Ribery unaffected by Ballon d'Or snub, says Muller

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

Thomas Muller says Bayern Munich team-mate Franck Ribery is unaffected by his Ballon d’Or snub.

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 to Ronaldo for the individual accolade, 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, though, suffered a surprise 3-0 defeat to Red Bull Salzburg in a friendly encounter.

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, which 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.”

Guardiola: Ribery a doubt for Bayern

The French winger has had pain in his legs and is facing a race against time to be fit for Friday’s clash against Gladbach after the Bundesliga’s winter break

Pep Guardiola has a doubt over Franck Ribery ahead of Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga clash at Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday.

The France winger has returned to training ahead of the resumption of the Bundesliga season after missing friendlies against Al Kuwait and Red Bull Salzburg.

However, Bayern coach Guardiola revealed the former Marseille man is an injury concern for the trip to third-placed Gladbach.

“He had pain in his legs in the last days. Today we have the last training, until now I still do not know whether he can play tomorrow,” the Spaniard is quoted as saying by Kicker.

One player who will definitely not feature at Borussia-Park is midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, who has been out since November due to an ankle injury and is now suffering with a knee problem.

Schweinsteiger is not yet ready to return, but Guardiola hopes to have the influential Germany international back in the near future as the Bavarian giants continue their pursuit of more silverware.

“He is one of the best players in the league in recent years. We need him, it is a pity for us and for him that he has been able to play so little,” the former Barcelona coach said.

Winger Arjen Robben, who turned 30 on Thursday, and versatile captain Philipp Lahm will return to the squad for the clash with Gladbach.

Guardiola is expecting a stern test from Lucien Favre’s side, who are unbeaten in eight league games.

He added: “If we don’t put all of the things that set us apart into action, then we will have problems.”

Lahm could keep out Schweinsteiger, says Beckenbauer

The club’s honorary president thinks the Germany midfielder could face a tough task to win back his starting berth in the Bayern Munich side

Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer believes Philipp Lahm could keep Bastian Schweinsteiger on the bench at Bayern Munich in the second half of the 2013-14 campaign.

Lahm featured in midfield before the winter break due to Schweinsteiger’s persistent injury problems, and the Bayern captain delivered a series of impressive displays at the heart of Pep Guardiola’s side.

Schweinsteiger recently resumed regular training at Bayern’s winter training camp, but Beckenbauer is not convinced the influential midfielder will be reinstated right away following Lahm’s strong performances.

“Lahm could keep Schweinsteiger out of the Bayern starting XI. Philipp could pretty much play in every position, except goalkeeper,” Beckenbauer was quoted as saying by Bild.

“The final decision obviously lies with Pep Guardiola and it also depends on Schweinsteiger’s fitness.

“I hope that Schweinsteiger can play a good second half of the season after all his physical problems in 2013.”

Bayern resume Bundesliga action on Friday evening when they travel to Borussia Monchengladbach. They currently top the league table with 44 points from 16 games.

Henry: Ribery should have beaten Ronaldo to Ballon d'Or

The Bayern Munich attacker this week claimed he did enough to win the award for the world’s best player, and the former Barcelona star has agreed with his compatriot

EXCLUSIVE
By Kris Voakes | International Football Correspondent

Franck Ribery is right in his assertion that he should have won the 2013 Fifa Ballon d’Or, according to former France team-mate Thierry Henry.

Ribery won five trophies with Bayern Munich over the last calendar year, including the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal, yet found himself finishing third behind Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona star Lionel Messi in the voting at last week’s Ballon d’Or Gala in Zurich.

Henry told Goal that the 30-year-old will go down in history for both club and country after a year in which he did everything possible to win the prize for the world’s best player.

“For me, Ribery should have won it,” Henry stated. “I genuinely thought it was going to be a great win. He’s a great player and will remain in the history of both our country and of Bayern Munich as a great player, so he just has to go out there and play now.

“I don’t think he has to prove anything to anyone – he has been doing that for a very long time with Bayern Munich. He won everything but the German Super Cup, so everybody knows what Franck Ribery can do.”

After also playing a key part in France’s dramatic late qualification for the World Cup at the expense of Ukraine, Henry is of the mind that Ribery could be part of a successful les Bleus in Brazil this summer.

“As a Frenchman, I would love to see them do well,” admitted Henry. “Spain are still the team to beat, and who can beat Brazil at their own place? That won’t be easy. Germany and Italy are always around, and then you have Argentina and Messi.

“But whenever Didier Deschamps is in charge of something – whether as a player or a manager – he’s always successful with it. But even if they don’t win it, having a good World Cup can be good for the Euros in France in 2016. Hopefully they can play well, go all the way and make us proud.”

The former Arsenal and Barcelona striker was a member of the French World Cup-winning squad in 1998, and he insists it is vital that his countrymen start the tournament well, with relative underdogs Honduras, Switzerland and Ecuador to negotiate in Group E.

“You need togetherness to win a World Cup, but you also need results because if you don’t win that first game you’re already in trouble,” he explained. “People are going to question you and you might question yourself, and that’s not always easy to prepare for the second game.

“You need to have great players too – not 11 guys, but the guys on the bench and staff too. Sometimes players have to accept they won’t play, but then you might need them in the quarter-final.”

France open their 2014 campaign on June 15 against Honduras in Porto Alegre, and face Switzerland in Salvador five days later.

Henry was speaking at PUMA’s 2014 Nature of Believing event in Barcelona which featured the launch of the new evoPOWER football boot.

PUMA Power players Cesc Fàbregas, Marco Reus and Mario Balotelli put their football skills to the test on the evoPOWER wall, the custom built football simulator that utilises Hawk Eye technology to measure players’ power and accuracy.

evoPOWER was inspired by the freedom of movement of a bare foot and the players showcased their skills and the boots’ performance enhancing technology through four interactive challenges.

Muller: I see no reason to leave Bayern for Real Madrid

The Germany international admits it can be flattering to hear of potential foreign suitors but insists he is happy with life with the European champions

Thomas Muller has made it clear that he sees no reason to leave Bayern Munich for Real Madrid amid reports linking him with a move to the Spanish giants.

The Santiago Bernabeu side are rumoured to be considering a swoop for the 24-year-old at the end of the season, but while Muller admits it can be flattering to hear of interest from foreign sides, he maintains he is happy with life at the Allianz Arena.

“Real Madrid? There has been a lot of speculation about my future in the past few weeks, months and even years. We have all seen what has come from those rumours so far,” Muller told AZ.

“It’s not a bad feeling when you hear about interest from abroad.

“However, at the moment there is absolutely no reason for me to leave Bayern Munich for another club.”

Muller has been in sublime form for the Bundesliga leaders so far this season, scoring seven goals in 16 league appearances.

The versatile attacker has a contract with Bayern until the summer of 2017.