Dante upbeat despite Bayern injury crisis

The defender is hoping that the absence of several key players will not hinder his side against Porto

Bayern Munich defender Dante believes any team in the world would miss the star names the club will be without for the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Porto.

The Bavarians go into Wednesday’s game with a number of key players absent through injury, including Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Alaba and Mehdi Benatia.

However, Dante believes the loss of several star names will give the chance for squad players to impress.

“They’re all unbelievably important players to us but we can only try and compensate for them as a team,” he told the Bundesliga’s official website.

“Any side in the world would miss players of such quality. Our great strength is having a squad that has both the quality and the depth to do well even with several players sidelined.”

With the Champions League final being held in Berlin a week after the DFB Pokal decider, the Brazil international is hoping to play in two showpiece events at the Olympiastadion in the space of a week.

“You don’t get to play two finals in Berlin within the space of a week very often. We’re really keen on reaching both finals, which would be fantastic.

“But we shouldn’t look to too far ahead; we should try to make the Champions League semis first.”

Though Bayern are the only German side to make it to the last eight in Europe this year, Dante feels the Bundesliga is still a very strong competition.

“We’ve been doing well in the competition for years and Dortmund have also impressed many times. To me, the Bundesliga is a very strong league as it’s difficult to win it.

“Three teams might have been knocked out of the Champions League but it doesn’t take anything away from the Bundesliga.

“Some people consider the Premier League the strongest league, but then not one English side made it to the last eight. The German, English and Spanish leagues are all on par in my view.”

Alonso eyes Seedorf's Champions League record

The midfielder wants to become only the second player to win the trophy with three different clubs

Bayern Munich midfielder Xabi Alonso has set his sights on emulating Clarence Seedorf’s record of winning the Champions League with three different clubs.

The Dutchman lifted the trophy with Ajax, Real Madrid and AC Milan and is the only player to have done so in the history of the game.

However, Alonso won the Champions League at Real Madrid last season having triumphed with Liverpool in 2005 and has the record in his sights.

“There is one player who has won three Champions Leagues with three different clubs: Seedorf,” Alonso told The Daily Telegraph.

“Of course it is in my mind. The end of my career is near. I don’t have many years left but it is one of the targets.

“It is an individual target and it would be great to win the third one with a third club because the Champions League is special.

“It is not the time to look back, it is the time to look forward and be focused on the tasks and challenges that I still have in front of me.

“Once I have finished playing probably it will be time to analyse or be more proud, but at the moment, no.

“It is nice, of course, and I am happy. When I started I would never have dreamt of being a World Cup winner, of two European Championships and two Champions Leagues.

“I am really proud and happy with how things have gone and now we will see how this ends [at Bayern]. I don’t know how this will end. It has been a new experience.

“A new start, but so far so good. Now the big games are coming.”

Alonso moved to Bayern last summer from Real Madrid on a two-year deal but is unsure whether he will hang up his boots at the Allianz Arena.

“I don’t know if Bayern will be my last club. In 12 months, I will have a clearer idea of what is happening because that is when my contract ends.”

Injury-hit Bayern still world-beaters – Lopetegui

The Porto coach wants his players to use “ambition and imagination” to cause a Champions League quarter-final shock

Julen Lopetegui does not think Porto will benefit from Bayern Munich’s lengthy injury list in Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first-leg clash at the Dragao.

German champions Bayern are favourites to progress at Porto’s expense having once again dominated domestically this season, as well as impressing in Europe.

However, the Bundesliga champions were only able to put three outfield players on the bench in Saturday’s win over Eintracht Frankfurt, with the likes of Arjen Robben, David Alaba, Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger all currently sidelined with injuries.

Lopetegui believes Pep Guardiola still has an incredible amount of talent available to him but is hopeful his team – who are unbeaten in Europe this season – can cause an upset.

“Ambition and imagination are two words we have in mind,” he told reporters. “I’d like to remind everyone that we didn’t win a ticket to this competition – we had to earn it through the play-offs.

“We are here, proud and happy to be playing among the best teams in Europe at this stage of the Champions League.

“We want to be the best performers tomorrow while maintaining respect for our opponents. We are talking about one of the best Bayern sides in the club’s history.

“Bayern have injuries but will still have seven or eight world champions on the pitch. We don’t care about the players they don’t have. We have to focus on the ones that will play.”

Guardiola has paid tribute to the style of football employed by Lopetegui and the 48-year-old returned to the compliment to his former Barcelona team-mate. 

“I feel the same way Guardiola does about facing me,” he added. “There is a lot of respect between us.

“Bayern want possession and usually they get it. We have to take good care of the ball, use it perfectly. We have to be great in attack and defence.”

Lopetegui has been boosted by the return of top scorer Jackson Martinez, who has been named in Porto’s 20-man squad for Wednesday’s first leg.

Muller: Injuries have decimated Bayern's strength in depth

Ahead of their clash with Porto on Wednesday, the attacker stated Pep Guardiola’s side do not have the same internal rivalry due to player absences

Thomas Muller thinks competition for places within Bayern Munich has been crippled by their current injury crisis.

The Bavarians had only three outfield players on the bench in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, with the likes of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, David Alaba and Bastian Schweinsteiger among those currently sidelined.

Ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Porto, Muller revealed the detrimental impact injuries have had on the team, yet he hopes that they can use the situation to their advantage.

“Due to injuries, the competition within the squad has become less existent,” the 25-year-old attacking midfielder told reporters.

“It puts our performances more in the foreground. It’s now crucial to really become a team together.”

Bayern, who won the Champions League two seasons ago, are favourites against the Portuguese side and Muller is excited about getting a chance to shine at the Estadio do Dragao.

“I’ve never played against Porto before,” the Germany international added. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the stadium is like.

“Porto like to keep use possession to their advantage and are not the sort of team that will pile 10 players behind the ball. We’re hopeful we can score a few goals, though.

“We have a strong reputation to uphold and obviously that’s our goal for Wednesday.”

Muller: Injuries have destroyed Bayern's strength in depth

Ahead of their clash with Porto on Wednesday, the attacker stated Pep Guardiola’s side do not have the same internal rivalry due to player absences

Thomas Muller thinks competition for places within Bayern Munich has been crippled by their current injury crisis.

Bayern had only three outfield players on the bench in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, with the likes of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery, David Alaba and Bastian Schweinsteiger among those absent.

Ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Porto, Muller revealed the detrimental impact injuries have had on the team but hopes they can use the situation to their advantage.

“Due to injuries, the competition within the squad has become less existent,” he told reporters. “It puts our performances more in the foreground. It’s now crucial to really become a team together.”

Bayern, who won the Champions League two seasons ago, are favourites against the Portuguese side and Muller is excited to get a chance to shine at the Estadio do Dragao.

“I’ve never played against Porto before,” the Germany international, 25, added. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the stadium is like.

“Porto like to keep use possession to their advantage and are not the sort of team that will pile 10 players behind the ball. We’re hopeful we can score a few goals, though.

“We have a strong reputation to uphold and obviously that’s our goal for Wednesday.”