Bayern brand overpowering claims 'absurd'

There have been increasing calls that the Bavarians’ dominance is harmful, but Matthias Sammer says German clubs must instead look at their own problems

Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has branded accusations that the club are ruining the Bundesliga “absurd” and taunted their rivals by suggesting they instead should look at why they are much weaker.

The Bavarians lead the German top division by 20 points, with Borussia Dortmund sitting second without a realistic hope of catching the runaway leaders.

BVB have been vocal in their complaints that the reigning European champions are too overpowered and are turning the Bundesliga into a league with no competition, but Sammer does not think that the argument holds weight.

“Maybe we are superior to the quality, but also we’re superior with our mentality at the moment,” he told Sport1. “And maybe that’s the message we are sending out.

“The daily training, the daily response – it is a product of our development and no other club in Germany have our methods.

“Overpowering calls are a bit absurd, though. Instead, we should be having a discussion as why other clubs may not be as good at the moment.”

The Roten chief also dismissed claims that the German giants are trying to weaken their opposition in the face of signing up Dortmund stars Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski last year and this coming summer respectively, but says they will not ever restrain their transfer plans.

“There was no decision made to weaken opposition,” Sammer added. “But there are no taboos.

“If Bayern Munich want to do well, we will do what we must in the future. This is a clear message.”

Schalke have been embarrassing, admits Howedes

The experienced defender has acknowledged that Jens Keller’s men have repeatedly let their supporters down of late

Schalke defender Benedikt Howedes has admitted that the Gelsenkirchen side have embarrassed themselves in the past few weeks.

The Bundesliga outfit were hammered 6-1 by Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie before suffering a 5-1 defeat against Bayern Munich at the weekend.

Consequently, Howedes has acknowledged that their performances of late have been well below par, admitting that they were particularly poor at the Allianz Arena.

“It was not worthy of discussion, particularly the way we played in the first half [against Bayern], which was extremely embarrassing. That ruined the whole game for us and there can be no excuses,” Howedes told the official Bundesliga website.

“We were tactically like a schoolboy team. It was really poor. We didn’t get into the tackles and also committed some shocking individual mistakes. It was another bitter lesson for us.

“At the same time, you’ve got to remember that Real and Bayern are not the teams we have to measure ourselves up to, even if that cannot explain the margin of these defeats.”

Schalke will be looking to get back on track on Saturday when they host Hoffenheim.

Who's the wealthiest footballer in the world? Goal Rich List … coming soon

David Beckham was crowned the richest player in 2013, but a number of high-profile names will be keen to take the Englishman’s place

Before retiring from the game last summer, David Beckham topped the 2013 Goal Rich List, commanding an estimated £20 million (€24m) from his off-field commercial activities in 2012 alone.

With eye-watering contracts and major commercial partnerships being signed, the stars names are becoming bigger business players off the field than ever before.

Wayne Rooney can certainly boast a healthy bank balance after penning his new £300,000 (€365,000) per week deal with Manchester United, but is it enough to take the striker to the top of the pile?

The 2014 Rich List will be released this Monday, and there will be plenty of exciting content to go with it. So keep an eye on Goal to see who will be crowned the world’s wealthiest footballer for 2014!

Germany's Philipp Lahm: We were lucky to beat Chile

The Bayern Munich defender admitted his side must improve before the World Cup, while coach Joachim Low praised the visitors for a valiant display

Germany star Philipp Lahm said he felt his team were “lucky” to beat Chile on Wednesday, as they escaped the Mercedes-Benz Arena with a 1-0 win.

Mario Gotze’s first-half strike was enough to give die Mannschaft the victory over the South Americans, who put them under a lot of pressure and created several chances throughout the game.

As the final whistle blew in Stuttgart, the home crowd jeered their side and Lahm admitted he and his team-mates have to improve if they are to have any chance of success in the World Cup this summer.

“If Chile has that many chances, you can call it a lucky victory,” the Bayern Munich defender told ARD after the game.

“The fans paid to see this match and they wanted a better performance, you have to accept [the jeers].

“We have some work ahead of us and we are aware of that. We have to learn from this match. We will be better prepared at the World Cup.”

Centre-back Per Mertesacker insisted the meeting with Chile will prove extremely beneficial as they now know the quality of opposition they will be going up against in Brazil.

“It was like being at the World Cup already – only without the high temperatures,” the Arsenal centre-half said.

“We saw that we have lots to do when we meet an unorthodox team. We should have attacked with more pace since they were playing with four strikers at one point.”

Germany coach Joachim Low praised Wednesday’s opponents, but said the way his side were so easily put under pressure will not change the way he sets up during the World Cup.

“I think now everybody saw how strong Chile is,” the coach remarked. “They are strong technically, tactically and at running. We had many situations where we were not close enough to our opponents.

“There were spaces where Chile were always able to get the ball. We were not able to challenge them.

“Our players must improve so they can play an important part as well. Some of them have to work hard in the following three months to find their fitness and form and they will manage to do that.

“My plan has nothing to do with this match.”

Scolari impressed with Rafinha showing

The full-back is bidding to make a late case for a place in Brazil’s World Cup squad and put in a promising display as the Selecao romped to victory on Wednesday

Luiz Felipe Scolari admitted he was impressed with the performance of Rafinha after a Neymar hat-trick helped fire Brazil to a 5-0 friendly win over South Africa.

The Selecao boss revealed on Tuesday that he is 95% certain of the squad he will select for this summer’s World Cup, but handed a surprise call-up to the Bayern right-back for Wednesday’s game.

Rafinha played the full 90 minutes as goals from Oscar, Fernandinho and a Neymar treble sealed a comfortable victory, with Scolari pleased with his players.

He was very good today and been good in what I’ve seen from him at Bayern. He has integrated well into the squad,” he told reporters.

“The scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story of the game. South Africa played very well, they moved the ball well and played very well. It’s a surprise they are not at the World Cup, looking at the way they played.

 “The difference between the two teams is that we have some very special players who can win games.”

 Brazil will face African opposition at the World Cup having been drawn alongside Cameroon in Group A.