Lahm expects Bayern to attack Benfica

The Die Roten captain is expecting a tough 90 minutes at the Estadio da Luz, with the Germans holding on to the slimmest of advantages after the opener

Philipp Lahm says Bayern Munich have no intention of playing it safe as they take a precarious 1-0 aggregate lead into their Champions League quarter-final second leg at Benfica on Wednesday.

The Bundesliga heavyweights earned a slender advantage from the first meeting between the teams at Allianz Arena last week, Arturo Vidal scoring the only goal of the game just two minutes into the match.

Many observers expected Bayern to win more comfortably at home and the result left Pep Guardiola’s side vulnerable to an upset at Estadio da Luz.

But club captain Lahm, speaking to reporters before flying to Portugal, rejected suggestions his team could seek to sit on their lead.

“That’s not our nature,” he said. 

GOALREAD MORE Rumenigge cools Gotze transfer talk

“We go to Lisbon to win there. It’s our task to play offensive, preferably to score goals. Still, it’s important not to give away too many chances at the back. We’re pretty good in defence currently, but in attack we were inaccurate, especially in the first leg. It’s necessary to improve in this area.”

Benfica will be without Jonas due to suspension, but Lahm is not expecting the absence of the Brazilian striker to significantly weaken the hosts.

“I think that it hurts [Benfica] a bit that Jonas will miss the game,” he said.

“But a team who plays the quarter-final of the Champions League probably has enough players that didn’t play in the first leg, who have enough quality to play there. 

“We go to Lisbon to win, to attack, that’s our style of play – offensive football. So we will try to reach the next round.”

Rummenigge cools Gotze transfer talk

The Bavarians’ CEO has reiterated his belief that winning titles should be the German giant’s focus, not opening talks with attacker Mario Gotze

Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has moved to clarify his recent comments about Mario Gotze, claiming he is not aware of the Germany international’s future plans.

Rummenigge told the Schwabische Zeitung that Gotze is welcome to hold talks with the club at the end of the season amid reports tipping the World Cup winner for a reunion with former Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

The CEO, speaking ahead of Bayern’s Champions League quarter-final second leg away to Benfica on Wednesday, insisted no specific message from Gotze or his representatives had triggered the comments.

GOALREAD MORE  | ‘Sloppy’ Bayern must improve fast, says Lahm

“The length of his contract is known,” Rummenigge said of the 23-year-old, whose deal expires in June 2017.

“I don’t know any more. Neither he nor his advisor have stated anything publicly. 

“So everything is speculation. I just wanted to show with my statement [in the newspaper] that we are at the end of the season, in which the titles are won. 

“The team have worked and remain focused for the whole season, so that we can win the titles. 

“And we have enough time after that to talk with him about his future if he wants to.”

Rummenigge is also looking forward to the return to fitness of Arjen Robben, who has not played since a 0-0 draw at Dortmund on March 5 due to an adductor problem.

“He trains, he runs, but we still need to be patient,” he said.

“We can’t predict when he will be back, if it’s one or two weeks. He tries everything he can. Our medical department, our physiotherapists do what they can so that he can come back. 

“We need every player in the last part of the season, and of course also the quality of Arjen Robben. It would be great if he can come back quickly, but I can’t predict it.”

FFP damaging the Bundesliga, says Wolfsburg's Allofs

The Wolves are struggling to compete with the financial might of reigning champions Bayern Munich due to UEFA’s financial rules, according to the latter’s sporting director

UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules are “damaging” the Bundesliga by making it difficult for Wolfsburg to challenge Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, as well as European powerhouses like Real Madrid, says sporting director Klaus Allofs.

Wolfsburg are solely owned by car manufacturers Volkswagen and have previously been under investigation from UEFA as part of the FFP regulations.

Allofs believes the subsequent monetary constraints placed on the club due to their ownership structure have damaged the domestic league and make it tough for them to match the continent’s biggest sides, who can draw revenue from multiple sponsorship deals.

