Guardiola: Ter Stegen suits Barcelona, but Neuer still world's best

The Bayern Munich head coach believes the German goalkeeper would be a great addition to Barca but still thinks Manuel Neuer is the world’s best

Pep Guardiola believes Marc-Andre ter Stegen would be a great addition to Barcelona, though, insists Bayern Munich still have the world’s best keeper in Manuel Neuer.

Earlier in January, Ter Stegen revealed his decision to leave Borussia Monchengladbach after refusing to sign a new deal, which has fuelled speculation that the 21-year-old goalkeeper is to replace outgoing Victor Valdes at Camp Nou.

Barcelona admitted an interest in Ter Stegen in November and Guardiola says that although he is a talented shot-stopper, Neuer is still the very best.

“Ter Stegen is a very good goalkeeper, one of the best in the world,” Guardiola told reporters.

“But here at Bayern, we have the best in the world. Manuel Neuer.”

Guardiola will be able to see just how good Ter Stegen is when his Bayern side come up against Gladbach in the return of the Bundesliga on Friday.

Ter Stegen has so far been rewarded with three caps for Germany and is a contention for a place at this year’s World Cup. However, Neuer remains coach Joachim Low’s No.1.

Monchengladbach challenging Bayern, Juventus, Barcelona & Man City for record of Europe's best home team

The Foals have won all but one of their games at Borussia Park this term but face a stern test when they entertain the Bundesliga leaders on Friday

By Enis Koylu

Camp Nou. Juventus Stadium. The Etihad Stadium. The Allianz Arena. Borussia Park. The list of Europe’s strongest home fortresses contains some predictable names, but the addition of Borussia Monchengladbach’s ground perhaps makes for surprising reading.

Lucien Favre’s side have made a superb start to the season and are currently in the running for a return to the top four. There can be no doubting that their performances on their own back yard have been the catalyst for the run.

Of the nine games the Foals have played at Borussia Park, they have won eight, drawing just once – their final game before the winter break when Wolfsburg rescued a 2-2 draw thanks to a late Bas Dost goal.

In England, Manchester City have steamrollered every team who stood in their way at the Etihad Stadium, putting six goals past Arsenal and Tottenham and netting four times against Manchester United.

The foundation of Barcelona’s Liga defence has come on home soil, with the Catalans boasting a 100 per cent record at Camp Nou, including the scalp of Real Madrid in October’s Clasico.

Similarly, while Juventus may have struggled in the Champions League this term, the Bianconeri have been dominant in Italy: the only five points they’ve dropped in Serie A so far this season were on the road.

Paris Saint-Germain are coasting towards a second straight Ligue 1 title, with only Ajaccio, Monaco and Saint-Etienne having managed to escape from the Parc des Princes with anything.

Bayern Munich have predictably won all of their Bundesliga games at the Allianz Arena, but are yet to host the likes of Borussia Dortmund, Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen, the last team to beat them domestically.

Perhaps Gladbach have the most realistic chance of scuppering Bayern’s unbeaten season. Their home form has been extraordinary, having defeated Schalke and Dortmund earlier in the season. Were their away form anywhere near as good, they would have a genuine chance of winning their first title since 1977.

In recent years, they have enjoyed a great record against Bayern, too. Last term, they held the eventual champions to a draw in Munich before being edged out 4-3 on the final day of the season on home soil.

They also made Pep Guardiola’s side battle hard for victory in the Spaniard’s first match as a Bundesliga coach last August.

So, while Bayern have always raised their game when playing the best teams in Germany this term, Friday’s encounter is by no means a foregone conclusion. One January evening two years ago, Marco Reus and Patrick Herrmann inspired Favre’s side to a 3-1 win over the Bavarians; who’s to say the Foals can’t do it again?

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Kroos stalls over new Bayern deal

The 24-year-old has just 18 months remaining on his existing deal and is yet to reach an agreement over extending his stay at the Allianz Arena

Bayern Munich are still trying to convince midfielder Toni Kroos to sign a new deal, chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has revealed.

The 24-year-old Germany international sees his current contract expire next year and the Bavarian giants are desperate for him to commit his future to the club. 

But those talks have stalled, with Bayern – who have recently seen David Alaba and Jerome Boateng sign contract extensions – still battling to secure the signature of Kroos.

“To be honest…because the talks so far have not led to a new contract…it’s always about the money in every agreement,” Rummenigge told Kicker.

“We are interested that Toni prolongs his contract.”

Rummenigge also reiterated that Bayern are interested in extending Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic’s contract.

That is despite the impending arrival of Poland forward Robert Lewandowski, who will join on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season.

“He (Mario Mandzukic) is under contract until 2016. I have dropped hints to both him and his agent that we would be willing to hold talks,” Rummenigge said.

“We are very pleased with him. There were quite a few people who shook their heads in disbelief when we signed him form Wolfsburg.

“But he was exactly the type of player we wanted. He has brought in those qualities, and we are very pleased.”

Bayern's Kroos talks stall

The 24-year-old has just 18 months remaining on his existing deal and is yet to reach an agreement over extending his stay at the Allianz Arena

Bayern Munich are still trying to convince midfielder Toni Kroos to sign a new deal, chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has revealed.

The 24-year-old Germany international sees his current contract expire next year and the Bavarian giants are desperate for him to commit his future to the club. 

But those talks have stalled, with Bayern – who have recently seen David Alaba and Jerome Boateng sign contract extensions – still battling to secure the signature of Kroos.

“To be honest…because the talks so far have not led to a new contract…it’s always about the money in every agreement,” Rummenigge told Kicker.

“We are interested that Toni prolongs his contract.”

Rummenigge also reiterated that Bayern are interested in extending Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic’s contract.

That is despite the impending arrival of Poland forward Robert Lewandowski, who will join on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season.

“He (Mario Mandzukic) is under contract until 2016. I have dropped hints to both him and his agent that we would be willing to hold talks,” Rummenigge said.

“We are very pleased with him. There were quite a few people who shook their heads in disbelief when we signed him form Wolfsburg.

“But he was exactly the type of player we wanted. He has brought in those qualities, and we are very pleased.”

Ballon d'Or a bad moment for Ribery – Muller

The Frenchman lost out to Cristiano Ronaldo in the individual accolade but the Germany midfielder is adamant the former Marseille star will build on a successful 2013 for Bayern

Thomas Muller says Bayern Munich team-mate Franck Ribery will not allow his Ballon d’Or snub to destory his form.

Ribery was one of the front-runners to win the award alongside Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo after a successful year with Bayern.

However, the Frenchman ended up losing out on the individual accolade to the Portuguese, but Muller insists it will not affect the former Marseille man’s performances in 2014.

“I don’t see any positive or negative effects,” he told AZ. “It was a bad moment for him – he had hopes that were dashed.

“But he will build on his good performances and show everyone what we can do. He’s on the ball as always.”

Bayern return to domestic action against Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday following the winter break.

The Bavarians have a sizeable lead at the top of the Bundesliga, leading second-placed Bayer Leverkusen by seven points but suffered a surprise 3-0 defeat to Red Bull Salzburg in a friendly encounter last weekend.

Muller says Pep Guardiola’s men have to hit the ground running against Gladbach.

“We have to get out of a holiday mood,” he said.  “We want to show that we are there from the beginning.

“Our goal must be that we get the Bundesliga trophy quickly. Now we need to develop the competitive spirit that has made us strong.

“Gladbach are good going forward. They have strong, simple players who work well together. They have a good coach, a good stadium, good fans. It was never easy for us. It won’t be a walk in the park.”