Van Buyten: Bayern should not take Arsenal tie lightly

Daniel Van Buyten has warned his Bayern Munich team-mates not to underestimate Arsenal in their Champions League round of 16 tie.

The Bavarians are by many seen as the favourites to reach the quarter-finals at the expense of the Premier League side, but the veteran has stressed that the Gunners will be tough opponents.

“We are aware of the fact that we have now reached the stage where every opponent poses a stern test, regardless of what the so-called experts and statistics say,” Van Buyten told Bild.

“If we go into the tie thinking that it will be easy for us, it is going to be extremely tough.”

The Belgian defender then went on to say that he is keen to extend his expiring contract with Bayern as he intends to end his contract at his current club.

“I want to end my career at Bayern, but not at the end of this season. We all know how I am when it comes to negotiations. Things can go very quickly with me. We wouldn’t even need to negotiate.”

Van Buyten joined Bayern from Hamburg in the summer of 2006 and has since made over 100 Bundesliga appearances for the Bavarians.

Neuer: Bayern still have a long way to go

Manuel Neuer has stressed that Bayern Munich cannot afford to lose focus in the second half of the season as they have not won anything yet.

The Bavarians currently sit atop of the Bundesliga table, holding a nine-point lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund, and are still in the race for the Champions League and DFB-Pokal as well.

“The problem is we’re only halfway through the season. It means we have to stay very, very calm and always remember we still have a long way to go yet,” the goalkeeper told the official Bayern website.

“It can all change very quickly: you sometimes lose a match unluckily due to silly goals, like the home meeting with Leverkusen in the autumn, for example.”

The goalkeeper then went on to voice his satisfaction with his key role at the Allianz Arena, but realised that he cannot afford to sit back and relax.

“I’ve taken a big step forward this season and I’m accepting even more responsibility. However, I can’t rest on my laurels, I have to keep working on my game.”

Neuer has made 18 Bundesliga appearances this season, keeping 12 clean sheets in the process.

Stuttgart-Bayern Munich Preview: Bavarians look to clock up win number 15

Given the media circus that has surrounded Bayern Munich over the last two weeks, Jupp Heynckes and his band of men will probably let out a sigh of relief as they go on their travels on Sunday.

The Bavarians have been under the glare of the world’s press following the appointment of Pep Guardiola and despite beating Greuther Furth 2-0 last week, the performance was surprisingly workmanlike from the well-oiled machine that shone prior to the winter break.

That said, they still enjoy a nine-point lead over joint-second-placed Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund and will be confident of racking up a 15th league win of the season over a VfB side who reside in 10th spot.

Daniel Van Buyten is likely to get the nod ahead of Jerome Boateng at centre-back, while Javi Martinez will partner Bastian Schweinsteiger in midfield and Arjen Robben could return in place of Thomas Muller.

Stuttgart are without Cacau and Christoph Hemlein through injury, with new loan signing Federico Macheda likely to start from the bench.

  • VfB boss Bruno Labbadia played for Bayern between 1991 and 1994, winning the Bundesliga with the club in his final season in Bavaria.
  • Stuttgart lost the 1986 DFB-Pokal final to Bayern Munich 5-2.
  • Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm spent time on loan at Stuttgart during the early part of his career.
  • Additionally, Mario Gomez began his career at the Mercedes Benz Arena before moving to Bavaria.
  • Bayern Munich beat Stuttgart 6-1 at home earlier in the season, with Thomas Muller scoring twice in the victory.

Bayern Munich keeper Neuer wary of unpredictable Stuttgart

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has warned his side of the unpredictability of Stuttgart, who they face on Sunday in Germany’s Bundesliga.

The Bavarian giants have enjoyed an impressive season to date and have opened up a nine-point lead at the top of the table, however, the 26-year-old is not taking anything for granted when the two sides clash.

“VfB are totally unpredictable this season. Some of their performances have been very good, others less so,” he told the club’s official website.

“We have to take control of the match and mustn’t let ourselves be caught on the hop.”

The Germany international has been in fine form this season and is still to concede a goal in the Bundesliga in 2013, but he is not getting carried away.

“Yes, it’s definitely out of the ordinary,” he continued.

“The good thing is that when we keep a clean sheet, it usually means we go on to win, because our forwards are basically always good for a goal. Hopefully the run will continue for a while.

“The problem is we’re only halfway through the season. It means we have to stay very, very calm and always remember we still have a long way to go yet.

“It can all change very quickly: you sometimes lose a match unluckily due to silly goals, like the home meeting with Leverkusen in the autumn, for example.”

Klinsmann hails German football's progress

Jurgen Klinsmann believes that German football’s recent rise is the result of the good work put in by clubs over the last decade or so.

All three Bundesliga teams topped their groups in the Champions League this season, and the USA coach believes that it shows that the national game is progressing well.

“I think they did the right thing over the last 10, 15 years. They’re financially stable, the stadia are all top class because of World Cup 2006, and the stadia are constantly sold out,” he told reporters.

“It looks pretty much like Bayern Munich this year will go all the way. I don’t know how big the lead is at the moment but I think they’re going to follow that through.

“Borrussia Dortmund look extremely good in the Champions League. If they can keep that kind of performance going, then it will be exciting.”

The former Germany boss went on to voice his happiness at Pep Guardiola’s decision to snub Premier League interest in favour of Bayern, who he will join in the summer.

“It’s another big compliment for German soccer. One of the best coaches in the world decides: ‘Okay, I want to go to the Bundesliga’. It’s huge! For us, it’s a real pleasure to have that”

Bayern currently hold nine-point lead over nearest rivals Bayer Leverkusen.