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Robben relaxed as Goetze set for Bayern debut

16 Aug 2013 00:31:53

Robben relaxed as Goetze set for Bayern debut

Arjen Robben has said Mario Goetze's imminent league debut for Bayern Munich can only be a good thing for the defending champions ahead of Saturday's Bundesliga trip to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Goetze, 21, came off the bench and scored twice for Bayern in Sunday's friendly win at Hungarian champions FC Gyor, his first appearance since tearing a hamstring while playing for previous club Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League semi-finals last season.

Having cost Bayern 37 million euros (US$49.2m), Goetze is another top name coach Pep Guardiola needs to accomodate in his star-studded midfield.

Goetze is an option alongside Spain Under-21 captain Thiago Alcantara in an attacking midfield role, flanked by France winger Franck Ribery and Germany's Thomas Mueller, leaving Dutchman Robben on the bench.

The 29-year-old, who scored Bayern's winning goal in May's Champions League final against Dortmund, only returned to the starting line-up last season after injury to Toni Kroos, but the he said competition for places is a healthy thing in the Bayern ranks.

"It was our strength last season that we never lost our quality, even when players dropped out with injury," Robben told German daily Bild.

"You have to trust yourself and not be afraid of the opposition.

"And with a World Cup at the end of the season, even if you sit out the occasional game, it could be a positive thing at the end of the day."

With 10 full international midfielders in the Bayern squad, Brazil's Luiz Gustavo is on the verge of a move to VfL Wolfsburg according to reports while Munich travel to a Frankfurt side who are licking their wounds just now.

While Bayern kicked off the season with a 3-1 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach last Friday, Eintracht were hammered 6-1 at promoted Hertha Berlin.

And they could be forgiven for feeling a sense of trepidation ahead of this weekend's game, given that Bayern have not lost in any of their last 19 away matches in the Bundesliga.

Bayern's Spain star Javi Martinez will also be looking to maintain his remarkable Bundesliga record of having yet to lose a German league match after 25 wins and three draws.

Champions League finalists Dortmund host promoted Eintracht Braunschweig on Sunday with Germany midfielder Ilkay Gundogan out for two weeks with a back injury he aggravated playing for his country in Wednesday's 3-3 draw with Paraguay.

Dortmund got off to a flying start last weekend when Gabon forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick on his Bundesliga debut in the 4-0 win at Augsburg.

And Poland striker Robert Lewandowski is set to make his 100th league appearance having scored 55 goals in Germany's top flight.

Having won promotion, Braunschweig went down to a late goal at Werder Bremen last weekend. Their coach Torsten Lieberknecht and Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp were teammates at Mainz between 1995 and 2001, while Lieberknecht's last five games for Mainz came with Klopp as coach.

Hertha are flying high after their 6-1 victory at home to Frankfurt which went down as the biggest win on the opening day of the season for any newly-promoted club in Germany's top flight.

Having spent last season in Germany's second tier, the club from the capital's result left them as the surprise league leaders after the first week.

"The standings are just a snapshot, if we get beaten 6-1 next week, no one will be interested in what happened against Frankfurt anymore," said Hertha captain Fabian Lustenberger.

Fixtures (kick-offs 1330 unless stated, all times GMT)

Saturday VfB Stuttgart v Bayer Leverkusen, VfL Wolfsburg v Schalke 04, Werder Bremen v Augsburg, Freiburg v Mainz 05, Hamburg v Hoffenheim, Eintracht Frankfurt v Bayern Munich, Borussia Moenchengladbach v Hannover 96 (1630)

Sunday

Nuremberg v Hertha Berlin, Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Braunschweig (1530)


AFP

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