Muller: Bayern Munich will respect Borussia Dortmund

Thomas Muller says Bayern Munich will respect Borussia Dortmund when they meet at the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

The fixture gives the Bavarians the chance to stretch their lead at the top of the table, but despite already being 11 points ahead of third placed BVB, the forward insists Jurgen Klopp’s side still pose a dangerous threat.

“Dortmund have been convincing this year in the Champions League, and this achievement should be respected,” he told reporters at a press conference.

“We are not under any pressure. It is time for us to win, that is what we are aiming for. We are very motivated as it is a clash between the top two teams. We may have won the Super Cup, but that is just the Super Cup, there is prestige at stake too.”

Muller’s team-mate Franck Ribery also revealed his determination to take all three points from the crunch clash, following a poor run of results against the reigning Bundesliga champions in recent times.

“This is an important game for us,” he explained.

“It is like the Champions League. We have lost the last five games. We played them twice in the league, played very well, but still lost 1-0. This time we need to play freely and without pressure.”

Bundesliga Team of the Week: Brilliant Beister included after Schalke demolition

The 14th week of the 2012-13 Bundesliga will go down as a brilliant one for Bayern Munich. With Schalke stunned by Hamburg and Dortmund held by Fortuna Dusseldorf on Tuesday, the Bavarians opened up a 10-point lead at the top of the table with a 2-0 triumph over Freiburg.

Their nearest challengers are now Bayer Leverkusen, who claimed a 4-1 victory over Werder Bremen at the BayArena. Elsewhere, there were excellent wins for Hannover, Mainz, Borussia Monchengladbach and Nurnberg. And is here to pick out the star performers across Germany.

In goal, Rene Adler makes his fifth appearance of the season, having enjoyed a renaissance of sorts since moving to Hamburg in the summer. The Germany international was once again in fine form as his side beat Schalke 3-1 on Tuesday.

Protecting his goal, we have Dante, a rock at the back for Bayern at the Mage Solar Stadion and Bo Svensson of Mainz, who helped keep Eintracht Frankfurt, this season’s surprise package, at bay. The back three is completed by Dennis Aogo, who won a vital penalty for HSV.

Hiroshi Kiyotake had struggled to recreate his form from the early part of the season in recent weeks, but put in a fine destructive display for Nurnberg against Hoffenheim. He is joined in midfield by Gonzalo Castro, scorer of two Leverkusen goals, Maximilian Beister, who found the target with a ferocious strike from distance, and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, who rose from the bench to seal Bayern’s win.

Up front, we have Shawn Parker, on song for Mainz at the Commerzbank Arena, Mame Biram Diouf, who helped Hannover overcome a poor run of form, and Stefan Reisinger, who netted a dramatic equaliser at Signal Iduna Park to help put another nail in the coffin of Borussia Dortmund’s title defence.

JD's Betting Blog: A huge weekend of European matches to look forward to

We had another profitable week on the football markets with four out of six selections landing. Some missed chances for Lazio against Tottenham Hotspur and a missed penalty from Levante against Barcelona denied us from landing a full house. It was a solid week overall and we are confident of the same this week.

The lack of goals across Europe

A lack of team goals in La Liga and the English Premier League made it one of the toughest weekends of the season so far. The champions of Spain, England and Italy all failed to score a goal between them last weekend.    

Ten of the 20 La Liga teams did not manage a goal and eight Premier League teams left their scoring boots behind.

Punters are more inclined to back goals in their betting strategy so when they dry up, it can have an adverse effect on your betting bank. Personally, I think last weekend was just an abnormality and I expect goals to return in the weeks ahead.

A weekend of huge games

Looking ahead to the weekend, there are some tasty matches in Spain and Germany.

In Spain, we have the Madrid derby between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Diego Simeone’s team will face the biggest examination of their title credentials to date in what has the potential to be a real thriller.

Bet365 have Real Madrid as strong favourites at 4/9 (1.44) with Atletico Madrid 11/1 (12.0) outsiders while the draw is a 7/2 (4.5) shot. It is the first time since 1999 that Real Madrid go into this fixture behind their neighbours in the table.  

Weekend tips

In the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich host Borussia Dortmund in perhaps the game of the weekend in Europe. The Bavarians have been in outstanding form domestically and are 3/4 (1.75) to win this match.  

I like the angle of Bayern Munich to score in both halves at 5/4 (2.25) in what is likely to be a high-scoring contest. In England, Reading’s clash with Manchester United is likely to produce a match with both teams scoring.

The Red Devils defence has been leaky all season and the home side are capable of finding the net – both teams to score looks to be a well priced 4/5 (1.80) shot .

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Muller: Freiburg win very important for Bayern

Thomas Muller has voiced his delight with Bayern Munich’s 2-0 Bundesliga win away against Freiburg on Wednesday evening.

The Germany international opened the scoring after only 12 minutes of play, with Anatoliy Tymoshchuk putting the match to bed in the second half after Freiburg had been reduced to 10 men, and Muller underlined the significance of Wednesday’s victory.

“Winning here today was enormously important,” Muller told the official Bayern Munich website.

“We’ve always made hard work of it here in recent years, and we’ve all seen exactly why Freiburg are so tricky. We set our sights high beforehand and we started very well.

“But strangely enough, just like the last couple of times it’s happened, when our opponents go a man down, we have more problems than when it’s 11 against 11.

“But we’re delighted about the three points.”

Bayern resume their campaign on Saturday when they host title holders Borussia Dortmund.

Lahm stresses importance of spending winter break on top

Bayern Munich full-back Philipp Lahm is of the opinion that becoming ‘winter champions’ is going to give the squad an important confidence boost as they aim to dethrone Borussia Dortmund.

The Bavarians defeated Freiburg 2-0 on Wednesday and are now 11 points clear of BVB and 10 ahead of second-placed Bayer Leverkusen.

The result ensured that Bayern will spend the winter break as Herbstmeister as they prepare for their assault on three fronts.

“Spending the winter break on top is actually very, very important,” the 29-year-old is quoted as saying on the club’s official website.

“We still have a couple of games and targets before the mid-season break: we want to extend our advantage in the Bundesliga, finish top of our Champions League group, and make the next round of the cup.”

Lahm was part of the defence that kept their 10th clean sheet from 14 Bundesliga matches, and coach Jupp Heynckes was quick to heap praise on the Bavarian club’s backline.

“As it was, Manuel Neuer had to make a magnificent save with the score still 1-0. For all that, we did well for long spells, and apart from a couple of chances at the end, we didn’t concede much defensively.”