Bayern need Ribery back, says Lahm

The versatile defender has admitted the winger is being sorely missed and wants him back in action to help their treble pursuit

Philipp Lahm has highlighted the importance of Franck Ribery to Bayern Munich and hopes to see the former France international return to the pitch as soon as possible.

The 32-year-old has been out of action since picking up an ankle injury in his side’s 7-0 Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk on March 11 and remains some way off a return.

Lahm, who himself suffered an ankle injury during the middle of the season, admits Bayern are eager for their injured stars to return quickly.

“This is not a nice situation for Franck, that’s quite clear,” Lahm was quoted as saying by TZ.

“But it’s not a good situation for the coach and the team either. We need him back. That is the most important thing.

“Franck still has some fitness issues, though. That’s the worst thing for a player, when you are having problems and cannot train with the team.

“When you have an injury and need surgery, you know how long it will be before you can return. But with this kind of injury, you never know how long your recovery will take. That’s frustrating for a player.

“The team is doing great at the moment and we still have a lot of quality. But we need players like Franck, Arjen Robben and David Alaba back in the decisive stage of the season.”

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Kagawa: Dortmund owe Klopp a trophy

The Japan international aims to send the 47-year-old coach out on a high after a tough season and is confident they can get a result against Bayern

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Shinji Kagawa feels the Bundesliga side owe outgoing coach Jurgen Klopp a trophy as they prepare for their DFB-Pokal semi-final.

Klopp announced earlier this month that he will leave Signal Iduna Park at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.

In his seven seasons in charge of Dortmund, Klopp won two Bundesliga titles, one DFB-Pokal and led the club to the final of the 2012-13 Champions League, which they lost to Bayern.

Dortmund will travel to Bayern on Tuesday with a spot in the cup final on the line and Kagawa wants to send the 47-year-old coach out on a high after a tough season in which they have been forced to battle against the threat of relegation.

“We feel a great sense of gratitude and we owe him,” Kagawa told the Bundesliga’s website.

“Soon it’ll be time for him to go and that won’t be easy, which is all the more reason why it’s now about us giving even more for the coach in the last few games.”

Dortmund arrive in Munich with four wins in their past six matches in all competitions, plus a 1-0 loss to Bayern at home at the start of April.

In their past two games, BVB have not conceded a goal as they beat Paderborn 3-0 and Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0, with Kagawa scoring in both Bundesliga fixtures.

“The Bayern game’s coming at a good time for us. We’ll be able to take our momentum from the league into the semi-finals of the cup,” the Japan international said.

“The last few games have given us a lot of belief. That’s what we want to draw on in the cup and show in Munich on Tuesday.”

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Messi is god-like – Beckenbauer

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner has again been lavished with praise for his continued excellence on the pitch

Bayern Munich and Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer has labelled Barcelona star Lionel Messi “god-like” and believes the Catalans hopes of success this season rest on his shoulders.

The 27-year-old has recovered from a disappointing end to 2014 to inspire his side to a fine run of form domestically and in Europe to leave the club challenging for silverware on three fronts.

Barca lead La Liga by two points ahead of Real Madrid and face Bayern in the semi-finals of the Champions League, while Athletic Bilbao await in the Copa del Rey final.

Beckenbauer will, of course, hope Messi has a dip in form as his side take on Luis Enrique’s men over two legs, but admitted he is a big admirer of the Argentina international.

He told Sky 90: “He is a divine player, he is god-like. The hopes of Barcelona are reliant on Messi.”

The European tie will see Bavarians coach Pep Guardiola face Barca for the first time since leaving the club in 2012 and Beckenbauer believes his knowledge of the club could be key.

“Guardiola knows the ins and outs of Barcelona. He knows the smallest of details that could put Bayern on their way.”

Bayern face Borussia Dortmund in the semi-final of the DFB-Pokal on Tuesday and the 69-year-old says anything other than a perfect performance could see his former team shocked by BVB.

“I think Bayern must put on a flawless performance, otherwise they will go out. The minute you think negatively of Dortmund they will catch you out.”

Guardiola: Bayern won't suffer Champions League slump this season

The Catalan says he erred by concentrating solely on Europe after the Bavarians were crowned champions of Germany with seven games to spare last season

Pep Guardiola insists that Bayern Munich will not suffer another Champions League slump after wrapping up the Bundesliga title at the weekend.

