Bayern struggling without Robben and Ribery – Guardiola

The coach is concerned with how his attack are performing without the Dutch and French attackers’ influence in breaking down defences

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Pep Guardiola has conceded Bayern Munich are struggling to break down opponents without star wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

The Bavarians have scored just once in their past three games in all competitions and needed penalties to defeat Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday for a spot in the DFB-Pokal semi-finals.

Robben was injured early in the first game of their current three-game dry spell while Ribery has not featured in over a month for Bayern, and Guardiola was open about the impact their absence is having.

“We are having a lot of problems,” the former Barcelona head coach told reporters. “We don’t have any others players for the one-on-one situations right now.

“We are a different team without Robben and Ribery fit, but we have to adapt to the current circumstances.”

Bayern are still 10 points clear of second-placed Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga and are back in action on Saturday when they host eighth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt at the Allianz Arena.

Guardiola will then prepare for a Champions League quarter-final first leg visit to Porto, while they must defeat Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal semi-final on April 28 to keep their treble hopes alive.

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Muller: Bayern never get tired

The forward credited his team’s inability to get fatigued as part of how they reached the DFB-Pokal semi-finals, though admits they had some luck too

Thomas Muller believes fatigue is entirely in a person’s head and Bayern Munich’s power to get over was key in them defeating Bayer Leverkusen on Wednesday.

The forward was one of the Bavarians’ clinical penalty takers in the DFB-Pokal quarter-final at BayArena, with all five players converting for Pep Guardiola after a 0-0 result following extra-time.

Muller admitted Bayern – who won the competition in each of the last two seasons – had fortune on their side but were aided by being indefatigable.

“When it is about penalties, it is a mixtures of luck and also practice,” Muller told ARD . “A big part of it is luck.

“We sometimes take penalties after training, but I don’t think all the players who shot today do that.

“Being tired is only something in your head. Of course you don’t always feel that fresh, but you have to keep going. We wanted to play and we wanted to win.

“It was a very tight match. I counted a few more chances for us, but Leverkusen were dangerous too. But I think no team could have scored a goal today from open play.”

Bayern were drawn at home against Borussia Dortmund in the last four in a repeat of last year’s final, while third-tier surprise package Arminia Bielefeld will host Bundesliga side Wolfburg.

Bayern draw Dortmund in DFB-Pokal semi-finals

Pep Guardiola was unfazed by facing last year’s fellow finalists, while shock last-four entrants Arminia Bielefeld will host Wolfsburg

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Bayern Munich have drawn Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal semi-finals in a repeat of last season’s final.

The Bavarians reached the last four in dramatic circumstances on Wednesday after Bayer Leverkusen took them to penalties with the scores level at 0-0 after 120 minutes, with Manuel Neuer saving Josip Drmic’s effort before Thiago Alcantara scored their fifth and final spot-kick.

That triumph at the BayArena has set up a home clash at the Allianz Arena with Borussia Dortmund, whom they defeated in the final in 2013-14, after Jurgen Klopp’s men needed extra-time to edge past Hoffenheim with a 3-2 win secured with a cracking Sebastian Kehl strike.

“Dortmund are a top team,” Guardiola told ARD when asked about facing BVB on April 28. “To win the cup one must beat everybody.

“We just defeated one of the fastest teams in the world. We did well and we controlled the game, even if we had a couple of issues. Manuel Neuer is a great goalkeeper, as is Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno; they both played well but in the end we won.”

Third-tier club Arminia Bielefeld continue their fairytale run with a home tie against high-flying Bundesliga club Wolfsburg on April 29.

Arminia, who were relegated from 2. Bundesliga last season, caused a major upset in the quarter-finals on Wednesday by eliminating Bundesliga heavyweights Borussia Monchengladbach on penalties.

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Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 Bayern Munich AET (3-5 pens): Neuer and Thiago the shoot-out heroes

The Germany No.1 kept out Josip Drmic’s effort and the Spain international scored his side’s fifth spot-kick to keep their treble hopes alive


Manuel Neuer and Thiago Alcantara were the penalty shoot-out heroes for Bayern Munich as they edged past Bayer Leverkusen in the DFB-Pokal.

Pep Guardiola’s side were forced to do things the hard way on Wednesday, but they held their nerve in a shoot-out to extend their unbeaten run in the tournament to 16 games, as Thiago slotted home the decisive spot-kick.

