Dortmund know how to treat Gotze – Ballack

The Germany international completed a return to his former club earlier this summer, having previously left to join Bayern Munich, and the ex-Chelsea star feels the move is wise

Former Germany international Michael Ballack believes Borussia Dortmund are better placed to handle Mario Gotze than Bayern Munich.

Gotze won two Bundesliga titles and the DFB-Pokal during four years at Dortmund, before departing for fierce rivals Bayern in 2013.

Despite lifting three more league titles and two Pokals during his stay at Allianz Arena, Gotze struggled for regular playing time under Pep Guardiola and his return to Dortmund was confirmed earlier in the transfer window.

And Ballack, who spent four years at Bayern between 2002 and 2006, winning three successive Bundesligas, feels Dortmund are more likely to make the most of Gotze’s considerable talent.

“I can’t judge that move, just like most of us can’t. He grew up in Dortmund and he is for sure one of the most gifted players we have at the moment,” Ballack told Omnisport.

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“There a few players like him who know what to do in every situation, just like he does. If he is able to perform on his highest level there are few others who are able to always make the right move like he does. But he has to feel good and he has to bring it.

“That he was not able to do so in the recent past, neither at Bayern nor the national team, is probably for many different reasons.

“Maybe it was trust, there were a lot of speculations, but I think Dortmund knows best how to treat him. Three years have passed, he has developed, his personality changed.

“But I think Dortmund knows how to handle the situation. If it is the best option for him to already return to Dortmund, I don’t know. But he made the step and we have to accept that.

“It is a top club, and he has to give us all the remaining answers on the pitch.”

Ancelotti wowed by fit-again Martinez

The former Athletic star started just 11 times in the last Bundesliga campaign due to knee problems, but his new coach is delighted with what he has seen so far

Carlo Ancelotti has been impressed by the form of fit-again Bayern Munich star Javi Martinez as the new Bundesliga season approaches.

The versatile Spain international, able to play in defence and midfield, has seen his career in Germany continually interrupted by injury since moving to Bavaria from Athletic Bilbao in 2012.

The 27-year-old started just 11 league games last season due to knee trouble, having ruptured his cruciate ligament in a separate incident in 2014.

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Martinez, though, has started both the Super Cup win over Borussia Dortmund and a DFB-Pokal triumph at Carl Zeiss Jena, drawing high praise from his new head coach. 

“To be honest, I’ve been very surprised by Martinez,” Ancelotti was quoted as saying by ESPN.

“He was the best player on the pitch against Dortmund and against Jena he reached the same level.”

Martinez could partner Mats Hummels at centre-back when Bayern begin the defence of their Bundesliga title at home to Werder Bremen on Friday.

Rummenigge expects Ribery to be targeted

The fit-again French star is likely to receive tough treatment from opposing defenders, according to the Bavarians’ CEO, as he regains his best form after injury troubles

Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has warned Franck Ribery to keep his cool when he is targeted by opponents, as the experienced forward attempts to return to his best form under Carlo Ancelotti.

The former France international started only 15 Bundesliga games in the last two seasons, as a succession of injuries, including a serious ankle problem, prevented him from shining during Pep Guardiola’s tenure.

The 33-year-old started both the Super Cup victory over Borussia Dortmund and a DFB-Pokal win at Carl-Zeiss Jena on Friday, supplying an assist for Robert Lewandowski’s hat-trick goal in a 5-0 first-round triumph.

Those performances have led to optimistic predictions that Ribery’s fitness woes are behind him, but Rummenigge expects him to come in for plenty of rough treatment in 2016-17.

GOALREAD MORE  | Shaqiri: Pep is a poor communicator

“Franck is a dear and likeable guy,” he was quoted as saying by TZ

“In Jena he took it seriously and played properly, very well and very fair. Very tricky and fast – such players are often [tackled] hard and unfairly.

“It is important that he isn’t provoked. I recommend he keeps his cool.” 

Bayern begin the defence of their Bundesliga crown at home to Werder Bremen on Friday.

Shaqiri: Guardiola won't tell you why you've been benched!

