Breitner slams Watzke over Bayern-Dortmund loan row: I didn't expect him to be a sore loser

The former West Germany international says that the BVB official has made a mistake in bringing up the €2 million that the Bavarians gave their cash-strapped rivals in 2004

Paul Breitner has slammed Hans-Joachim Watzke over the loan row between Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, saying that he did not expect the Schwarzgelben CEO to be such a “sore loser”.

Watzke claimed earlier this week that the Bavarians had demanded an eight per cent interest rate on the €2 million they gave their then cash-strapped Bundesliga rivals in 2004.

However, Bayern president-in-waiting Karl Hopfner said that this was an “absolute untruth”, sniping that to compare Watzke to Baron von Munchausen, a fictional character renowned for his fantastical stories, “would be flattering to Watzke”.

Breitner has now weighed in, revealing that he has been left disappointed by Watzke’s behaviour, which he feels has made the Dortmund CEO look petty and bitter.

“He has made a mistake there,” the former Bayern ace told the Rheinischen Post. “I would have expected more from him; not to have been a bad loser.

“This is honestly a shame. Why Mr. Watzke has stepped into the ring, I cannot say. Annoyed or frustrated – whatever it is – it’s not our problem.”

Bayern face Dortmund at the Allianz Arena on Saturday evening, with the top-of-the-table clash set to kick off at 18:30CET.

Debate: Are Bayern right to discard Mandzukic for Lewandowski?

The two strikers clash at the Allianz Arena on Saturday and will be team-mates next year, but is the Pole really that much better than the Croat?

DEBATE
By Enis Koylu & Stefan Doring

Bayern Munich’s signing of Robert Lewandowski on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund was always going to be controversial.

The Bavarians were signing yet another of BVB’s stars, after acquiring Mario Gotze at the end of last season for €37 million, to further strengthen their position as the top side in Germany – despite the fact that they already have another top-class striker in the form of Mario Mandzukic anyway.

So, should Pep Guardiola drop the Croatian, who has performed brilliantly in his two years at the Allianz Arena in favour of the more glamorous forward? Goal‘s experts debate the issue.

“MANDZUKIC HAS DONE NOTHING TO DESERVE THIS”


 
By Enis Koylu

When Bayern Munich lost the Champions League final to Chelsea in 2012, then club president Uli Hoeness was quick to scapegoat Mario Gomez, saying that they would have won if the German was “world class” rather than just “good”.

Mario Mandzukic was promptly signed to replace the former Stuttgart man and delivered Europe’s biggest title less than 12 months later, scoring the opener in the Wembley win over Dortmund. He may not be spectacular, but the Croat’s work rate, commitment and eye for goal are invaluable.

But apparently that’s not enough. Despite having an effective No.9 who has delivered time and time again, Bayern have sought to bring Robert Lewandowski to the Allianz Arena on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund.

The move has, quite understandably, left Mandzukic miffed. The former Wolfsburg man has done little wrong in his two seasons in Bavaria, having won his place from Gomez fair and square.

His contribution to the team is undeniable. With Claudio Pizarro having played a bit-part role this season, he is the only main striker in the first team and has led the line admirably and tirelessly.

And yet Pep Guardiola seems desperate to replace him, having played Gotze and Thomas Muller as strikers – a role to which they seem ill-suited and even leaving him in exile from the first team at the turn of the year.

Since then, he has responded in typical fashion, spearheading the European champions’ front line.

When he is left out, he is missed. When the Bavarians were struggling in the recent Champions League tie at Old Trafford, his introduction heralded a change in fortunes as he immediately set up Bastian Schweinsteiger’s equaliser, before he triggered a comeback in the second leg after they went a goal down.

Beyond that, Lewandowski and Mandzukic have both scored 17 Bundesliga goals – despite the Croatian starting fewer matches. The Pole is hardly more productive, despite all his talents.

Whether it is because Bayern want to weaken a direct rival by signing their star player, or because they simply feel the need to upgrade to an allegedly better striker, Mandzukic has done nothing to be dropped in favour of Lewandowski.

They are both great players, but Mandzukic has proved his worth in Bayern’s XI, not once, but countless times.

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“LEWANDOWSKI IS THE BEST & BAYERN ARE THE BEST”

By Stefan Doring

Robert Lewandowski played his last Champions League game for Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday. On Saturday, he’ll come up against his future employers for, if everything goes to plan in the DFB-Pokal, the penultimate time in yellow and black.

When he moves to Bayern Munich in the summer everything will come together. The best striker in the Bundesliga – maybe even the world – will be lining up for the finest team Germany – probably the planet – has to offer.

The fact is that Lewandowski is a rare talent. His touch is outstanding, his eye for goal is outstanding, his all-round play is outstanding. He is simply the most complete striker in the league and would be of huge importance to any team. Dortmund have benefited from his brilliance for years, as have Poland.

The way he handles the ball is beyond the wildest dreams of other footballers. He puts his body on the line in every challenge and comes away with the ball cleanly. The way all of the facets of his game combine is special.

