In a sign quite telling of the stature of this season’s Manchester United, a UEFA Champions League rival is not only preaching his club’s dominance ahead of a tie with the Red Devils, but their complete lack of United fear.
Arjen Robben says Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has “turned us into the most dominant team in Europe.”
And the slick attacker isn’t stopping with his club, turning his sights toward United as the two clubs’ date in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League looms early this week.
From Sky Sports:
“Bayern have no fear of United at all,” Robben told the Sunday Mirror.
“No team can have stroll to the final. We are facing Manchester United, a big name in world football. But we are razor sharp.
“Our football is phenomenal and we want to show that more than anywhere in the Champions League.”
The Bavarians put a bow on their Bundesliga title by clinching it in March, and have shifted their views directly to becoming the first club to successfully defend a UCL title. In showing just how dominant Bayern has been, its 3-3 draw against Hoffenheim on the weekend drew plaudits for the opposition ending their 19-match Bundesliga winning streak.
Robben called the way his club is playing “total clockwork” and lavished praise on Guardiola and his teammates.
“Take our game against Schalke the other week. We played in such a high tempo, that we were 4-0 up within 30 minutes. We don’t let our opponents come up for air. That is the Bayern of Guardiola.”
United hosts the first leg of the quarterfinal tie at Old Trafford on Tuesday, with the return date on Wednesday, April 9.
Take it or leave it.
Manchester City has made a final push for Everton defender John Stones, and has set its last offer at $52 million. Last month, the Citizens made the same exact bid for the 22-year-old, which was rejected by Everton.
[ MORE: Italian legend Christian Vieri looks to join Chinese Super League ]
City is said to be looking to avoid overpaying for Stones, after compensating Porto over $55 million for centerback Eliaquim Mangala two years ago.
While Stones has gone on record saying that he wants to play for manager Pep Guardiola at the Etihad Stadium, it remains to be seen if Everton will part ways with its prized defender.
Following a midweek loss against FC Edmonton, the New York Cosmos will try to rebound at home against Puerto Rico FC.
The Cosmos currently have two losses during the Fall Season, having conceded 10 goals in six matches, which is the second-most in NASL.
[ MORE: MLS weekend preview ]
With no unbeatens remaining, Spring Season champion Indy Eleven looks to keep its place near the top of the table against Miami FC.
Minnesota United looks to build off of its strong start against league leaders Rayo OKC, with the two teams separated by a mere two points.
Meanwhile, the Fort Lauderdale Strikers continue to search for their first win of the Fall Season against the struggling Jacksonville Armada.
New York Cosmos vs. Puerto Rico FC
Ottawa Fury vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. Jacksonville Armada
Miami FC vs. Indy Eleven
Rayo OKC vs. Minnesota United
FC Edmonton vs. Carolina RailHawks
He was tabbed to be Liverpool’s opening day starter in goal, but Loris Karius could now miss the first two months of the Premier League season after suffering a hand injury in Wednesday’s International Champions Cup loss against Chelsea.
[ MORE: Real looking at Sissoko, Verratti as midfield options ]
The 23-year-old was brought to the Reds this summer from Bundesliga side Mainz for over $6 million.
Karius opted not to represent Germany at next month’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in order to avoid missing any game action with Liverpool. Unfortunately, the young keeper will now likely miss between eight and 10 weeks.
His career ended over seven years ago, but former Italy international Christian Vieri is looking to make an improbable comeback in a country that continues to attract big stars.
The 43-year-old Vieri is reportedly coming out of retirement to join the Chinese Super League, and posted a video on Twitter confirming his plans.
Last playing in 2009, Vieri finished his career where it began — in Italy — with Atalanta. During his career, the striker played for 10 clubs in his native country, while also spending time in Spain and France with Atletico Madrid and Monaco, respectively.
Vieri made his name with Inter Milan, where he recorded six straight seasons with double-digit goals. At the height of his career with Internazionale, Vieri netted 27 times across all competitions during the 2002/03 season.