The Stoke City star has expressed his sympathy for out-of-favour Joe Hart, saying he is the latest victim of the Catalan manager’s unwillingness to explain his selection policy

Stoke City winger Xherdan Shaqiri has criticised Pep Guardiola’s communication with his players, saying he will not explain why somebody has been dropped from the first team.

Manchester City boss Guardiola has come in for criticism for his treatment of Joe Hart, having said he will allow the goalkeeper to leave after he was benched for the opening two competitive games of the season.

Shaqiri played under Guardiola at Bayern Munich but was limited to few first-team opportunities before joining Inter in January 2015.

And ahead of coming up against his old boss when Stoke face the Citizens in the Premier League on Saturday, the Switzerland international admits it can be tough to work under Guardiola given his reluctance to explain his selection policy.

“He is a very good coach in terms of what happens on the pitch but his communication was not so good with me,” Shaqiri told the Daily Mail.

“Guardiola doesn’t talk too much about this [leaving players out]. He doesn’t say to the players why.

“Of course sometimes that’s difficult for a player, especially when you are working well and training well. And especially when he speaks around the media and says ‘He is good, he is good. He is the best player’.

“I see Hart on the bench. I don’t know the real problem but in every club there will be new problems. New coaches and new staff want to work with new players. Maybe they don’t like this player. This is what happens at all clubs. Look at Manchester United with [Bastian] Schweinsteiger.”

GOALREAD MORE  | Why Shaqiri failed to shine under Pep

Shaqiri would nonetheless like to see Guardiola enjoy success with City but feels he faces a real battle to win the Premier League title.

“In the end we won the title [at Bayern] and I hope he can do it here with Man City, but it’s a different league and a different team and this will be the hardest year ever in his career,” he said. “You saw against Sunderland how difficult it will be for him.

“This league is more crazy than ever. The best players and the best coaches are all here now. It’s amazing. This is a very tough league and we will see what happens for him.”

Shaqiri was a standout performer when Stoke beat City 2-0 last season, setting up both goals for team-mate Marko Arnautovic.

And the 24-year-old says he is determined to repay the faith shown in him by manager Mark Hughes, who signed him from Inter for £12.5million last year in what was then a record deal for the club.

“When I arrived at Milan there were thousands of fans at the airport,” Shaqiri added. “When I arrived in England there were no fans but the coach came to pick me up himself. It had never happened before and it was great.

“That meant that the club were prepared to do everything for me. When a coach gives you something, it’s important to give something back to him on the pitch.

“I want to be better every day and do my best for him. I am not his best friend. We don’t go for dinner or anything. But I do my work on the pitch for him. That is why he wanted to bring me here.”

Ancelotti delighted as Bayern demolish Carl Zeiss Jena

The coach followed up victory over Dortmund with another cup victory over the lower-league team, with Robert Lewandowski making a big impact on the Italian

Bayern Munich coach Carlo Ancelotti was delighted with his side’s performance as they thrashed Carl Zeiss Jena 5-0 in the DFB-Pokal on Friday.

Robert Lewandowski netted a first-half hat-trick to lead his side the way, before Arturo Vidal and Mats Hummels made it five after the interval.

It was a second competitive victory for Ancelotti since replacing Pep Guardiola – having beaten Borussia Dortmund 2-0 in the DFL-Supercup on Sunday – and the Italian was happy with another triumph.

“Our performance and our attitude were both good,” Ancelotti told reporters.

“We scored an early goal and were in full control. We are very happy with that.”

Ancelotti left Hummels out of his starting XI – before introducing him from the bench after 51 minutes – and he was quick to stress that the Germany international was rested rather than dropped.

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“I decided to rest Mats,” he added.

“He already played 90 minutes against Dortmund. Javi Martinez did a good job at the back.”

Lewandowski put in a man-of-the-match performance and the Poland international was over the moon with his first hat-trick of the season.

“It is not important whether it is a Bundesliga or a DFB-Pokal game,” he said.

“The people always expect goals from me and I always want to score.

“It was important for us to put in a good display here. But there is still room for improvement.”