Sammer: Kaiserslautern clash like a final for Bayern

The Bayern Munich sporting director has called for an improved performance from the side as they look to avoid an upset against the minnows

Bayern Munich director Matthias Sammer has warned his side that they cannot underestimate Kaiserslautern in Wednesday’s DFB-Pokal semi-final.

The Bavarians entertain the 2. Bundesliga outfit as they look to retain the competition they won last year and set up a final date with either Borussia Dortmund or Wolfsburg.

The Fritz Walter Stadion side eliminated Bayer Leverkusen in the quarter-finals and Sammer says they must be careful to avoid another upset.

“It’s a final for us,” he told reporters.

“The lads know exactly not to follow Leverkusen’s example. We need to produce a better performance than we did against Dortmund.”

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge echoed Sammer’s thoughts: “It will be important for us not to underestimate the opposition.

“They showed what damage they can do against a Bundesliga team at Leverkusen.”.

Rafinha receives three-match ban for Dortmund red

The Brazilian defender will miss the matches with Eintracht Braunschweig, Werder Bremen and Hamburg, but will return for the final game of the season against Stuttgart

Bayern Munich full-back Rafinha has been hit with a three-match ban following his red card for violent conduct against Borussia Dortmund.

The Brazil international was sent off in injury time of Saturday’s Der Klassiker after lashing out at Dortmund’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

By then the game as a contest was already over, as Jurgen Klopp side earned a 3-0 triumph against the Bundesliga champions at the Allianz Arena.

The German Football Association (DFB) took a dim view of Rafinha’s actions, however, and subsequently handed out a three-match suspension.

Rafinha will miss the league matches with Eintracht Braunschweig, Werder Bremen and Hamburg, but will return for the final game of the season at home to Stuttgart.

“After his red, Rafinha has been handed a three-match ban suspension for violent conduct,” Bayern posted on their official Twitter account

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has trained alone in a bid to be fit for Bayern’s DFB-Pokal semi-final with Kaiserslautern on Wednesday.

The Germany international was withdrawn at half-time against Dortmund with a suspected calf injury, and it remains to be seen whether he will be fit to face Kosta Runjaic’s men.

Winning the World Cup would be a dream, says Schweinsteiger

The Bayern midfielder believes he is reaching his physical and mental peak and is hoping to improve on his country’s third place finish at each of the last two World Cups

Bastian Schweinsteiger has set his sights on winning the World Cup with Germany, claiming it would be a “big highlight” of his career.

Joachim Low’s men are one of the favourites to lift the trophy in Brazil this summer and have been drawn alongside Ghana, Portugal and USA in Group G.

Schweinsteiger has already experienced great disappointment in the tournament, having finished third in the last two World Cups. 

And the midfielder, who won the Champions League last season with Bayern Munich and could do so again this term, is hoping to take home the big prize this summer.

“The Champions League and the World Cup are the two biggest titles in the world,” he told Kicker. “Of course I would also like to win the second. I always wanted to be in this position – responsible for success and failure. 

“The World Cup is a big highlight of my career.”

The 29-year-old believes he is experienced and reaching his physical peak and spoke highly of his partnership with club and national team-mate Philipp Lahm.

“The advantage of my current situation is that the level of experience and physical condition is about the same,” said Schweinsteiger. “As a footballer, that is the best and most beautiful time.

“Philipp and I are now an establish team and we know each other’s moods and tendencies and those things are important for success.

“We’ve both been through a lot together. Losing the Champions League final at home [to Chelsea in 2012] was certainly something that has bound us together.”

Hillsborough remembered, agony for Costa and defeat for Barca – Defining moments of the weekend

Check out the best photos from the latest round of matches throughout the footballing world, featuring the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and more

It was a weekend of emotional tributes, physical agony and heartbreaking defeats as English football remembered the Hillsborough disaster 25 years on, Diego Costa suffered a horrible-looking injury and Barcelona found themselves with a mountain to climb to defend their Liga title.

takes a look at the most illuminating images from across the globe…

Bayern Munich seal Rode signing

The 23-year-old has agreed a four-year deal at the Allianz Arena and will join the club on July 1 from fellow Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt

Bayern Munich have announced the signing of Sebastian Rode from Eintracht Frankfurt on a four-year deal.

The midfielder, who is out of contract this summer, has long been expected to join the Bundesliga champions, with Frankfurt sporting director Bruno Hubner stating in January that the move was set to be completed.

Bayern have now confirmed that the 23-year-old will join the club on July 1 this summer after agreeing to terms at the Allianz Arena.

“I’m very pleased that this transfer has worked out,” he told Bayern’s official website.

“Bayern is the next big step for me. I want to develop here and win a load of titles with my future team-mates.”

“Sebastian Rode is an excellent professional, he embodies the highest level of professionalism and dynamism,” added sporting director Matthias Sammer.

“I’m certain he will give our team plenty of momentum and enthusiasm to tackle obstacles in the future.”

Rode, who joined Frankfurt from Kickers Offenbach for a €300,000 fee in the summer of 2010, has made 28 appearances in the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Europa League for Armin Veh’s side this season.