Bayern: Robben’s like an F1 engine

Club doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt says the extra medical attention the Dutchman receives in Bavaria is to thank for condemning his injury woes to the past

Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben must be treated like the engine of a Formula 1 car, according to the club’s doctor.

The 31-year-old Dutchman suffered a number of injury problems earlier on in his career, which he says stunted his development during three years with Chelsea between 2004 and 2007, before his fortunes changed after he took up regular sessions with an osteopath while at Real Madrid in 2009.

“Arjen is comparable to a Formula 1 engine,” said club doctor Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt.

“He will be inspected prior to each game. And when he gets the okay – off he goes.”

Robben has started 19 of Bayern’s 25 league games so far this season, and seven of their eight Champions League fixtures.

And Muller-Wohlfahrt went on to say that the biggest thanks his medical team received arrived in 2012, when Robben cited them among the reasons for him extending his contract with Bundesliga giants.

“When it came to the contract extension, Arjen has said that he would remain in Bavaria for the medical care. He had good deals [to go elsewhere]. This is the biggest and best compliment.”

Bayern Munich – Borussia Monchengladbach Preview: Favre not afraid of runaway leaders

With a Champions League spot very much up for grabs, the 57-year-old is determined to get a result at the Allianz Arena

Lucien Favre says Borussia Monchengladbach are not scared of visiting Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Bayern have romped to the title in each of the last two seasons and look set to do so again in 2014-15 as they enjoy an 11-point lead over Wolfsburg with nine matches remaining.

Monchengladbach, who finished sixth last term, have improved on that this time around and occupy third, the final automatic Champions League qualification spot. 

Favre’s men have lost just once in their past eight league outings and are in confident mood ahead of the trip to the Allianz Arena.

“Bayern’s clear advantage at the top isn’t by chance,” he said. “Their team is full of quality.

“We aren’t scared of them. We’re also a good team and we’ve shown that frequently this season.

“If we put in a good performance, picking up points in Munich is possible. It’s certainly going to be an interesting match; we’re looking forward to it.

“We need to play intelligently and defend strongly. We need to react quickly when we lose the ball and be ready for anything they throw at us.

“I will have a look at how the lads perform in training but my instincts will also come into play. The best team will start the game.”

Favre has Julian Korb and Havard Nordtveit available after they missed the 2-0 win against Hannover last time out, while Roel Brouwers has overcome a bout of illness.

Despite Favre’s confidence, Monchengladbach must attempt to topple a Bayern side that have lost just one home Bundesliga game in their last 41 outings.

Bayern’s record this season at the Allianz Arena reads 11 wins and a draw from 12 games. However, the visitors can take heart from being one of only two sides to keep a clean sheet against Bayern in the Bundesliga this season, after a goalless draw in the reverse fixture back in October.

Pep Guardiola, whose side were drawn against Porto in the last eight of the Champions League on Friday, has a fully fit squad to choose from after the return of Philipp Lahm in the 4-0 thumping of Werder Bremen last weekend.

Monchengladbach lost 3-1 on their last visit to the Allianz Arena, but that is one of only three Bayern victories in the past eight meetings between these two sides.

Muller: Porto? It could've been worse

The Bayern Munich forward was pleased with his side’s Champions League quarter-final draw, but team-mate Manuel Neuer is expecting a real test for the German champions

Thomas Muller says it “could have been worse” for Bayern Munich after Friday’s Champions League quarter-final draw saw his side paired with Porto.

The Bavarians, who eliminated Shakhtar Donetsk to book their place in the last eight, avoided the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Italian champions Juventus.

Bayern overcame Porto in the 1990/91 and 1999/2000 quarter-finals, but went down 2-1 to the Portuguese club in the 1987 European Cup final.

“We are satisfied with the draw,” said Muller. “It could have been worse. But we need to pay attention.”

Porto are the only unbeaten side remaining in the competition, however, and Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is expecting a real test when they visit the Dragao.

“The atmosphere in Porto is very heated,” said Neuer. 

“I witnessed the Porto fans during the 2004 Champions League final against Monaco. The atmosphere was amazing. 

“With these fans it won’t be easy for us, but we have played in many different stadiums with varying atmospheres and we will know what to expect.”

Bayern coach Pep Guardiola added: “The draw is the draw. All teams have a special quality. 

