Muller primed for Barcelona showdown
Bayern Munich attacker Thomas Muller is prepared to win ugly in his side's Champions League semi-final against Barcelona, insisting the result is all that matters.
Already crowned Bundesliga champions, Bayern have been smashing domestic records galore of late, last weekend recording their 26th win of the Bundesliga season and 13th in a row since the winter break.
And with 89 league goals they are only 12 away from the all-time Bundesliga record of 101 - achieved by Bayern's 1971-1972 vintage.
Having sealed the German championship and booked a place in the DFB-Pokal final, Bayern are only a couple of steps away from becoming the first ever German club to win the Treble.
But none of those statistics will matter when they line-up for their Champions League semi-final first leg against Barca, with Muller and his team-mates only concentrating on the task in hand.
"We want to crown our season, so we'll go to the limit in every respect, myself included," Muller told FCB.tv.
"Barca are confident enough in themselves not to be looking at us. But they won't have failed to notice we're in scintillating form. We have to keep it tight at the back and keep a clean sheet at home if possible.
"That's the be-all and end-all if we want to make it to the final. And I really don't care whether we play pretty football or not. The only thing that matters is the result. I'm optimistic, but everyone knows it'll hardly be a stroll."
Bayern boss Jupp Heynckes has no new injury concerns ahead of the game, with long-term absentees Holger Badstuber and Toni Kroos, plus suspended Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic, the only players missing.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference on Monday afternoon, Heynckes said he expected Lionel Messi to be restored to Barca's starting line-up but insisted his players are expecting to face a team boasting strength all over the pitch.
"Barca aren't just Messi. Barca are much more than Messi," Heynckes said. "Barca are a fine collective. They play football of the highest quality. [But] I have a clear vision of how my team has to play. We have ideas and a clear concept,"
Heynckes suggested that Mario Gomez is likely to deputise for Mandzukic, who has to sit out suspended and expressed his belief that Bayern "are capable of scoring at Camp Nou – one goal, or more" in the second leg.
Also during the press-conference Bayern skipper Philipp Lahm said he was looking forward to "a huge festival of football" and a "clash between equals" with Barcelona.
"We're meeting the best teams of recent years. Everyone has a point to prove," Lahm added.