“We have to explain to UEFA that our money comes from a special situation where Volkswagen own 100 per cent. In principle, we cannot invest more money in the team,” he told AS.

“This is a limitation for many clubs and perpetuates the system to enable Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern to remain on top.

“The situation in the Bundesliga is badly damaged because Bayern gets money through many means: Telekom, Audi, Adidas. For us the biggest part of the money comes from VW.”

GOALREAD MORE  | Zidane’s Real one of the best – Dante

Although they are on course for a place in the Champions League semi-finals with a 2-0 aggregate advantage over Madrid ahead of their second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, Wolfsburg are eighth in the Bundesliga, nine points adrift of the top four.

Allofs added that it is difficult for them to attract high-profile signings and admitted they have struggled to remain competitive domestically following the sales of Kevin De Bruyne and Ivan Perisic.

“The financial size of a team like Madrid is completely different [to Wolfsburg]. Madrid calls and the player goes – it’s the same with Bayern,” he said.

“I do not know if it’s easy to sign [players] in Madrid, but it’s totally different here. I began in November 2012 and chose [Dieter] Hecking as coach in January. We managed to get Luiz Gustavo and Kevin De Bruyne, players who would not normally come.

“We were able to convince them that we had the desire to be great in the Bundesliga – that attracted them. But after selling De Bruyne and Perisic, we could not maintain the same competitive level.

“At the moment we have a one-team league with Bayern Munich. Bayern spent a lot of money … so I am certain they will always be favourites.”

Alonso: Guardiola and Mourinho have similar personalities

The managerial rivals may differ in how they believe the game should be played, but the Bayern Munich midfielder believes they resemble each other in certain ways

Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso believes Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho have similar personalities, even if they differ in football philosophies.

Alonso worked under Mourinho – sacked by Chelsea in December – at Real Madrid and is now coached by Guardiola at Bayern.

As one of only a handful of players to play under both managers, Alonso is well placed to compare the two and believes they share a lot of the same characterisitics.

“Pep and Mou are very different in football terms, but I see similarities in their personalities,” he told beIN Sports.

GOALREAD MORE  | Bayern to invite Gotze for talks

“[Mourinho] is 100 per cent competitive and wants to win. He squeezes out what he does not like to get what he wants.”

Guardiola will make way for Carlo Ancelotti – another coach Alonso has played under in the past – when he leaves for Manchester City at the end of the season.

And Alonso also had some kind words to say about the Italian, adding: “I think of Ancelotti with fondness because he is an endearing person. 

“He is a club man and does not give importance to things that do not matter.”

We can talk with Gotze at the end of the season, says Rummenigge

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is said to be keen to take his ex-Dortmund charge to Anfield, and his current club are planning to discuss matters in the near-future

Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has told Mario Gotze he will gladly hold talks over his future at the end of the season.

The Germany international has endured a frustrating campaign at the Allianz Arena, having been restricted to a bit-part role by Pep Guardiola after missing close to five months with a groin injury.

Gotze has been linked with a possible reunion with former Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool should Bayern be willing to sell the 23-year-old.

Rummenigge insists it is the wrong time of the season to discuss transfers but is prepared to sit down Gotze once the campaign draws to a close.

GOALREAD MORE  | Bayern chief confirms Odegaard contact

“We are in the important weeks of the season, so we concentrate on the here and now,” he told Schwabische Zeitung. “This is all that counts.

“When all the games are done, Mario is invited to come to my office and speak with Bayern on his future.

“Everything else is speculative. Neither Mario nor his agent has expressed themselves about this subject.”

Gotze has also been linked with a return to Dortmund, but Rummenigge poured cold water on the rumours that talks have been held.

“This is wrong,” he said. “We have a good relationship, but there have not been talks on Mario Gotze with [Dortmund CEO] Hans-Joachim Watzke.”