It’s not without reason that Real Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona have all chased his signature and Dortmund have been vindicated in their decision to hold onto him for another year and lose him for free at the end of the current campaign.

Quite simply, there is no player like Lewandowski in the transfer market.

So, there is no question as to who will line up for Bayern next season. Lewandowski fits better than Mandzukic in Pep Guardiola’s system thanks to his brilliant team work and he is certainly not just a penalty-box striker.

He is a better dribbler, which will help the Bavarians with their game of ball retention, and drops further back to get involved in the play. With his back to goal, he is perhaps the best and often brings his team-mates into great positions.

Lewandowsk versus Mandzukic? No contest.

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Casillas: Madrid will miss Ronaldo

The Spain international hopes the club’s talisman will be fit in time to face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final and is looking forward to facing Bayern in the Champions League

Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas says his side will miss Cristiano Ronaldo while the Portuguese star is out injured.

The former Manchester United ace, 29, suffered a knee injury that kept him out of Tuesday’s 2-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League and will be absent for this weekend’s clash against Almeria – and possibly even miss the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona on Wednesday.

The Spain shot-stopper says he hopes his team-mate makes a quick recovery.

“He’s a big miss. We can’t have him tomorrow and possibly not for the cup final either,” Casillas told the club’s official website.

“With the goals he gives us and his presence, Cristiano imposes himself on the opponent and is important for us. He will know if he’s going to be fit for the final.

“If he’s better he will be the first to know. [On Saturday] he won’t be there but hopefully we can win the game as we have a league in which we’re off the pace, but we want to win to go back up to first.”

Casillas then turned his attention to the Champions League semi-final, in which los Blancos have been drawn against reigning European champions Bayern Munich.

“Now is the most important part of the season and we have a big enough squad to go for all three titles. We go game by game.

“Against Bayern it will be an attractive game because they’re a tough rival and the current Champions League holders. We have to try and beat the reigning champions.

“They have great players but we’re going to give our all to get to the final in Lisbon. We had a bit of a scare in Dortmund, but we will play an exciting game and hopefully it goes our way.”

Guardiola: Real Madrid a huge challenge for Bayern Munich

The former Barcelona boss has described Los Blancos as one of the best counterattacking sides in the world but he is looking forward to facing such a familiar foe

Pep Guardiola labelled Bayern Munich’s Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid a “huge challenge”.

The Bavarians are being tipped by many pundits to become the first side to successfully retain the European Cup since AC Milan followed up their demolition of Steaua Bucharest in 1989 with a 1-0 win over Benfica the following year.

However, former Barcelona boss Guardiola is acutely aware of the threat posed to his side’s Champions League hopes by Madrid.

“The draw is the draw,” the Catalan told a press conference. “But Real Madrid are a tough draw. I know their team well.

“They have a great team and a great coach [Carlo Ancelotti], so it will be a huge challenge for us. But we are looking forward to it.”

The first leg will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 23 and although it has been reported that thigh injury victim Cristiano Ronaldo will not have recovered in time, Guardiola expects to have to contend with the Portuguese superstart.

“I believe he will play against us,” the ex-Spain international stated. “We will prepare for the game believing that he will be in the team.

“We watched their game against [Borussia] Dortmund and will watch them in the Copa del Rey against Barcelona [on Wednesday]. We’ll analyse everything.”

Bayern return to domestic action on Saturday against second-place Dortmund, with the Bavarians side having already secured the Bundesliga title in March, a record seven games before the season’s end.

However, Guardiola insisted his team will approach the match like any other, and spoke of similarities between Dortmund and Real Madrid’s style of football.

He continued: “It will be a real test. If we try and play even a little relaxed tomorrow [Saturday], we don’t stand a chance.

“Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are the best counterattacking sides in the world.”

Ancelotti talks up Guardiola ahead of Champions League semi-final

The Real Madrid boss is a fan of his Bayern counterpart but insists the holders will not find it easy in the Champions League semi-finals

Carlo Ancelotti hailed Pep Guardiola as “one of the best coaches in the world” but warned Bayern Munich his Real Madrid side will present stern opposition in the Champions League semi-finals.

The two teams were paired together in Friday’s draw, with reigning European champions Bayern the bookmakers’ favourites to lift the trophy, but Ancelotti also insists the Bavarians should be worried at the prospect of facing his side.

“Guardiola is one of the best coaches in the world. They (Bayern) have a great team,” Ancelotti said at a press conference.

“The semi-finals against Bayern will be very difficult but it’s not easy for anyone to play Real Madrid either.

“If we want to win the Champions League, we then have to beat everyone including Bayern.”

Madrid scraped through to the semis after nearly squandering a commanding first-leg advantage against Borussia Dortmund.

The nine-time European champions arrived in Germany with a 3-0 lead but lost 2-0 on the night and were forced to endure some nervy moments before securing their progression.

“Yes, we were poor against Dortmund but it doesn’t matter because we made it through to the semi-finals,” added Ancelotti.

The other last four tie sees Atletico Madrid meet Chelsea.

Ancelotti said: “Atletico are the surprise. They are having a fantastic season and their semi-final against Chelsea will be balanced.”