“Porto and Shakhtar were in the same group, so we have already watched a few of their matches. Porto have a great team and a beautiful stadium. 

“They are very strong physically and attack with a lot of pace, but in the quarter-finals you can’t expect an easy match.”

The first leg will take place in Porto on April 15, with the return clash to take place at the Allianz Arena six days later.

Ancelotti's worst nightmare as Madrid draw Atletico

COMMENT: The recent 4-0 Liga defeat to Atletico provoked institutional crisis at the Bernabeu and this is the draw that everybody at Real Madrid wanted to avoid


By Peter Staunton

This is the draw that nobody at Real Madrid wanted. Conversely they will be licking their lips over at Atletico. Real may be European champions but there is one team they feared in this Champions League quarter-final draw more than any other. Not Bayern, not Barcelona but Atletico. The reason for that is Real Madrid just cannot beat them.

If there is one certainty from Diego Simeone’s time at Vicente Calderon it is that he has established Atleti as kings of Madrid. It is an anomaly that Real are the best team in Europe but cannot claim to be the best team in their own city. 

Atletico have played Real six times since the Champions League final last season in Lisbon and not only are they unbeaten but have proven themselves to be comprehensively better than their rivals head to head. They have four wins from six matches this season. The two other games finished level. Atletico have scored 12 goals in the process. Real have netted just four. Those signs do not bode well for Madrid over a two-legged knockout tie.

While the record books show a 4-1 win in last season’s final, the truth of the matter is that Atletico were about the width of a goalpost from being declared European champions. Sergio Ramos’s header in injury time just beat the reach of Thibaut Courtois and Real Madrid pummelled their exhausted neighbours in extra-time to lay their hands on la Decima. 

If Atletico were the underdogs then that particular message was lost on Simeone. His reaction to losing the final last season was one of a man who just would not and could not accept what had transpired. He fought with the opposing bench. He lunged for Raphael Varane. He had not let his team accept their billing as third-best team in Spain and sure has hell was not going to accept easily their status as runners-up in Europe either.

His Atleti team had run riot all over Europe, eliminating Barcelona and Chelsea in the process, but were unable to muster enough in the final. Diego Costa, injured in that final, has gone. So too have Courtois and Filipe Luis. Atletico may not be the force they were last season in the Primera Division but they are staying the course in the Champions League. They will have vengeance on their minds. 

While fellow heavyweights Bayern and Barcelona will be relatively happy with their draw, Real will be genuinely fearful for their prospects of progressing.

“We know they are very competitive and it will be difficult,” said Real’s Director of Institutional Relations Emilio Butragueno. “It’s an even tie and small aspects will be important.

“They are a very strong, cohesive team, strong from set-pieces and have a great spirit.

“We have to recuperate all the injured players we have. We are the title holders and we’ll do our best to get into the semi-finals.”

Wind the clock back to early February and Atletico delivered a 4-0 defeat to Real that left the club in institutional crisis. It rocked the foundations and provoked a desperate run of form that had the hierarchy wondering whether Carlo Ancelotti’s time as coach was up. 

That had followed elimination from the Copa del Rey, further defeat in the league and a Supercopa loss over two legs for good measure. Whether it’s over 90 minutes or 180, Atletico have the edge on their city rivals. 

Ancelotti clung on. The last-16 aggregate win over Schalke was unconvincing and only brought more questions. Anything approaching that level of performance on the part of Real Madrid will see them eliminated. 

They can count on the returns of Ramos and Luka Modric, which is good news indeed, but there is no guarantee that the presence of those two will do anything to stop the flow of successive positive results for Atletico.

PSG face Barcelona and Real Madrid face Atleti – Champions League draw in full

The quarter finals of the Champions League will see a Madrid derby while the French giants will once again do battle with Luis Enrique’s side

Paris Saint-Germain will face Barcelona and Real Madird  will meet city rivals Atletico in the quarter-finals of Champions League.

FC Porto will meet Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich, while Juventus face Monaco.

The first leg will be played on on April 14/15 with the return fixture occurring the following week.

This year’s Champions League final will take place at the Olympiastadion in Berlin on Saturday, June 6.

Champions League quarter-final draw in full

Paris Saint-Germain vs Barcelona

Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid

FC Porto – Bayern Munich

Juventus – Monaco