Schweinsteiger is a phenomenon – Sammer

The midfielder has been a critical part of the Bayern Munich team which won the last two Bundesliga titles and the sporting director is constantly impressed by him

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has labelled Bastian Schweinsteiger a phenomenon.

The midfielder has been a key part of the Bayern team which won the Bundesliga in each of the last two years and has won seven league titles overall in the 12 years he has been in the Bavarian giants’ first-team. The 30-year-old has also been a pivotal part of a side which has won two Champions League titles, while he won the World Cup with Germany in the summer.

And Sammer believes he is one of the best in the world and admits he is constantly impressed by the Bayern star who missed the first 11 weeks of the current campaign due to injury.

“For me, Bastian is a phenomenon,” he told the club’s official website. “He worked hard for it to be back on the court, which has really impressed me.

“He is robust, powerful and has very impressive willpower.”

The former Inter and Borussia Dortmund player was also asked for his opinion on the constant criticism Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben face because of their alleged selfishness.

“That is absolute nonsense when you see how much of a team player both of them are. They are both world-class players who have preserved their individuality and genius, yet they have integrated them into the team.”

Bayern Munich missing a Ronaldo – Metzelder

The Bundesliga titleholders are regarded as one of the finest sides on the planet, but the former Germany international believes they lack a true superstar

Real Madrid are favourites to win the Champions League in 2015 because Bayern Munich don’t have a player to match Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Christoph Metzelder.

The two sides are considered by many to be the outstanding candidates to win the European Cup this season, but the former Germany centre-back believes that his old side have one distinct advantage over the Bavarians.

“Bayern just don’t have a player like Ronaldo,” Metzelder told Kicker, adding that one man in particular who would relish a clash between the two outfits is the Germans’ former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

“If the two teams play against each other again this season, Guardiola will see it is a personal challenge.”

Madrid saw off Bayern in the semi-final of last season’s competition with a 5-0 aggregate victory, while FCB had beaten Madrid on penalties in the last four in 2011-12 before going on to win the 2013 crown.

And the two sides are expected to be among the front-runners for the title this season, with Bayern facing Shakhtar Donetsk in the last 16 and Real Madrid meeting Schalke.

Metzelder left Madrid for Schalke in 2010 before exiting the professional game three years later. And the 34-year-old insists that a clash with Bayern would present the Blancos with what he calls a “Clash of the Titans” but insists he would be backing a Madrid win.

“They are a bit spectacular at the moment,” he added of Carlo Ancelotti’s side, who recently added the Club World Cup to their list of titles in 2014.

Dante: Brazil's 7-1 defeat will never happen again

As he reviewed 2014, the centre-back insisted the World Cup semi-final humiliation against Germany was a one-off and targeted a return to the Selecao squad

Germany’s 7-1 win over Brazil at the World Cup will never happen again, according to defender Dante.

The Selecao were demolished on home turf by Joachim Low’s men at the semi-final stage of the competition as Die Mannschaft went on to win the tournament.

Dante, one of the Brazil players who started the game, insists that his side will never suffer such an incredible capitulation again.

“That will happen once and never again,” he told Rede Bahia. 

“Everything went wrong for us, everything went right for Germany. What happened in that game was down to our complete lack of control and it can’t happen again.”

The centre-back has not featured for Brazil since the World Cup, with new coach Dunga preferring Miranda and David Luiz at the heart of the backline.

Dante continued: “I’ve accomplished a lot with the Selecao. Of course if I were to be called up again I would be happy, but I’m realistic and I have my feet on the ground. 

“I see the Brazil team today is undergoing a big overhaul with new players, so they have to try things.”

Dante looked back on 2014 with pride, having won the Bundesliga in record time with Bayern Munich as well as the DFB-Pokal. 

“It was a very good year, I won everything again with Bayern, except the Champions League,” he said.

“It was a year in which I realised some dreams and the year I was called to the World Cup.” 

Juventus to launch €19m Shaqiri bid

EXCLUSIVE: The winger could be set for a move to Turin as Massimiliano Allegri looks to reinforce his attacking options

By Romeo Agresti

Juventus are ready to launch a €19 million bid for for out of favour Bayern Munich winger Xherdan Shaqiri, Goal understands.

The Switzerland star, 23, has failed to usurp Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben as one of the first choice wide men at the Allianz Arena and is keen to play regular football elsewhere.

The Bianconeri have made no secret of their desire to bolster their attacking options, with director general Beppe Marotta revealing their interest in adding a forward to their ranks on Saturday.

And Shaqiri appears to be top of their hit-list, with an initial loan move on the cards, which would see Bayern paid €4 million in January, before a further €15m payment upon the completion of a permanent deal in June.

Inter have also pondered a move for the player, as did Roma, but the Giallorossi opted against making a bid as a result of their €22m summer investment in Juan Iturbe.

Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri sees the player as a potentially key cog in his side given his ability to function in both a 4-2-3-1 and 4-1-3-2 formation, which he has favoured since replacing Antonio Conte in July.

Shaqiri’s representatives were keen to negotiate the player’s exit in the summer but a move failed to materialise with several clubs baulking at his valuation and Bayern boss Pep Guardiola happy to keep him. 

However, his time in Germany now appears to be drawing to a close, with the former FC Basel star keen to make the move and a big admirer of Serie A.

His current deal with the Bundesliga champions expires in June 2016.

Ronaldo will win Ballon d'Or, but it should be Neuer – Reina

The Real Madrid star is the favourite to win the award but the Bayern Munich goalkeeper feels his team-mate and the Germany No.1 deserves it more

Pepe Reina has admitted he believes Cristiano Ronaldo will win the Ballon d’Or, but would rather see his Bayern Munich team-mate Manuel Neuer take home the trophy.

The Real Madrid star is the heavy favourite to win the award for the second time in a row, third overall, when the winner is announced in January, but it is expected to be a close call between the Champions League winner, Barcelona counterpart Lionel Messi and World Cup and Bundesliga champion Neuer.

“I think it will be Cristiano Ronaldo who takes it,” Neuer told Spanish radio station COPE. “But what I want and desire is for Neuer to win.

“It’s difficult for a goalkeeper, especially against Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, he can win on merit and with what he has done for the club, it would be nice if he would take it.”

The Spanish goalkeeper also talked about Madrid shot stopper Iker Casillas, praising the star’s mentality.

“Casillas has an excellent head. Performing at the level he has for so many years speaks for itself about Casillas’ mentally.

“He is prepared to take criticism and he has, I said he was ready for the flak and he has shown that.”