German clubs did well in the first round of Champions League matches this year. Now they are hoping for more success in the second round – with Bayern Munich especially confident.
Things couldn't have started better for the three German clubs in this year's Champions League competition: Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 all won their first matches. Now they want to continue their winning streak – but not all of them have grounds for optimism this time around.
Bayern Munich beat Valencia 2-1 in the first round and are the favorites when in their next match against Belarussian champions BATE Borissow in Minsk. The German team is keen to continue its winning streak, by clinching the tenth victory in a row. One of their best players, Dutch winger Arjen Robben, however is injured - again - but Bayern chief executive officer Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said a win was important “We'd lead the table then, and that is our goal. Still, Borissow is an opponent we should not under estimate,” he said. And Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes is warning against complacency “We have to remember to perform well for the full 90 minutes, instead of thinking about breaking records.”
Schalke 04 is the only German club that gets to play host this week when they welcome the French champion Montpellier on Wednesday. The stadium in Gelsenkirchen is sold out, but coach Huub Stevens' team is far from optimistic. They are still analyzing their botched performance in the Bundesliga at the weekend, when they only managed a 2-2 draw against newly promoted side Fortuna Düsseldorf after what seemed a comfortable 2-0 lead at halftime.
But Montpellier is also keen to make good – they lost their first Champions League match to Olympiakos Piraeus from Greece and need a win to hold on to any chance of making it past the group stage.
German champions Borussia Dortmund meanwhile have the biggest challenge of all three German clubs: They are coming up against Premier League titleholders Manchester City on Wednesday. While Dortmund managed a victory at home against Ajax Amsterdam 1-0, the British club lost away to Real Madrid 2-3. Although Dortmund is not tipped as a favorite to make it through group B, the so-called “Group of Death”, they are full of confidence as they managed to defeat Mönchengladbach in the Bundesliga last weekend by an impressive margin 5-0.
Still, the Dortmund players are looking forward to meeting the Manchester City superstars, Mario Balotelli, Sergio Aguero, Carlost Teves and Edin Dzeko, the striker who played in the Bundesliga with VfL Wolfsburg only last season. “ To play against such a team of stars in such a wonderful stadium – it can't get any better than that,” said jubilant Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gündogan.