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.”

Deschamps: Ribery should win Ballon d'Or

The France coach believes it would be a “huge disappointment” for the Bayern Munich star to miss out on the prize after his exploits in 2013

Franck Ribery has been the best player in 2013 and fully deserves to win the Ballon d’Or, according to France coach Didier Deschamps.

The Bayern Munich star is one of the main contenders for this year’s prize after inspiring die Roten to a historic treble last season before helping les Bleus secure a memorable World Cup play-off win over Ukraine.

While Deschamps acknowledges there are several worthy candidates for the award this year, he is adamant it would be “a huge disappointment” were Ribery not to win.

“There are other great players, of course, but in 2013, the best is Ribery,” the 45-year-old told L’Equipe. “He is the only player who meets all the criteria to win.

“He was decisive with France and with Bayern… If he were not to win, it would be a huge disappointment for him.”

The 30-year-old is currently recovering from a rib injury sustained during France’s second-leg clash with Ukraine.

Kolarov: Manchester City can pip Bayern to top of Champions League group

The full-back believes Manuel Pellegrini’s men are capable of securing a win in Munich, while he also feels the team need to improve on their away form this season

Aleksandar Kolarov says Manchester City will go to Bayern Munich next month with every intention of picking up all three points and finishing as Champions League Group D winners in the process.

City, who were already safely through to the last 16, saw off Viktoria Plzen 4-2 at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday to keep within three points of group leaders Bayern.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men play the European champions in their final game on December 10 and Kolarov is intent on trying to get the 3-0 victory needed to see them pip the European champions to top spot.

“We will try and beat Bayern Munich to the first spot in the group,” Kolarov, who was given the captaincy by Pellegrini against Plzen, told City’s official website.

“It was important to win tonight so we can beat them and have a chance to come first in the group so we can avoid some big, big teams.

“But even in second place we will be happy to finish there. We will see what happens in Munich.”

City’s four goals against Plzen on Wednesday means that they have now scored 22 from their last four games at the Etihad.

Kolarov is delighted with the way the team are playing at home but says they now need to improve on their form on the road if they are to have a successful season.

“We always want to play good football in front of our fans and score a lot of goals at home,” he said.

“We have to keep doing this and try to score some more goals away.

“We have the game at home against Swansea and then a couple away. We have to try and win all of these games as December is a very important month for us.”