Paderborn-Bayern Munich Preview: Sammer demands improvement from Bundesliga leaders

An 8-0 destruction of Hamburg was followed by a disappointing performance against Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek and the club director wants to see the side hit top form

They may have won their last Bundesliga game 8-0, but Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has called for improvement ahead of their trip to Paderborn.

As proof of just how impeccably high the standards at Bayern are, Sammer has demanded the side gets better after a goalless Champions League draw at Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.

Most clubs would be pleased with an away draw and Pep Guardiola’s men now know victory at home will be enough to progress to the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition.

But not Bayern, with Sammer not in a mood to be complacent following their stalemate.

“Everyone can see we have room to improve before we reach peak form, and that’s the message for the next few days,” Sammer told the club’s official website after the Shakhtar draw.

“We have to shift up a gear. Our performance today was okay, but it wasn’t great … we need to improve.”

A return to winning ways is more than likely for a Bayern side who sit eight points clear of Wolfsburg at the top of the table.

Bayern thrashed Hamburg last Saturday, with Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze all scoring doubles. The win was the club’s biggest in over 30 years and will have Paderborn’s defence on high alert.

After a bright start, Paderborn’s maiden Bundesliga season looks like ending in a relegation fight.

They hauled themselves two points clear of the bottom three with a 2-1 win at Hannover last time out – their first league victory since November.

Paderborn were on top of the Bundesliga before losing 4-0 to Bayern in September.

Gotze scored twice in that victory, while Muller and Robert Lewandowski also netted as the sides met in the Bundesliga for the first time.

Boost for Bayern as Thiago Alcantara returns to training

The Spain international has been sidelined since March year but he enjoyed a run-out with his team-mates on Thursday

Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara has taken another significant step on the road to recovery from a serious knee injury, after returning to “light training” on Thursday.

The Spain international missed the end of 2013-14 season after suffering ligament damage in a Bundesliga game against Hoffenheim on March 29 of last year.

Thiago had hoped to make his return to action during the first half of the current campaign but he suffered a setback last October that necessitated surgery.

However, Thiago is edging ever closer to a long-awaited comeback, after returning to Germany on Wednesday and then enjoying a run-out with his team-mates the following morning.

“In the sunshine and with high spirits, Thiago recorded his rehab training in Munich on Thursday,” a statement on Bayern’s website explained.

“One day after his return to Sabener Strasse, the Spaniard completed a good hour-long run on the grass and sweated further in the Performance Centre.”

On Thursday, Thiago took to Twitter to thank those who have stood by him during his injury nightmare.

“Thanks to all of you that have helped me in these last few months,” he wrote.

Thiago joined Bayern from Barcelona in the summer of 2013, for a fee of €25 million, and the midfielder still has two years to run on his current contract with the Bavarians.

Sammer demands more from Bayern

The former Germany international is not impressed by the Bundesliga champions’ performances so far this year after just two wins in five games

Sporting director Matthias Sammer has demanded more from Bayern Munich after their stuttering start to 2015.

The Allianz Arena side have won just two out of their five games after the winter break, and drew 0-0 against Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

Sammer feels the Bavarians are on the right track but believes they are still some way short of their best form.

“This is not yet the Bayern Munich we would like to see,” Sammer was quoted as saying by Bild.

“We are on the right track, but we are not at the level we want to be at yet.

“We should not be dissatisfied, but we have to remain alert. So long as that’s the case, I’m in a good mood. If not, however, less so.

“We must continue to improve. We are not at the highest level yet. We should look in the mirror and should acknowledge we are not at our best yet. We are still a few per cent off our best.”

Bayern will be looking to return to winning ways when they travel to Paderborn on Saturday.

Thiago edging closer to Bayern comeback

The former Barcelona man has flown back to Germany as he continues his recovery from an operation on his right knee in October 2014

Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara has left Spain to return to Germany as he looks to step up his rehabilitation from knee surgery.

The Spain international has been plagued by injury since his move from Barcelona to the Bundesliga champions in the summer of 2013 and he has yet to feature in an official game this season due to his ongoing physical misfortune.

Thiago underwent surgery on the medial collateral ligament in his right knee in October and has since been working on his recovery.

The 23-year-old is now one step closer to his comeback, though, after flying back to Bavaria for the next step in his rehabilitation process.

“Thanks to all of you that have helped me in these months. Back to Munich,” Thiago wrote on Twitter..

The midfielder has suffered three knee injuries since joining Bayern from Barcelona and coach Pep Guardiola conceded the Bundesliga club may have made a mistake by trying to speed up his recovery when he endured another setback in October.

Thiago has made 25 appearances in all competitions for Bayern so far, scoring three goals in the process.

He has a contract with the Allianz Arena side until June 2017.

Real Madrid equal Bayern's Champions League win record

Carlo Ancelotti’s side have won 10 consecutive games in Europe following their 2-0 victory at Schalke – a run which stretches from last season’s semi-final stage

Real Madrid equalled Bayern Munich’s record of 10 consecutive Champions League victories with Wednesday’s 2-0 triumph over Schalke.

The reigning European champions went ahead at the Veltins Arena via the head of Cristiano Ronaldo, who ended a month-long goal drought in the process, before a superb Marcelo strike doubled their lead late in the game.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men are only the second team in Champions League history to have won 10 consecutive matches, following in the footsteps of Bayern, who set the record in November 2013 with a 3-1 win at CSKA Moscow.

Real Madrid’s run mirrors Bayern’s in the sense that both teams rocketed to double figures in continuing Champions League wins the season after they lifted the trophy.

Their first triumph in the current run started in the semi-final first leg against Bayern in 2013-14 and continued throughout the group stage, when they were the only team in the competition not to drop a point en route to the last 16.

The Blancos, who are top of La Liga by a point ahead of Barcelona but are out of the Copa del Rey, will be expected to break the record outright against Schalke in the second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday March 10.