Thiago sends heartfelt message to injured brother Rafinha

Following Barcelona midfielder Rafinha’s serious knee injury, his brother Thiago, who plays for the Bundesliga champions, has sent him a profound message of support

Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara has sent a heartfelt message of support to brother Rafinha following the Barcelona man’s injury.

Rafinha was taken off on a stretcher in the second half of the 1-1 Champions League draw with Roma on Wednesday with what was later confirmed as a ligament tear in his right knee and is expected to be sidelined for the remainder of the campaign.

The 22-year-old received a number of encouraging messages following surgery this week, including team-mate Lionel Messi, and Thiago, who suffered a similar injury last year, has posted his own tribute via his official Instagram page.

“Now I finally understand when mum said ‘I wish it was my knee and not yours’. Because that’s what I’m feeling right now when I think of you and I’m sure mom will be feeling the same thing,” he wrote.

“People have always told us that we’d have to fight for our dreams, to put in the effort and persevere. But they never said the walls on the road would be this tall and slippery.

“But I still want to climb one more wall with you, see how tall it is, and go through it together. This dream you were living was nothing but a dream, because what awaits you is bigger than you’ve ever imagined. I LOVE YOU”

Guardiola: I love Gotze

The Germany international has started just one Bundesliga game thus far this season but scored in the 3-0 victory over Olympiacos in the Champions League on Wednesday

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has lavished praise on Mario Gotze and admits he understands the midfielder’s frustration with his playing time.

Gotze has only started one Bundesliga match so far this season but scored Bayern’s second goal in the 3-0 win over Olympiacos on Wednesday after being named in the starting XI for their opening Champions League Group F fixture.

Guardiola insists he has no doubt over the World Cup-winning midfielder’s ability or attitude but says it is hard to find a place in his regular line-up given the form of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller, who scored twice against the Greek champions.

“I love Mario Gotze, he’s a top player. He has massive quality and a good attitude,” Guardiola said.

“But I have Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller. I can understand that he is disappointed, but I’m here to help him.”

Gotze himself believes Bayern can be hugely satisfied with their victory, even though they led by a solitary goal until the 89th minute.

“Three points against a good opponent, so we can be really happy,” said Gotze. “Muller obviously scored an outstanding goal.”

Bayern return to Bundesliga action against Darmstadt on Saturday.

Greek police used 'disproportionate' force on fans – Bayern

A spokesman for the Bavarians has criticised the excessive use of batons on their visiting fans in the build-up to their 3-0 win over Olympiacos

Greek police have been accused of using “disproportionate” force after footage emerged of them attacking Bayern Munich fans ahead of the club’s 3-0 triumph over Olympiacos on Wednesday.

Police were stationed alongside the Bavarians supporters for the Champions League group stage opener in an attempt to protect them from any hostilities from the home crowd.

However, television footage emerged an hour before kick-off which clearly showed officers clubbing Bayern supporters with batons at the Stadio Georgios Karaiskaki.

Clash between Bayern fans and Greek police in the stadium

— Bayern & Germany (@iMiaSanMia) September 16, 2015

“There was unnecessary loutish behaviour from our fans and disproportionate use of the baton by police,” a Bayern spokesman told Bild, with at least one fan reported to be seriously injured.

Bayern ultras were telling German media outlets in the aftermath that they would be leaving the stadium in protest, but most unharmed fans returned to the stands to watch the match.

Böse Szenen im Gästeblock des #FCB! Ein Fan wurde durch eine Prügelei schwer verletzt! #OLYFCB

— SPORT1 (@SPORT1) September 16, 2015

Political tensions are high between Greece and Germany due to financial restrictions imposed on the former by the latter for right to remain in the European Union. Bayern fans and German media received separate police escorts in their transport to the ground due to safety concerns.

Germany’s ambassador in Athens, Peter Schoof, was surprised by the actions of the police as he claims there was no violence in the build-up to the first Bayern visit to Greece since 1983.

“These are not pretty pictures, especially as during the day there were no incidents in the city,” he said. “Perhaps the police are accustomed to intervene due to the heated derbies here.

“I regret to see these images and one has to wonder if perhaps the police overreacted somewhat?”

Once the violence had subsided, two goals from Thomas Muller and an effort from Mario Gotze – all of which were scored in the second half – were enough for Pep Guardiola’s men to kick off their European campaign with a three-goal victory over Olympiacos.

Guardiola: Bayern were always in charge

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola believes the Bundesliga champions fully deserved their win over Olympiacos.

Pep Guardiola feels Bayern Munich were always in charge during their 3-0 Champions League win over Olympiacos on Wednesday.

The Piraeus side looked dangerous in the opening 45 minutes, but goals from Thomas Muller (two) and Mario Gotze eventually helped Bayern to a comfortable win.

Guardiola admitted that it was not an easy match for the Bundesliga champions, yet nonetheless feels they were never in danger of losing.

“The first match in the group stage is never easy, but we have controlled the game throughout,” Guardiola said at a press conference.

“Olympiacos had not lost in six home games in European competition and the opponents weren’t easy to beat.

“I have to give credits to my team. However, it was just the first step.”

Bayern’s opening goal was a somewhat fortunate cross from Muller that beat Roberto and the Germany international conceded after the match that he did not mean to shoot.

“I wanted to cross the ball to Robert Lewandowski and didn’t mean to shoot on goal,” he said. 

“However, when the ball was in the air, you could see that it might become dangerous.”

Lahm hails Bayern Munich's defensive performance

The Bayern captain praised the side’s wariness of the opposition counter-attack and said the Bavarians enjoyed the atmosphere in Greece

Philipp Lahm has voiced his satisfaction with Bayern Munich’s defensive display in Wednesday’s 3-0 Champions League victory over Olympiacos in Piraeus.

The Bundesliga champions kept a clean sheet for the third time in all competitions this campaign and Lahm was pleased to see his team-mates never lost focus in defence.

“We were organised very well defensively,” Lahm was quoted as saying on the official Bayern website.

“We hardly gave our opponents any chances on the counterattack. That is very important against such a team.

“Even when you are in possession, you still have to think about your defensive duties as well. We did that very well on Wednesday.”

Lahm was equally pleased with the partisan atmosphere in Piraeus and was quick to admit that Bayern’s players had enjoyed the atmosphere.

“The atmosphere was amazing. It is great to play football under such circumstances. I believe it was clear to see that the team was enjoying it,” he added.