Huntelaar: Bayern-Real Madrid would be an exciting tie

The Dutch striker believes a meeting of the sides in the Champions League would be a tantalising prospect and says Arjen Robben and Co. fully deserve their Bundesliga title

EXCLUSIVE
By Guus Hetterscheid

Schalke striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar says he would relish the chance to see Bayern Munich face Real Madrid in this season’s Champions League.

Madrid take on Borussia Dortmund in their quarter-final tie after demolishing Schalke in the last 16, while Bayern will face Manchester United after seeing off Arsenal 3-1 on aggregate.

Huntelaar, who played for los Blancos in 2009 and scored a sublime volley in their 9-2 aggregate loss this season, believes a meeting of Pep Guardiola’s side and Carlo Ancelotti’s Liga giants would prove tantalising.

“It’s hard to say who’s better,” he told Goal. “But I think the midfield of Bayern is stronger then the one of Real.

“It would be exciting to see them battle in the Champions League. Real is very quick with counterattacks and Bayern always want to dominate the game. But they first have to deal with Dortmund and Man United.”

Bayern clinched the Bundesliga title in record time with their 3-1 win over Hertha Berlin on Tuesday and Huntelaar admits the Bavarians fully deserved their title – although he hinted at their transfer policy of signing players from their rivals as an important aspect of their success.

“Bayern deserved the championship, that’s clear. They have won so many games and with a lot of goals,” he said. “They play a very attacking style and their movement over the pitch is great. That makes them great. And also they have the possibilities to get the best players from other German clubs.

“No I won’t send a text message to Arjen [Robben]. I will congratulate him when we see each other at the [Netherlands] national team. I am not surprised that Bayern are champions. They are by far the best team this season in the Bundesliga.”
    
Huntelaar played in Schalke’s 0-0 derby draw with Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, but the 30-year-old admits that El Clasico remains the finest rivalry in the game.

“Every derby is special, especially the atmosphere on the stands,” added the former Ajax striker. “Every culture has its own way of showing passion. AC Milan-Inter was the most ‘explosive’ atmosphere, a real mediterranean temper.

“In Germany there is also a lot of emotion, just like in Spain, but over there there are always a lot of families in the stadium.

“But El Clasico is very special because of the atmosphere. I have watched that game on Sunday [Barcelona’s 4-3 win]. I was supporting Real, but I also just enjoyed the football. I watched as football fan. It was a great game.”

Guardiola: I didn't teach Xavi or Iniesta how to play

The Bayern Munich boss claims top-class players can play well irrespective of coaches and insists his success at his former and current clubs is down to collective efforts

Pep Guardiola has claimed he had little to do with turning Barcelona stars Xavi and Andres Iniesta into world-leading players.

The Spain midfield duo flourished under Guardiola’s stewardship at Camp Nou as the Blaugrana claimed 14 trophies from 2008 to 2011, including two Champions League titles.

Xavi and Iniesta were also at the heart of Spain’s incredible back-to-back European Championship successes, as well as their triumph at the 2010 World Cup, but Guardiola claims players of such calibre do not require coaches to get them to play at their best.

“Barcelona’s players motivate themselves,” the Bayern Munich boss was quoted as saying by Sport.

“I did not teach Xavi or Iniesta to play. Coaches are here to lend a hand, but they have been playing well for 20 years. Coaches do not make good players play well. They play well enough without me.

“I imbue a certain success, but it’s a personal matter. With me, they did not have the same success as they did with Tito Vilanova [when Barcelona reached 100 Liga points].”

Guardiola – whose Bayern side were crowned Bundesliga champions in record time following Tuesday’s win over Hertha Berlin – went on to underline that he left Camp Nou in 2012 as he felt the time was right to move on.

“Perhaps I didn’t explain it well,” he added. “[My reason for leaving Barca] was purely personal. I felt the time had come. They are all responsible for the success we had, as is the same at Bayern.”

Boateng: No let-up from treble-chasing Bayern

The Germany international knows his team must concentrate between now and the end of the campaign as they look to win the treble

Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng says the German champions will not ease off after winning the Bundesliga on Tuesday.

Pep Guardiola’s side wrapped up their 24th top-flight title with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Hertha Berlin at the Olympic Stadium. 

After what has been a dominant start to Guardiola’s tenure, Bayern became the first Bundesliga club to win the title in March, clinching the league with a record seven matches to spare. 

However, with Bayern in contention to defend their DFB-Pokal and Champions League titles, Boateng has urged his team-mates not to rest up in their hunt to gain further silverware.

“The pressure on the domestic front is definitely gone, but in spite of that we’ve got to maintain our concentration levels,” he told the Bundesliga’s official website.

“There are plenty of records for us still to break, which is why we’re still determined to win our last seven league games.

“We’ve got some tough opponents left to face in the Bundesliga, which will be good tests for us ahead of our Champions League matches. Aside from that we still want to lift the DFB Cup again.

“There’s still plenty of life left in us this season.”

Boateng calls for Bayern to remain focused after Bundesliga triumph

The Germany international knows his team must concentrate between now and the end of the campaign as they look to win the treble

Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng insists the German champions will not ease off after winning the Bundesliga on Tuesday.

Pep Guardiola’s side wrapped up their 24th top-flight title with a comfortable 3-1 victory over Hertha Berlin at the Olympic Stadium. 

After what has been a dominant start to Guardiola’s tenure, Bayern became the first Bundesliga club to win the title in March, clinching the league with a record seven matches to spare. 

However, with Bayern in contention to defend their DFB-Pokal and Champions League titles, Boateng has urged his team-mates not to rest up in their hunt to gain further silverware.

“The pressure on the domestic front is definitely gone, but in spite of that we’ve got to maintain our concentration levels,” he told the Bundesliga’s official website.

“There are plenty of records for us still to break, which is why we’re still determined to win our last seven league games.

“We’ve got some tough opponents left to face in the Bundesliga, which will be good tests for us ahead of our Champions League matches. Aside from that we still want to lift the DFB Cup again.

“There’s still plenty of life left in us this season.”

Low: Guardiola has taken Bayern to the next level

The Germany boss believes the Spaniard has imprinted his own style on the team’s play and is hopeful it will give his World Cup stars a confidence boost ahead of Brazil

Germany head coach Joachim Low has paid tribute to Pep Guardiola for leading Bayern Munich to their “unbelievable” Bundesliga triumph.

The Bavarians secured the title in record time following their 3-1 win over Hertha Berlin on Tuesday and Low believes Guardiola has taken the side to another level following his appointment as Jupp Heynckes’ replacement last summer.

“It’s an unbelievable achievement to wrap up the title at such an early stage. Congratulations to all those responsible at the club, to FC Bayern, and above all to coach Pep Guardiola,” he was quoted as saying by the club’s official website.

“He’s brought the team on even further than before, and you can see his influence in terms of dominance and possession. I’m naturally delighted for our national team players at Bayern. The title will give them a real boost.

“We have another major shared target this year. Bayern have every chance of repeating the triumph of last year.”

Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff added that Bayern’s achievement was an indication of the incredible amount of discipline and hard work at the club.

“Warm congratulations to everyone responsible at Bayern for this masterful achievement. FC Bayern is a leading brand with huge levels of awareness all over the world, and not only because of their footballing achievements,” said the former striker.

“I hope Bayern can continue their superb level of performance here and on the European stage. Success never comes automatically, it’s the result of disciplined hard work.”