Leverkusen enjoyed the better of a tepid first half, though Thomas Muller twice went close to opening the scoring for the visitors.

That sluggish first period also proved costly for Guardiola on the injury front, with centre-back Mehdi Benatia adding to Bayern’s already lengthy list of fitness concerns when he was forced off with a knock.

The game stepped up a gear after the interval, with Robert Lewandowski having a goal incorrectly disallowed, while both Steffan Kiessling and Mario Gotze squandered golden chances as the game headed into extra-time.

Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno was in spectacular form throughout to deny the holders on several occasions, pulling off a string of superb saves to send the match to a shoot-out, but he could do nothing to deny Bayern a place in the last four, as they kept their defence of the trophy on course.

Missing several key players through injury, Guardiola made just one change to the Bayern line up that triumphed over Borussia Dortmund last time out, with Gotze replacing the stricken Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Schmidt’s Leverkusen are the form team in the Bundesliga, and they would have been ahead 15 minutes in had Kiessling – who netted twice in the 4-0 win against Hamburg at the weekend – managed to keep his header down after latching onto Roberto Hilbert’s cross.

They were almost made to pay for that miss eight minutes later – Rafinha’s corner falling to Muller at the back post, but his effort was blocked on the line by Wendell.

Matters were made worse for the visitors when their dreadful run of luck continued just past the half-hour mark as Benatia trudged off, with Sebastian Rode coming on in his place.

In spite of their lacklustre first-half display, it was Bayern who went closest to taking the lead when Juan Bernat found Muller in the box, but Leno rushed out quickly to smother the forward’s low shot.

Lewandowski thought he had given Bayern the lead at the start of the second half when he headed in from Philipp Lahm’s corner – but the referee ruled it out for a push on Emir Spahic, although contact appeared minimal.

Manuel Neuer was on top form to deny Karim Bellarabi edging Leverkusen ahead soon afterwards parrying the winger’s effort away following an excellent move.

Not to be outdone, Leno matched Neuer’s feat a minute later – somehow turning a venomous Lewandowski strike over the crossbar.

Leverkusen – who lifted this trophy for the only time in their history in 1993 – should have snatched victory in the dying moments of normal time, but Kiessling failed to tap home from Bellarabi’s low cross.

Extra time began in a similar fashion, but this time it was Bayern who passed up a golden opportunity to go in front  – Gotze volleying into the side-netting from the corner of the six-yard box.

The visitors dominated the extra period but Leno remained unbeaten in Leverkusen’s goal – punching away Bernat’s thunderous drive before parrying away another Gotze effort.

But it was the 17-time winners who kept their cool in the shoot-out, as substitute Thiago ensured they joined Borussia Dortmund, Wolfsburg and minnows Arminia Bielefeld in the semi-finals.

Earlier in the day, third-tier Arminia recorded an historic win over Bundesliga high-flyers Borussia Monchengladbach, also on penalties, to seal their place in the last four.

Manuel Junglas gave the hosts the lead midway through the first half before Monchengladbach levelled within four minutes thanks to Max Kruse’s spot-kick.

But, having withstood increased pressure from the visitors during the second half and into extra time, it was Arminia who held their nerve from the spot to progress to the semi-finals 5-4 on penalties.

Guardiola hints at Bayern move for Castro

The Bavarians’ head coach has admitted that he is a admirer of the versatile midfielder, but Bayer Leverkusen are hopeful of holding on to him

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has admitted that he is a keen admirer of Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Gonzalo Castro amid reports that the Bundesliga champions are interested in signing the 27-year-old.

Castro’s contract with Leverkusen is due to expire in the summer of 2016 and Bayern are believed to be keeping a close eye on the Germany international’s situation at the BayArena.

“I am not thinking about next season yet and about which players will be here then. We have not spoken about it for now,” Guardiola was quoted as saying by Bild.

“But Castro is obviously a great player. He has been doing very well in a number of positions.”

Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller, meanwhile, has made it clear that they are ready to open talks with Castro over a prolonged stay, although he has admitted they could struggle to hold on to the midfielder.

“We will sit down in the next few weeks to discuss his future,” Voller told TZ.

“We always seem to lose our best players, but that’s simply the way it is. Big transfer fees allow us to sign new players.”

Castro, who came through the club’s youth academy, has made over 350 appearances in all competitions for Bayer Leverkusen since breaking into the first team in 2004-05.