Dante: Bayern the best thing that could happen to me

The Brazil international remains delighted with his decision to move to the Allianz Arena over a year ago, while praising the intelligence of coach Pep Guardiola

Dante says his decision to join Bayern Munich was the best choice he has ever made and added that the Bavarians’ recent successes have not come as a surprise.

The 30-year-old joined Bayern from Standard Liege in the summer of 2012 and was a pivotal part of their treble-winning success last season.

“Joining Bayern Munich was the best thing that could happen to me,” Dante was quoted as saying by Kicker.

“When I joined this club, I already knew that we would win silverware with this team. 

“This Bayern have a lot of character and a good attitude. One of our biggest strengths is that we always stay motivated.”

The Brazil international then went on to have his say on coach Pep Guardiola – who replaced Jupp Heynckes over the summer – and hailed the intelligence of the Bayern boss.

“Guardiola is tactically very strong, but psychologically as well. He knows exactly what’s going on within the team. He always knows what to say to spur the team on.

“He is a very intelligent guy. That’s also one of the reasons why we are again consistently performing at a high level.”

Lahm resumes individual training

The Germany international is on his way back after missing Saturday’s game against Braunschweig due to injury

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has received some encouraging news on the injury front after Philipp Lahm resumed individual training following a brief spell on the sidelines.

The Bayern skipper picked up a hamstring injury in last week’s Champions League win over CSKA Moscow and consequently missed this weekend’s 2-0 victory over Eintracht Braunschweig.

Lahm has now returned to the training pitch, though, and is expected to make his comeback shortly. The right-back, who has regularly featured in midfield this season, is unlikely to take part in Wednesday’s Bundesliga game versus Augsburg, but could return to the match squad against Werder Bremen on Saturday.

The 30-year-old has been a key figure for Bayern in the opening months of the 2013-14 campaign, making 21 appearances in all competitions so far.

Bayern currently sit atop of the Bundesliga table with 38 points from 14 games, holding a four-point lead over Bayer Leverkusen.

Watzke: Dortmund right to stop Bayern signing Lewandowski

The BVB chief says a glance at the top goalscorers chart proves they were right not to sell the Pole and admitted die Roten are the best in the world

Borussia Dortmund chief Hans-Joachim Watzke has said his side were right to deny Robert Lewandowski the chance to join Bayern Munich in the summer.

The forward has been racking up the goals again this season and is currently the league’s top goal scorer having netted 11 times for the Schwarzgelben this season, including a double in BVB’s 3-1 win over Mainz on Saturday.

The Polish striker was constantly linked with a move to Bayern throughout the transfer window an,d even though he is expected to leave Signal Iduna Park in 2014 for the Allianz Arena, Watzke believes Dortmund made the correct decision.

“If you look in the newspaper you can see who the top scorer in Germany is,” the club CEO told ZDF.

“Maybe it was the right decision not to let him leave.”

Lewandowksi’s double against Mainz helped Jurgen Klopp’s side back to winning ways after the side suffered back-to-back Bundesliga defeats to Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich.

BVB still sit seven points behind the Bavarians in the league and Watzke admitted that his team are some way off their more illustrious rivals in terms of infrastructure and development.

“Bayern are the best team in the world right now, as a sportsman one must acknowledge this fact,” he accepted.

“They’ve done a good job for 50 years now, they are 30 years ahead of us and we have to live with that.

“I am glad for them. I’d prefer a German team to be the best rather than a Spanish one.”

Do Ronaldo, Ribery and Messi want the Ballon d'Or more than team glory?

As the game’s top trio battle it out for Fifa’s illustrious individual prize, Arsene Wenger has highlighted the potential damage posed to football’s team ethic

If cliches were gospel in football then players would have you believe that individual prizes matter little in the quest for collective success.

That viewpoint is one certainly endorsed by Arsene Wenger, with the Arsenal boss hitting out at football’s obsession with personal success in a sport defined by the efforts of the team.

Such is the hype and scale of debate surrounding the race to win the 2013 Ballon d’Or ahead of its award in January, it is reasonable to question whether the kudos of winning individual prizes is now the greatest lure for the game’s most high-profile stars.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribery and Lionel Messi are the three favourites to be crowned the world’s best player, with the latter of that trio the current holder and record four-time winner of the trophy.

In recent years, Ronaldo and Messi have engaged in a two-horse race, but it is the emergence of Ribery as a leading contender – on the back of Bayern Munich’s remarkable treble-winning feat last season – that has sparked mass public interest on a scale never seen before.

International coaches, captains and selected members of the media make the casting votes and it the revelations of several of those figures has resulted in a number of nominees publically pitching their respective cases in a manner akin to a presidential election.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s claim that he doesn’t need to win the Ballon d’Or to know that he is the game’s greatest player was prompted by a wave of support for Ronaldo following his incredible run of form at the start of this season.

The Portuguese forward has never been shy in his desire for individual glory and he was quick to acknowledge the backing of Real Madrid fans after they unfurled a banner supporting his case in Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Galatasaray.

Financial rewards have also played their part in the award’s growing profile. Reports have claimed Santos will receive €2 million if Neymar achieves a top-three finish in the Ballon d’Or over the next five years, as part of the deal that took him to Barcelona over the summer.

With the season approaching the midway point for most of Europe, it is the efforts of individuals that are taking centre stage when arguably the focus ought to be on the team battles in the Champions League and domestic title race. Perhaps Wenger has a point…

Neuer: Bayern are not a machine

The Bavarians weren’t at their fluent best on Saturday but still came away with all three points, with the Germany international happy with their ability to grind out results

Manuel Neuer says Bayern Munich are only human and not a machine after their 2-0 win over Eintracht Braunschweig in the Bundesliga.

The victory was the Bavarians’ 18th on the bounce, with two goals from Arjen Robben the difference between the two sides at the Allianz Arena, but the 27-year-old was keen to temper expectations.

“We are human beings and not machines,” Neuer told reporters after the game.

The visitors had several opportunities of their own to get back in the game but failed to capitalise on their openings and Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos was happy to have taken all three points without hitting top gear.

He added: “Sometimes it is okay if you play a game and just win – you cannot play brilliantly every week.”

Robben’s two goals take his tally for the season to six strikes in 12 Bundesliga appearances and coach Bayern coach Pep Guardiola admitted he is relieved the winger is free of injury and able to contribute.

The Spaniard said: “I knock on wood – he is not injured at the moment and he is fit and very important for our game. He makes a lot of important goals for us.”

The win sees Bayern remain four points clear of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen at the top of the Bundesliga and seven clear of arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund, who sit in third.