Thiago resumes team training with Bayern Munich

The creative midfielder is one step closer to making his comeback for the Bavarians nearly six months after his last official game

Bayern Munich have received some encouraging news on the injury front as Thiago Alcantara has returned to the training pitch alongside his team-mates after a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

The Spain international last featured for Bayern in the 3-3 Bundesliga draw with Hoffenheim back in March, having been battling a medial ligament problem ever since.

He initially appeared to be fit in time for the 2014 World Cup, but endured a recovery setback shortly before the tournament and did not make the Spain squad.

Thiago has now taken the next step in his recovery process, though, as he briefly joined team training ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Manchester City, before continuing with an individual session.

The 23-year-old will not make the match squad for the match against City or for this weekend’s game versus Hamburg, but Bayern are hopeful that he will be back in action soon.

The former Barcelona man made 25 appearances in all competitions for the Bavarians last term, scoring three goals in the process.

Man United can't afford Bayern stars, says Pep

The coach insists the English giants did not have enough money to buy Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben and Bastian Schweinsteiger despite their summer spree

Pep Guardiola says Manchester United cannot afford to buy Bayern Munich’s star players and believes their decline should serve as a lesson to other clubs in Europe.

Louis van Gaal’s side spent over €175 million this summer on the likes of Angel Di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw.

They were also linked with moves for Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller but the Spanish coach says they were quickly told there would be no deals.

“[United] didn’t have enough money,” he told reporters. “I saw they spent a lot of money. It’s good for my friend Louis. It’s part of the game. 

“All of the clubs in the world want the players of another club. It depends on the player. If the player wants to play he will play. If he wants to stay he will stay.”

“[Their decline] is a good lesson for the big clubs. They think: ‘We are unbeatable and strong’ and they are not here. Maybe the next season they are out.

“That’s why football is magnificent: every single week you have to be ready. Every week you have got to show you are ready.”

Turning his attention to his side’s first Champions League match with Manchester City, Guardiola stressed winning the opening game is very important. 

“The first game is important to set the tone for the group. It’s a tough group and to start with three points is much better but we are going to focus on our style, our game and what we have to do to beat them and play as well as possible.”

The coach then revealed that Arjen Robben is fit enough to be included in the squad, but Franck Ribery is still injured, while he maintains new signing Mehdi Benatia is still settling into the team.

“Arjen is here, Franck isn’t. He is at home. Franck went to the doctor and they told me he can’t play.

“We are giving Mehdi time, I am very pleased with his attitude and his character, but we have to see how his situation evolves. He came from Roma here with little training and was injured, but it gets better every day.”

Bayern players can learn a great deal from Alonso, says Gotze

The World Cup star is keen to get the chance to play alongside the influential midfielder and has set his sights on Champions League glory

Mario Gotze believes new Bayern Munich team-mate Xabi Alonso is an example to follow for the rest of the squad.

The 32-year-old left Real Madrid for the Bundesliga champions in the closing stages of the summer transfer window and Gotze is thoroughly impressed by the midfielder’s personality.

“Xabi Alonso is a very, very intelligent and experienced player with an enormous personality,” the Germany star said at a press conference.

“We can learn a great deal from him.”

Gotze went on to stress that the Champions League remains the most “special” competition and has warned of the danger posed by Manchester City.

“The Champions League enjoys a special status. It’s the most attractive trophy you can win.

“Manchester City are probably our most difficult opponents in the group. They have an outstanding team and outstanding players.”

Bayern also meet CSKA Moscow and Roma in Group E.

Bayern Munich-Manchester City Preview: Toure set to face injury-hit hosts

Pep Guardiola’s side are set to be without several key players for the visit of Manuel Pellegrini’s Premier League champions

Manchester City are hoping to have Yaya Toure available when they open their Group E campaign with a daunting trip to face Bayern Munich.

The Premier League champions are paired with their German counterparts in Europe’s elite competition for the second season running.

Having bowed out at the group stage in their previous two Champions League excursions, the signs were ominous as Bayern trampled early season optimism at the Etihad Stadium last term, leaving Manchester with a swashbuckling 3-1 victory. 

But City bounced back to win their next four European games, including a thrilling 3-2 comeback triumph at the Allianz Arena.

A last-16 exit at the hands of another heavyweight, Barcelona followed, although City captain Vincent Kompany believes his team-mates have nothing to prove as they prepare for a return to Bavaria.

“We’re confident,” the Belgium defender told reporters. “This is the first game of the Champions League, an away game against one of the hardest teams to play against in the world right now.

“But we should take confidence out of the last game we played in Munich. We’re up for the challenge anyway.

“I don’t think we’ve got a point to prove in Europe. I dissociate Europe from the league. But I just want to win games.”

Kompany missed the previous trip to Munich and City will be without another key defender on Wednesday night due to Pablo Zabaleta’s red card at Camp Nou in March.

Bacary Sagna is poised to step in at right-back, while manager Manuel Pellegrini should welcome back Toure after the midfielder sat out last Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Arsenal having returned fatigued from international duty with Cote d’Ivoire.

Toure could capitalise on a troubling injury list for Pellegrini’s opposite number Pep Guardiola in central areas.

Talisman Bastian Schweinsteiger and long-term victims Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez (all knee) remain on the sidelines. And Guardiola voiced concerns over the weekend that too great a burden could fall on fellow Spaniard Xabi Alonso.

The former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder has enjoyed a seamless transition since his close-season move to Bayern and impressed in Saturday’s 2-0 Bundesliga win over Stuttgart.

Bayern’s injury problems are not limited to midfield, with further doubts surrounding influential attacking duo Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

Robben missed training on Sunday with a knee complaint and match fitness could be an issue for Ribery, despite the former France international marking his season debut with a goal from the bench at the weekend.

Defender Holger Badstuber requires surgery after tearing a thigh muscle against Stuttgart to hand Guardiola more problems as Bayern attempt to bounce back from the disappointment of being thrashed 5-0 on aggregate by Real in the Champions League semi-finals last season.

Bayern need to find another gear to beat Man City – Lahm

Lahm, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze all believe the German giants must be at their best to get the better of the Premier League champions when they meet in the Champions League

Philipp Lahm has warned his Bayern Munich team-mates that they must be at their very best to beat Manchester City in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The two sides have been drawn into Group E along with Roma and CSKA Moscow and face each other at the Allianz Arena.

Ahead of the clash, Bayern captain Lahm insists his side must to up their game when they take on the Premier League champions.

“We’ll need to find another gear on Wednesday,” Lahm told the club’s official website. 

“Manchester City are an absolute top team, but obviously, when FC Bayern play at home, we expect to win.”

Thomas Muller echoed the former Germany international’s remarks, stating: “We want to make a good start, [but we need] an excellent team performance.”