Iturraspe: Bayern Munich interest is just rumour

The midfielder says he is fully focused on “fighting to the death” in the Champions League playoff against Napoli and will not be distracted by the Germans’ reported interest

Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Iturraspe insists talk of a possible move to Bayern Munich is simply rumour at this stage.

Reports have emerged in Spain that Pep Guardiola is considering a move for the 25-year-old after the long-term knee injury suffered by Javi Martinez, as well as the persistent fitness problems affecting Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thiago Alcantara.

Iturraspe, however, says is only interested in the second leg of the Champions League playoff against Napoli on Wednesday.

“Now the rumours are coming out, but I’m just thinking of taking the opportunity here that, a few years ago, I never thought of,” he told reporters.

“It’s a game of great expectation, we have to fight to the death and show that the result is a good one.

“They’re going to play well. Their game is based on counterattacks. We know we have to be on the offensive, to control the game and create chances.”

Athletic take a 1-1 draw back to the San Mames this week and Iturraspe believes the revamped stadium deserves the chance to stage Europe’s greatest games.

“The stadium remains spectacular. We’re looking forward to seeing if we can give it Champions League football,” he said.

Guardiola will lead Bayern to more success, says Hitzfeld

The ex-Switzerland boss is confident that the Spaniard is the right man for the Bundesliga champions and expects more success in the future

Former Bayern Munich coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has little doubt that Pep Guardiola will guide the Bavarians to more success in the years to come.

The 43-year-old guided Bayern to the domestic double in his first season in charge, yet also received his fair share of criticism for his treatment of players such as Toni Kroos and Mario Mandzukic.

Nevertheless, Hitzfeld is confident the ex-Barcelona coach is the right man for Bayern.

“I reckon Guardiola will stay at Bayern for a few more years and I have no doubt about it that the club will continue to be successful with Guardiola at the helm,” Hitzfeld told Kicker.

“Bayern said that they will never fire Guardiola in an attempt to make it clear that his position is stable and that is a good thing. It shows that they are 100 per cent satisfied with Guardiola.

“Success always helps strengthen a coach’s position. But I get the feeling Bayern are on the same page as Guardiola anyway.

“Bayern need a strong coach like Guardiola. Although I get the feeling that he’s open to the opinion of others as well.”

The Bavarians started the 2014-15 Bundesliga campaign with a 2-1 win over Wolfsburg on Friday.

Reus will play for Dortmund for a long time, says Klopp

The BVB coach is optimistic about the attacker’s future at the club, irrespective of rumours linking him with a transfer

Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp is confident that the Bundesliga giants will be able to hold on to Marco Reus amid interest from Bayern Munich and Barcelona.

The Germany international has a contract with BVB until the summer of 2017, but he has a clause in his existing deal that allows him to leave the club for a set fee of €35 million at the end of the 2014-15 campaign.

Dortmund are keen for Reus to sign a new and improved deal without a buyout clause, but talks over a contract extension have so far been unfruitful.

Nevertheless, Klopp remains optimistic over the 25-year-old’s future at the club.

“I have a very good feeling about the Marco Reus situation,” Klopp was quoted as saying by Bild.

“He will continue to play for Dortmund for a long time.”

Reus came through the ranks of the BVB youth academy, but left the club for Rot Weiss Ahlen in 2006. The versatile attacker also wore the Borussia Monchengladbach jersey before returning to Dortmund in 2012. He has since made close to 100 appearances in all competitions for the Signal Iduna Park side.

Ribery nearing Bayern comeback

The Frenchman missed his side’s Bundesliga opener due to injury, but he is edging closer to a comeback

Bayern Munich attacker Franck Ribery has stressed that he is on his way back after a knee injury and is confident that he will soon be fully match fit again.

The ex-France international missed the 2014 World Cup due to a back injury, only to then pick up a knee problem after making his comeback in pre-season.

Ribery consequently missed Bayern’s 2-1 Bundesliga win over Wolfsburg on Friday, but he is hopeful of making the Bavarians’ second home game of the season in two weeks’ time.

“I am feeling pretty good, but I still feel a bit of pain in my knee. Things are a lot better than 10 days ago, though,” Ribery told Bild.

“A return to the training pitch on Monday or Tuesday might be too soon, but I hope to resume squad training on Wednesday.

“Saturday’s game against Schalke comes too soon, but I should be good to go again for the next home game [against Stuttgart on September 13].

“I hope to be 100 per cent match fit again after the international break. I might miss two games now, but I hope to be fit for the remainder of the season. That’s my objective.”

Ribery made 22 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern last term, scoring 10 goals in the process.

Lewandowski: The goals will come for Bayern

The striker has gone 259 minutes without a competitive goal for his new club but is confident he will soon be off and running

Robert Lewandowski is confident he will open his Bayern Munich account soon despite a third game without a goal.

The Poland international’s wait for a first competitive goal extended to 259 minutes on Friday as he was unable to beat Wolfsburg goalkeeper Max Grun at the Allianz Arena.

Grun denied the 26-year-old on numerous occasions, including an impressive save when Lewandowski only had him to beat.

Despite the striker’s misses, his side got off to a winning start as Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller secured a 2-1 win and a fine start to their Bundesliga title defence.

Lewandowski, who was substituted with 11 minutes to go, expects to keep improving as he settles into life at Bayern and is sure he will be contributing goals to their cause before long.

“We won our first match and picked up our first three points,” he said. “I hope the next match will be even better and of course I hope I can score.

“I think I have never scored in my first match. I had two good chances but I think I’ll do better next week.

“Of course a goal would have been good for me but I’m not upset. We have three points. I have to stay calm, but I’m sure I’ll score soon.”

His next chance to open his account on Saturday when they visit Schalke in the Bundesliga.