Philipp Lahm relishing Man United tie
Philipp Lahm has expressed his delight at the Champions League quarterfinal draw after Bayern Munich were pitted against Manchester United.
The reigning champions will meet United in the last eight of the competition, with the first leg to played on April 1 at Old Trafford, before the return game takes place at the Allianz Arena on April 9.
And while Lahm is pleased to come up against David Moyes’ struggling side, who are seventh in the Premier League, the Bayern captain is refusing to get complacent.
“That’s a great draw. A fantastic stadium, super atmosphere, and we had many great clashes with them in the past. I am looking forward to it,” he told the club's official website.
“We shouldn’t be misled by their Premier League position. They are a great team, they have got outstanding individual quality. We must give it our all in both legs, and then we’ll have the chance to go through to the semis.”
Midfielder Thomas Mueller is also wary of the draw, which will see Bayern and United meet for the 10th time on the European stage.
“There wasn’t a single team before the draw where I would have said: ‘Yeah, we’d prefer them.’ They’ve turned their tie around against Olympiakos with an outstanding performance,” he said. “That show that they have the quality.”
Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer is looking forward to the tie, but is expecting United to make it hard for his side.
“That’s a very attractive draw,” he said. “In the last 16 return leg [against Olympiakos] they have shown they are capable of great things. On a good day they are immensely dangerous. We should not allow them to have two good days. I think the draw is doable but also dangerous.”
Centre-back Dante, who will sit out the first leg through suspension, had a word of warning for his teammates.
“[Robin] van Persie is a world-class striker,” he said. “But we don’t have to fear them. We are ready for those games. We must concentrate from the off, and not allow them any chances. The atmosphere there is very dangerous. They also have many experienced players, world-class players. We must be careful.”
Midfielder Arjen Robben added: “They might not be in top shape, but they still have a great team. We are looking at two demanding games. I am looking forward to that.
“The nicest thing in Manchester is the atmosphere. To play in such an atmosphere, that’s why we do it. We must relish it and at the same time get a good result. They might have problems in the league, but the Champions League is a different story.”
David Moyes, meanwhile, reacted to drawing the holders by saying it didn’t matter who United were paired with.
The Red Devils beat Olympiakos 3-0 on Wednesday to qualify for the last eight of Europe’s Premier club competition.
But they were pitted against Pep Guardiola’s team, who are unbeaten in the Bundesliga this season, in April’s quarterfinals.
Moyes told a news conference: "Firstly, I was thrilled that we were in the draw. When we were 2-0 down to Olympiakos a week or so ago and I don't think a lot of people were putting us through. So in a lot of ways it didn't matter who we drew. We've got the favourites and the holders so it's a really tough draw but one that I'm looking forward to."
Moyes hopes the win over Olympiakos will be a springboard, adding: "There's no guarantee that one result leads to another but you'd rather have a good result than a bad one and we got a really good one in midweek so hopefully we can build on it."
United club secretary John Alexander feels the Red Devils have what it takes to make the semifinals and should draw confidence from Wednesday's win.
"It's an exciting tie. Bayern are a fantastic side, but we have to take heart from our performance the other night against Olympiakos,” he is quoted as saying by BBC Sport.
"Our staff are very thorough and will have done their homework and will be prepared for Bayern. If we can keep them quiet in the first leg and get an advantage then we're more than capable of stealing an away goal."
Red Devils coach Phil Neville took to his official Twitter account to show what he thinks of the club being drawn against Bayern.
Great draw #excited— phil neville18 (@fizzer18) March 21, 2014