Arjen Robben said Mario Goetze’s imminent league debut for Bayern Munich can only be a good thing for the defending champions ahead of today’s Bundesliga trip to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Goetze, 21, came off the bench and scored twice for Bayern in last Sunday’s friendly win at Hungarian champions Gyori ETO, his first appearance since tearing a hamstring while playing for previous club Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals last season.
Having cost Bayern 37 million euros (US$49 million), Goetze is another top name coach Pep Guardiola needs to accommodate 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 UEFA Champions League final against Dortmund, only returned to the starting lineup last season after injury to Toni Kroos, but 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, Eintracht were hammered 6-1 at promoted Hertha BSC 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 past 19 away matches in the Bundesliga.
Bayern’s Spanish star Javi Martinez will also be looking to maintain his remarkable record of having yet to lose a Bundesliga match after 25 wins and three draws.
UEFA Champions League finalists Dortmund host promoted Eintracht Braunschweig tomorrow, with Germany international 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 international forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a hat-trick on his Bundesliga debut in the 4-0 win at Augsburg and Poland international 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.
Braunschweig coach Torsten Lieberknecht and Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp were teammates at FSV Mainz 05 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 Eintracht Frankfurt, 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,” Hertha captain Fabian Lustenberger said.