Robben: Bayern not taking anything for granted

The Dutchman has warned his team-mates over the dangers of getting carried away by their sensational start to their 2013-14 campaign

Arjen Robben has insisted that Bayern Munich will not be taking anything for granted ahead of this weekend’s Bundesliga match against lowly Eintracht Braunschweig.

The Bavarians have been in superb form so far this season, winning 11 out of their 13 domestic assignments to date, as well as all five of their Champions League group games thus far to set a new record of 20 consecutive victories in the competition.

However, Robben says Bayern cannot afford to get carried away, arguing that if they start buying into their own hype that they could easily come unstuck against Braunschweig, who currently prop up the Bundesliga.

“We respect each and every opponent and I’ve often seen in my career that when top plays bottom, strange things can happen,” Robben told reporters.

“That’s why everyone should concentrate on their performance, we have to be fully focused and it won’t be easy.

“You should never take anything for granted in games like these.”

Robben has been a key figure for Bayern in 2013-14, scoring 10 goals in 18 appearances in all competitions.

Ribery: I'm more loved than Ronaldo

The Frenchman says that he does not need his club’s supporters to don face masks in order for him to feel appreciated at the Allianz Arena

Franck Ribery believes the Bayern Munich fans’ affection for him is even stronger than the Real Madrid faithful’s love for Ballon d’Or rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

Around 45,000 supporters inside Santiago Bernabeu opted for an unusual way to show their support for Ronaldo during Wednesday’s Champions League win over Galatasaray by donning specially-made face masks of the currently injured Portugal international.

However, Ribery says that he is not the least bit envious of the Blancos superstar, claiming that he experiences even greater levels of adulation at the Allianz Arena on a weekly basis.

“It was a very nice gesture toward Ronaldo, but the affection the Bayern fans are showing me is even stronger,” the France international told RTL.

“I know how they feel about me and there’s no need for them to show it with actions like this.

“On the contrary, I already know that the Bayern fans love me and they show me just that day after day.”

Ribery has been in sublime form for Bayern in 2013 and is one of the favourites to win the Ballon d’Or, with Ronaldo and Barcelona star Lionel Messi the two other frontrunners.

Gotze: I will only get better

The €37 million summer signing is determined to prove his worth to the Bavarians now that he is fully fit, adding that he is happy to play wherever Pep Guardiola needs him

Bayern Munich attacker Mario Gotze says that he is only going to get better and better in the coming months.

The 21-year-old missed the start of the 2013-14 campaign through injury, but he has been in impressive form in recent weeks, netting a crucial goal in last weekend’s 3-0 rout of former club Borussia Dortmund before scoring a stunner in the midweek Champions League success at CSKA Moscow.

Consequently, Gotze is now brimming with confidence and is optimistic that the best is yet to come from him.

“It is important to bear in mind that I had been recovering from injury for quite a while. I was not 100 per cent yet and it was not easy to gain full fitness,” the Germany international was quoted as saying by TZ.

“But I feel that I am 100 per cent now and that I’m in peak condition. I hope that I will only get better from here on.”

Gotze has featured both in midfield and the false-nine role this season, but he insists that he has no preference as to where coach Pep Guardiola uses him.

“Positions do not really matter,” the playmaker argued. “We are switching positions a lot and always keep moving. We aim to be flexible and unpredictable.

“In the end, we’re just trying to play good football.”

The former Dortmund star has so far netted four goals in 12 appearances in all competitions for Bayern.

Bayern Munich-Eintracht Braunschweig Preview: Bavarians look to extend unbeaten run against Bundesliga's basement boys

Top meets bottom in the Bundesliga on Saturday as champions Bayern Munich host Eintracht Braunschweig at the Allianz Arena.

The odds will be stacked heavily in the Bavarians’ favour, although they have been dealt a blow in the build-up to the clash, with captain Philipp Lahm ruled out due to a hamstring injury.

The versatile full-back was forced off 28 minutes into his side’s Champions League win at CSKA Moscow on Wednesday and will definitely miss Bayern’s next two fixtures.

He joins an injury list that includes Bastian Schweinsteiger (ankle), Xherdan Shaqiri (hamstring), Claudio Pizarro (thigh), Diego Contento (foot) and long-term absentee Holger Badstuber (knee).

Franck Ribery has missed Bayern’s last two games with a rib injury, while a calf problem kept Mario Mandzukic out of the trip to Russia, but both could feature on Saturday.

If Croatia international Mandzukic is unavailable, coach Pep Guardiola is likely to continue with either Thomas Muller or Mario Gotze operating in a ‘false nine’ role in attack.

Despite their fitness issues, Bayern have been almost unstoppable this season and thrashed title rivals Borussia Dortmund 3-0 at Signal Iduna Park in their last league outing to go four points clear at the Bundesliga summit.

Bayern come into the game having won each of their past 17 home fixtures, finding the net 59 times in those outings.

The visitors have picked up half of their eight-point haul for the season on the road, but will take no confidence from their record at Bayern, winning none and losing 14 of their last 18 trips to Bavaria.

Braunschweig will be without Dennis Kruppke (calf) and Ken Reichel (knee), with Jan Hochscheidt also set to miss out, as he regains fitness after a muscle injury.

Coach Torsten Lieberknecht conceded beating Bayern is a near-impossible mission for his side, but expects to see a committed performance from his troops all the same.

He said: “To call it a Herculean task is an understatement. Worldwide, every team tries to bring Bayern to the brink of defeat.

“However, my guys are looking forward to the game and will not put up the white flag.

“We need to be at our maximum but I cannot ask anything super-human from my team.

“Many opponents have already had many ideas [on how to stop Bayern], but none were good enough to get something.”

Cuadrado eager for Fiorentina success despite Bayern Munich rumours

The Colombian has stressed he is determined to fight for trophies with Vincenzo Montella’s side irrespective of reported interest from top clubs in Europe

Fiorentina midfielder Juan Cuadrado insists he wants to stay and fight for trophies at the club despite reported interest from Bayern Munich.

The European champions are the latest club to be linked with an interest in the 25-year-old, but Cuadrado has made it clear he feels he will continue to develop better by staying with Vincenzo Montella’s side.

“This is the right place to grow – I was convinced by that from the first day I arrived here. I want to win at Fiorentina,” he told Sky Sport Italia.

Cuadrado came on as a substitute as la Viola laboured to a 0-0 Europa League draw with Pacos Ferreira on Thursday, and the Colombia international was keen to stress his side were not made to struggle simply due to his absence in the early part of the match.

“It’s nice for me to play often. Returning to the pitch has helped us forget the disappointment suffered in Udine,” he continued.

“I don’t think the team is dependent on my play. I always try to improve, but my team-mates are very important because they help me to express myself better.”