Robben tells Guardiola: I don't want to be rested!

Bayern Munich’s lethal winger is desperate to force his way into his manager’s plans ahead of Werder Bremen on Saturday before the German club’s Champions League last-16 second leg

Bayern Munich attacker Arjen Robben says he does not need to miss Saturday’s Bundesliga match versus Werder Bremen in order to be fit to face Juventus in the Champions League on March 16.

The 0-0 draw with Borussia Dortmund on Saturday maintained Bayern’s five-point advantage at the top of the league.

The German champions will also be looking to book their ticket for the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday after their 2-2 first-leg draw in Turin, but Robben is adamant he does not need to be rested after overcoming his recent injury problems.

“I am feeling strong again and I am back to my old level,” the Netherlands international told reporters.

“I know what I am capable of and my body is cooperating. I hope it stays like this. I want to stay fit and gain match rhythm.

“I don’t want to be rested against Bremen, as I always want to play. We did not have a game in midweek this time. It does not matter what I want, though. The coach is the one who decides in the end.

“You cannot treat Werder like they are a warm-up for the game against Juventus. It does not work like that. We only have finals left this season and in the Bundesliga, Dortmund are still a very strong rival.

“But games like the clash with Juventus are what it is all about. I love these kinds of games. You have to show that you are ready for it when it matters most.”

Bayern Munich v Werder Bremen Preview: Rafinha wary of Pizarro threat

The Bayern defender has stressed they must keep a close eye on the experienced Bremen man takes on his former team

Rafinha has warned his Bayern Munich team-mates they cannot afford to give Claudio Pizarro any space in Saturday’s Bundesliga clash with Werder Bremen.

The Peruvian attacker was deemed surplus to requirements at Bayern last season, but has shown in 2015-16 that he remains a force to be reckoned with.

Pizarro has claimed 12 goals and two assists in his last 11 appearances in all competitions and is the Bundesliga’s top scorer in 2016 with nine goals, one more than Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski.

The 37-year-old will be looking to add to his tally at the weekend, but Rafinha is determined to keep his former team-mate quiet at the Allianz Arena.

“Claudio’s goal at the weekend goes to show yet again that goalscoring is his speciality. He’s ruthless in the penalty area,” he told the Bayern website.

“You always have to keep an eye on him and you can’t give him any space at all. We know Claudio well and we also know how to deal with him.

“It’s no surprise to see him play so well at the age of 37 to me personally. We played, trained and lived together at Bayern and I know what he’s capable of.

“He’s so experienced, he still has his legs and he still gets upset when things go wrong on the pitch. That’s good. I hope he gets to play for another couple of years yet.

“We won’t be friends for 90 minutes out on the pitch on Saturday, but we’ll be laughing together again after the game. My hope is that he plays well – and we win.”

Bayern have won just one of their last four games in all competitions, but will nonetheless be confident of prevailing against Werder.

The Bundesliga leaders have won their last 10 league games against Saturday’s opponents, which is Bremen’s longest losing sequence against a particular top-flight opponent. 

The host’s last defeat at the hands of Werder came in September 2008, when they were beaten 5-2 in Munich.

Pep Guardiola will still be without the injured Jerome Boateng (groin) and Holger Badstuber (ankle), but Javi Martinez is edging closer to his comeback.

The visitors, meanwhile, have reason for optimism irrespective of their poor run of form against Bayern.

They beat both Bayer Leverkusen and Hannover 4-1 to climb up to 13th place in the Bundesliga table, three points clear of the relegation play-off place.

Head coach Viktor Skripnik will have to make do without the services of suspended duo Clemens Fritz and Zlatko Junuzovic, while Philipp Bargfrede remains unavailable due to a meniscus problem.

Barcelona are not better than Bayern, says Muller

The Bavarian side’s achievements this season are every bit as impressive as those of their Catalan cousins, the Germany international argued

Thomas Muller says he does not know in what aspect Barcelona could be considered superior to Bayern Munich. 

Muller, 26, scored the opening goal of the game in Bayern’s 2-2 draw at Juventus in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie as the Bundesliga champions aim to win a second European crown in four years.

Bayern were knocked out of last year’s tournament in the semi-finals by Barcelona – who went on to win the treble – but Muller believes the clubs are more even than most people think.

GOALREAD MORE  | Lahm: Title is Bayern’s to lose

“Barcelona are in a good moment and they come from winning the treble last season,” the Germany international told Sport1 . “But I see Bayern as one of the strongest in Europe, naturally alongside Barcelona.

“Bayern are first in the [Bundesliga], are one game away from a cup final, and got a good result away in the first leg of the round of 16.

“I don’t know where they are better than us.”

The forward added: “You can see every week how good they are, but also you can see our games and say: ‘Yes, they are also very strong.’

“If we find ourselves up against Barcelona again, we will be prepared.”

Diego Costa suffers injury against PSG

The former Atletico Madrid man was on target to bring the Premier League club back within one goal of their rivals, but he limped out of the action to be replaced by Traore

Diego Costa was forced off in the second half of Chelsea’s Champions League last-16 match with Paris Saint-Germain due to injury. 

The Spain international netted in the first half as the home side looked to overturn a 2-1 deficit from the first leg.

GOALREAD MORE  | Terry: I’m out of PSG clash

With just under an hour on the clock, however, Costa went down in the PSG half off the ball and limped out of the action, before he was replaced by Bertrand Traore.

Costa slumped to the floor before signalling to the bench that he was suffering some discomfort, exiting almost immediately.

Just minutes after the forward left the game Zlatan Ibrahimovic struck to restore Paris Saint-Germain’s lead in the second leg. 

The French club lead 4-2 on aggregate, leaving Chelsea needing three goals to complete a miraculous Champions League recovery.

Muller: I have a special connection with Lewandowski

The Germany international also says he will be sad to see coach Pep Guardiola leave Allianz Arena in the summer when he heads to the Premier League with Manchester City

Bayern Munich attacker Thomas Muller has hailed his connection with Robert Lewandowski following their sublime run of form in 2015-16.

The two forwards have scored 40 of Bayern’s 59 Bundesliga goals between them this term, with Muller netting 17 times and Lewandowski responsible for 23 goals.

Germany international Muller, 26, revealed he is loving life playing alongside the former Borussia Dortmund star.

“We have a certain connection and both have a great goal instinct,” Muller told Bild.

“Plus we get a lot of dangerous balls in from the wings. That’s what the coach demands from the team as well.

“Pep [Guardiola] knows that we cause our opponents a lot of trouble when we both pop up in front of goal.

“The only restriction he’s giving me is that I cannot play as an extra striker. I have to play behind Robert.”

GOALREAD MORE  | EXCLUSIVE: ‘Pep gets his star playing with great joy’

Head coach Guardiola will leave Bayern for Manchester City at the end of the season and Muller is sad to see the former Barcelona boss move on.

“We have gone through a great development as a team – we all know what to do and do it at a very high level,” he added.

“The team would have enjoyed continuing to work with Pep, but he had different plans and that’s alright.

“You cannot look into the future, so you never know whether our progress would have halted had Pep stayed put. I don’t think anybody would feel bad if we were to stay at this level.”