Lahm shrugs off Guardiola speculation

The former Barcelona boss is reportedly on the verge of signing a two-year extension to his contract with the Bavarians, but his skipper said he had no say in the matter

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm insists the club’s players will not be distracted by speculation over the future of coach Pep Guardiola.

Reports in Spain on Monday claimed Guardiola was close to agreeing a two-year contract extension at Bayern, where his existing deal expires at the end of this season.

Having masterminded successive Bundesliga triumphs and established a five-point lead at the top of the league table four months into the 2015-16 campaign, the former Barcelona coach has been linked with a succession of other top jobs in European football.

Lahm is hopeful that Guardiola will remain in Bavaria but believes his team-mates can only have a limited influence over the situation.

“I don’t need to go to the coach every day and tell him that we’d like to continue working with him,” the 31-year-old told reporters. “He knows that.”

“We have to work every day here – you cannot worry about what happens with the coach at the end of the season.”

Of more pressing concern to Lahm is the Champions League match against Arsenal on Wednesday, after the Premier League club ended Bayern’s 12-match winning run when the sides met during the previous round of continental fixtures.

“This is a big challenge against a team like Arsenal, who have top individual players,” Lahm said.

“We didn’t take our chances in London and we have to do much better on Wednesday.

“It would be great if we can take our first few chances again and put the opponent under pressure.

“We don’t need any extra motivation for the Arsenal game. This is the Champions League, we’re playing at home and anyone who isn’t motivated is in the wrong place.”

I'd take a point against Bayern Munich – Wenger

The Arsenal manager insists his side cannot afford to sit back and defend against the Bundesliga champions but admits his side face a tough task as they fight for the points

Arsene Wenger would gladly accept a point from Arsenal’s trip to Bayern Munich on Wednesday but admits they cannot afford to simply sit back and defend.

The Gunners kept their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout stages alive with a 2-0 victory over Pep Guardiola’s side on matchday three and have managed a draw and a victory in their last two visits to the Allianz Arena.

Bayern were held to a goalless draw against Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday but Wenger insists they remain a dangerous attacking team and believes playing too defensively against the Bundesliga leaders could prove fatal.

“I would sign today to take a point but to sit off Bayern,” the Arsenal manager said. “But with their offensive quality, that would be difficult to maintain for 90 minutes. 

“We have to relieve the pressure whenever we can and try to score goals. That is the structure of our team, to attack.

“If we set out our players only to defend then I don’t think we’ll be so efficient. We have to play every time we can.”

Arsenal stretched their recent run of form to five wins in six matches with a 3-0 victory away to Swansea City on Saturday and Wenger is confident his side is continuing to grow in strength.

“It was impressive because if you look at our away results since the start of the season, we have won at Crystal Palace and Watford, at Newcastle and at Swansea,” he added. “So it looks like the team has stabilised and is growing as a unit. So let’s grow even more.

“We are certainly more stable defensively but that is from the start of January. If you look at the points we have taken from January 1, we have taken more points than anyone else.”

No team better for Guardiola than Bayern Munich – Matthaus

The World Cup winner feels the Spaniard has had every wish fulfilled at Bayern Munich and cannot understand why he has not signed a new contract

Lothar Matthaus says he is perplexed by Pep Guardiola’s reluctance to sign a new contract at Bayern Munich, suggesting no team could be better for him.

The Bavarian side’s perfect start to the Bundesliga campaign came to an end on Friday after a goalless draw with Eintracht Frankfurt, though they remain five points ahead of Borussia Dortmund.

However, Guardiola is yet to sign a new deal with the Allianz Arena side, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the season, and Matthaus cannot work out what he is waiting for.

“What could be better for him than Bayern Munich?” the World Cup winner told Yahoo. “

Every wish was fulfilled and yet Guardiola wants even more?

“Bayern have never been so dominant than they are now, they have long since reached a new level of quality.”

The ex-Barcelona boss has been linked to a move to the Premier League, with Manchester City the team reportedly most interested in hiring him, but Matthaus feels he would be better off staying in Germany.

“Of course, the English have a lot of money, but they lag behind in sports.

“The Bayern bosses are prepared for his departure.”

Vidal: Arsenal will see the real Bayern

The German champions have a point to prove against their Group F rivals in the Champions League clash on Wednesday, according to the Chilean

Arturo Vidal has issued a warning to Arsenal as Bayern Munich prepare to host them in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Bavarian side suffered a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium on matchday three, with Arsene Wenger’s men recovering from losses to Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos to keep their qualification hopes alive.

However, the Chilean midfielder insists that Bayern will not be so generous to their opponents at Allianz Arena, and says a die Roten victory is the only outcome they are targeting.

“We’ll show Arsenal the real Bayern on Wednesday,” Vidal told Bild am Sonntag.

“Our confidence is high. This time we’ll take our chances and take the three points.”

Arsenal enter the tie in excellent form however, having climbed to the top of the Premier League after going unbeaten there since October and won five of their last six matches in all competitions.

A victory for the Gunners would see them draw level with Bayern – who were held to a 0-0 draw by Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga on Friday – on six points with two Group F games remaining.

Bayern Munich to face Darmstadt in DFB-Pokal

Pep Guardiola’s side will take on the Bundesliga new boys in the last 16 of the cup, while Borussia Monchengladbach will take on Werder Bremen

Bayern Munich will host Darmstadt in the third round of the DFB-Pokal at the Allianz Arena.

No team has won the Pokal more times than Bayern’s tally of 17 and, having eliminated holders Wolfsburg in the second round, they will take on Darmstadt for a place in the quarter-finals.

The two sides have already met once this season, with Arturo Vidal, Kingsley Coman and Sebastian Rode all on target in a 3-0 triumph at the Merck-Stadion am Bollenfalltor.

Bayer Leverkusen will travel to face fourth-tier Unterhaching – the side against whom they failed to secure the point needed to claim their first Bundesliga title in the 1999-2000 season – while last season’s runners-up Borussia Dortmund will travel to face the top flight’s bottom club Augsburg.

The fixtures are scheduled to be played on December 15 and 16.

Unterhaching vs Bayer Leverkusen
Erzgebirge Aue vs Heidenheim
Augsburg vs Borussia Dortmund
Borussia Monchengladbach vs Werder Bremen
Bayern Munich vs Darmstadt
1860 Munich  vs Bochum
Nuremberg vs Hertha Berlin
Stuttgart vs Eintracht Braunschweig