a coach. I want to win the title, it’s my drive,” Slomka revealed.

“It feels like fourth place is something we’ve already done. I want to hold up the title from the balcony of City Hall.”

Hannover resume Bundesliga action when they travel to Eintracht Frankfurt on October 20.

Arjen Robben unsure of return date

Bayern Munich forward Arjen Robben has conceded he does not know how long his injury will keep him sidelined after failing to participate in a series of drills on Thursday.

The Dutchman’s thigh knock has led Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal to drop the Bedum native from his latest squad, with the winger instead remaining in Germany to continue his rehabilitation.

The former Chelsea man was absent from training on Thursday however, prompting rumours that his injury could be more severe than initially thought.

“This is not, unfortunately, the way it should be,” Robben told Bild.

“But it is difficult to tell when [I will have recovered]. We are trying everything. But it’s definitely nothing too bad,” the 28-year old concluded.

With Bundesliga action resuming next week, Robben is unlikely to be fit enough for the Bavarians’ upcoming trip to Fortuna Dusseldorf on October 20.

Bayern Munich Fanview: 'No excuses now – they must become the best team in Europe'

The high points have been the games against Schalke and Wolfsburg in late September. Those were comprehensive displays of football, with creativity in passing, possession and the ability to change positions as needed. In addition, the boys pressured their opponents high up the pitch, which created turnovers and prevented the kind of stupid goals that Bayern have been known to concede.
The bottom of the pit obviously was the 3-1 reverse at the hands of BATE Borisov in the Champions League. Die Bayern reverted to that nervous side plagued by static attacking movement in the days of Louis van Gaal.

Nervous defensive play on counterattacks only made things worse, turning what could have been a disappointing draw into a deserved disaster.

His coaching has improved a lot so far. He has finally learned to rotate the players in order to rest them and prevent injury, as he did for Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

He also outfoxed opponents with his substitutions, notably by bringing on striker Claudio Pizarro and midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri to unlock tight defenses. While you would be right in saying that he has more weapons at his disposal now, for something to work, you still have to try it.

You could make a case for Bastian Schweinsteiger with his resurgence in central midfield. However, I’ll pick Xherdan Shaqiri because his raw strength has helped Bayern score new types of goals.

The one he set up for Mario Mandzukic against Wolfsburg on September 25, by overpowering a defender on the left wing to cross for a header, is a fine example. Bayern didn’t have that last season and it makes a difference.

I like Holger Badstuber, but he has had a bad spell as a makeshift left-back. When he started out there, he was missing for a goal he should have prevented.

On several occasions he has been caught out of position. He often asks for the ball offensively but does little with it, and his back-passes have often stalled any attacks. He has been out of sorts and David Alaba’s imminent return in defence is important.

After the shocking loss in the Champions League final and two years without a Bundesliga title, the pressure is on. The fans want both pieces of silverware. The appointment of the uncompromising Matthias Sammer as sporting director and the addition of gritty talent during the transfer window were aimed at plugging holes and adding attitude.

There are no excuses now – Bayern must become the top team in Europe. Anything less will taste sour.

We have seen improvements in depth, coaching and attacking tactics but I am not entirely convinced yet. The robustness of our defence remains a question mark. We still concede goals that competent defending would normally prevent. Then, the biggest ghost to chase away remains fear.

Bayern need to be completely determined in order to meet expectations and we need to see it in the big games.

Demichelis: Bayern have been better than Madrid

Malaga defender Martin Demichelis feels that Bayern Munich have been in more impressive form than Real Madrid in the opening weeks of the 2012-13 campaign, and believes they are on par with Barcelona as Europe’s best at the moment.

The German giants have won all their opening seven Bundesliga games, and the 31-year-old Argentine has nothing but praise for his former team.

“Bayern have been better than Real Madrid so far in my opinion. Especially when it comes to their philosophy and playing attractive football,” he told Bild.

“Madrid have a great team that can beat any opponent by four or five goals, but Bayern’s philosophy is the better one in my opinion.

“Bayern and Barcelona play the best football in Europe for me. Their Bundesliga start has been sensational. And they will make it through the group stages of the Champions League as well. No problem.”

Demichelis wore the Bayern jersey from 2003 until 2010, before leaving the club for Malaga.

Premier League & European Fanviews: Supporters from Arsenal, Real Madrid, AC Milan & more reflect on the season so far

With another international break upon us, now is the ideal time to assess how the ground lies for clubs across Europe’s top domestic leagues.

Chelsea currently lead Manchester City and United in what is already promising to be another scintillating Premier League season, while Barcelona have opened up an eight-point gap on rivals Real Madrid after just seven games of the new Liga campaign.

Bayern Munich are well on course to end Borussia Dortmund’s recent Bundesliga dominance, and in Serie A Juventus have maintained their unbeaten run from last season, and are currently well ahead of both Milan giants in the table. has sought the opinions of fans from 12 of Europe’s biggest sides, to see how the new campaign has been viewed from terraces across the continent…