Klopp: Bayern can pounce on Bayern injury crisis

The Bavarians will be without Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben and David Alaba at Signal Iduna Park and the BVB boss is hoping to cause an upset

Jurgen Klopp has admitted that Borussia Dortmund are a long way off of Bayern Munich’s level, but believes his side can beat their rivals when they meet on Saturday.

Dortmund are climbing back up the Bundesliga after a terrible first half of the season and currently sit in 10th place, 31 points behind Pep Guardiola’s men.

Klopp admits that his side have fallen some way since they won two straight league titles between 2010 and 2012 and faced Bayern in the Champions League final in 2013.

He does, though, believe they can still pick up three points at Bayern’s expense at the Signal Iduna Park at the weekend, especially without the injured Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and David Alaba.

“We are not on the same level as Bayern at the moment,” he told reporters. “Nevertheless, we surely still have a chance to win, although the situation now is very different from recent years. There is a really big gap in points between us and them now. 

“Even Bayern would miss players like Robben, Alaba and Ribery, but they still have a good attack with Thomas Muller, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski. I’ve heard of worse. Also Philipp Lahm will be in form.

“Without Ribery and Robben, they are missing their fastest players, so they have to change. We need to consider how they might react to it. Then there will be opportunities for us.

“We have to defend very well if we want to be successful.”

With his side five points behind Augsburg, who occupy the final European place in the Bundesliga, Klopp feels his side can still climb higher up the table.

“We have no motivation problems. The team is in a relatively good shape. Our objectives are the same in the club. 

“Each point we win back also gives us the chance to get back up the table.”

Ribery ruled out of Dortmund meeting

Pep Guardiola’s men suffered another blow heading into the game against their rivals as the France international was ruled out just a day after David Alaba

Franck Ribery is not fit enough to make his Bayern Munich comeback against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday.

The French winger injured his ankle in Bayern’s 7-0 thrashing of Shakhtar Dnestsk on March 11 and has not featured since. 

Having returned to training over the international break, hopes had been raised that the 31-year-old may feature at the Signal Iduna Park.

However, the winger will have to watch on from the sidelines, joining left-back David Alaba, who was ruled out for the majority of the rest of the season with a knee injury.

“This is not nice,” captain Philipp Lahm told reporters.

“Although it does not help, we can’t complain about it too much, we must just look forward.

“We have a large squad and we are able to compensate for missing players.”

Bayern are currently 10 points clear of second-placed Wolfsburg in the league table, while Jurgen Klopp’s side sit 10th, five points behind the final European place.

Alaba has mental strength to overcome injury shock, insists Sammer

The Austria international has been plagued by knee injuries in 2014-15, but the Bavarians’ sporting director has little doubt he will recover quickly

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer is confident David Alaba has the mental strength to overcome his latest injury blow.

The Austria international will be out of action for seven weeks after picking up a knee injury while away on international duty and was devastated at the prospect of missing most of the remainder of the season.

“I’m obviously very sad,” Alaba told the club’s official website after he was diagnosed with a medial ligament tear in his left knee.

However, Sammer has little doubt the 22-year-old will soon start working on his recovery again in an attempt to return to match action this term.

“David is mentally strong enough to shake off this blow,” Sammer was quoted as saying by Bild.

“He will soon be working on his recovery again.”

Alaba has made 29 appearances in all competitions for Bayern this season, having previously spent November and December on the sidelines due to another knee problem.

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Guardiola must renew Bayern deal, says Lahm

The former Germany international says he wants to end his career under the former Barcelona boss, whose current contract expires in 2016

Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm has urged head coach Pep Guardiola to sign a new deal with the Bundesliga champions.

The 44-year-old – who took charge of Bayern in the summer of 2013 – has a contract with the Bavarians until June 2016 and has yet to make a decision on his long-term future.

Lahm says he would like to finish his career with the Spaniard in charge but accepts it is up to Guardiola to make the final call.

“Guardiola should sign a new deal. Of course, he should renew,” Lahm told Munchner Merkur.

“Guardiola is a great coach. I wish I could end my career under him here at Bayern.

“But at the moment, it’s not about what the club and the players want. Being a head coach is incredibly intensive, even more intensive at Bayern than anywhere else.

“Coaching a team like Bayern costs a lot of energy, especially when you have the attitude and work rate of our coach.

“We should give him the time he needs to think about his future at the club.

“Guardiola deserves to win a Champions League with Bayern. But we all know how hard it is. It all comes down to one decisive day. But he will get another chance if we don’t win it this year.”

Bayern meet Porto in the quarter-finals of this year’s edition of European club football’s elite competition, with the first leg in Portugal scheduled to take place on April 15.

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Nedved: Real Madrid not as strong as Barca & Bayern

Los Blancos won the 2013-14 Champions League but they have suffered a dramatic dip in form since the turn of the year

Juventus director Pavel Nedved says that Barcelona and Bayern Munich are the best teams in Europe, claiming that Real Madrid are not as strong as they were last season.

Madrid won the 2013-14 Champions League, defeating Bayern 5-0 on aggregate in the last four before beating city rivals Atletico 4-1 in the final. 

Carlo Ancelotti’s men embarked upon a 22-winning streak in all competitions this term but their form has dipped dramatically since the turn of the year, with Los Blancos losing top spot in La Liga to Barca and only scraping into the quarter-finals of the Champions League by edging out Schalke 5-4 on aggregate after a shock second-leg loss at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Consequently, when it comes to weighing up the respective merits of those involved in the race for this season’s European Cup, Nedved feels that there are two obvious frontrunners.

“It’s good [for Juve] to have avoided Barcelona and Bayern Munich, who are the best teams in Europe at the moment,” the former Ballon d’Or winner told El Mundo Deportivo.

“Real Madrid are not at the level of last year. But everything can change very quickly.”

Juve will face Monaco in the last eight after the Ligue 1 outfit sneaked into the quarter-finals thanks to a victory on away goals over Arsenal, whose 2-0 success in the principality nearly overturned a 3-1 first-leg deficit.

However, Nedved says he saw enough during the principality club’s win at the Emirates to suggest that they can cause the Bianconeri problems.

“Obviously there were more famous possible opponents we could have drawn, but we must not underestimate Monaco,” the Czech added. 

“They went dangerously close to being knocked out at home, but they impressed me against Arsenal in London.”