The Bavarians were crowned champions of Germany with a record seven games to spare last season, a feat which appeared to leave them wonderfully placed to successfully defend their European crown.

However, Bayern suffered a bizarre dip in form after clinching their domestic title at the tail end of March, making hard work of a poor Manchester United side in the Champions League quarter-finals before then being sensationally routed 5-0 on aggregate by eventual winners Real Madrid in the semis.

Guardiola considers the beating his side took at the hands of the Blancos the low point of his coaching career to date and he is adamant that history will not repeat itself this term, with Bayern now bracing themselves for a monumental last-four showdown with another Liga powerhouse, Barcelona.

“We won’t struggle this year,” he told reporters on Monday. “We have big opponents coming and we have big continuity. 

“This year is completely different to last year. Last year I was only focused on the Champions League.”

Indeed, Guardiola says that he is treating every single game Bayern have left with the utmost respect, starting with Tuesday’s DFB-Pokal semi-final against Borussia Dortmund.

“I know how strong they are,” the Catalan stated. “It will be very, very, very difficult. 

“They always play with high aggression and this is a quality of Jurgen Klopp’s teams.

“In Dortmund (earlier this month, when Bayern won 1-0) they were better than us. 

“We struggled, but we won because Lewy (Robert Lewandowski) and Thomas (Muller) were superb. But the game was always tight.”

Guardiola’s future remains a topic of discussion at every press conference but the former Barcelona boss, who only has one year left on his Bayern deal, says that he is more concerned with getting all of his players fit again than his next career move.

“I am very happy with my time in Munich,” he added. “I am surprised by and thankful for these players. 

“I just hope that next year I will have more fit and less injured players.

“Javi Martinez was injured for nine months but his enthusiasm is huge and he can now help us by playing some minutes. 

“Bernat is feeling better. He had some problems, but I hope that he will play against Dortmund. 

“We need Arjen (Robben) back but he was injured for five weeks, so we cannot rush him. 

“But if Arjen is convinced in his head, his legs will not be a problem.”

Klopp: Gundogan speculation won't distract Dortmund ahead of Bayern cup clash

The Germany international is reportedly on the verge of agreeing to join Manchester United but his boss at BVB is only thinking about winning at the Allianz Arena

Jurgen Klopp says Borussia Dortmund will not allow speculation surrounding the future of midfielder Ilkay Gundogan or his own private life to affect their concentration ahead of Tuesday’s DFB-Pokal showdown with Bayern Munich.

It was reported at the weekend that Manchester United were on the verge of agreeing a deal with BVB for Germany international Gundogan, who has only one year left on his contract.

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc promptly rubbished the story and Klopp had no interest in discussing the issue any further on the eve of his side’s daunting trip to the Allianz Arena to face Bayern, who were crowned Bundesliga champions at the weekend.

“It’s normal that players get linked with other clubs, especially here,” the 47-year-old coach told reporters on Monday. “It doesn’t disrupt our focus on the game.

“This is a super-important match. This is a hurdle we have to overcome in order to get to the final. 

“Bayern are an exceptional opponent but we are looking forward to this game. 

“We were already happy after the quarter-final against Hoffenheim but now we have this duel with one of the most difficult opponents in football. It is practically a final.”

Klopp announced earlier this month that he will stand down as coach at the end of the season but he dismissed the suggestion that he is viewing a DFB-Pokal triumph as the perfect way for him to bring the curtain down on his seven-year stint at Signal Iduna Park.

“Everybody wants to make the final,” he stated. “Everybody wants to experience it again. This is not about me; I am not important enough for that.

“Since we lost the 2014 final to Bayern under weird circumstances (Mats Hummels had a goal controversially disallowed), we want to go back there. And for that to happen you have to beat Bayern sooner or later.

“We have to be at 100 per cent. It can happen, but it won’t happen by talking.

“The past shows that when we were able to stick by our plan, we were very uncomfortable to play against. Once we get passive, it gets uncomfortable for us.”

Klopp, though, did not display any discomfort when asked to address a rumour about his personal life that has been put forward as an explanation for his decision to quit BVB this summer, dealing with the matter in characteristically light-hearted fashion.

“People have told me about a story that I will leave the club because my wife left me and I had a thing with a player’s wife,” he added. “That is nonsense.

“I still love Ulla. She has had 100 reasons to leave me, but not those kind of reasons!

“So, with my family everything is fine and I hope that topic is closed now.”