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Daily Schmankerl: News on Arjen Robben and Javi Martinez; the aftermath of Bayern vs. AEK Athens; and MORE!

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A nice Champions League victory leads right into Der Klassiker...who could ask for anything more?

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Arjen Robben back in training (@Sky_Marc)

It’s Der Klassiker week and Bayern Munich would absolutely love to compete against Borussia Dortmund at full strength. Already without the likes of Corentin Tolisso, Kingsley Coman, and Thiago Alcantara, it appears that there is a chance that Dutch winger Arjen Robben could be healthy in time for the game. Robben was at today’s training session.

Will Robben get fit for @BVB? Is involved in training and runs ahead :) @SkySportDE

Die Folgen: Bayern Munich vs. AEK Athens (Bavarian Foortball Works)

AEK had no intention of actually trying to play Bayern at the Allianz Arena and limited the damage to only losing 2-0. Here are some quick hitters on the match:

  • A lot of times when Bayern doesn’t look as fluid or crisp as we would like, we are are quick to jump on the performance of the players or question the coaching tactics, but against AEK Athens yesterday Bayern, showed a few things that have not often been seen in the recent past from Die Roten. There was resiliency, fight, urgency, and dare I say, a bit of relentlessness. There was not much room to operate in front of the AEK Athens goal, but Bayern created enough offense and pressure to break through. Whether it was Robert Lewandowski displaying his superb skill, Thomas Müller trying to thread a pass in, David Alaba carrying the ball in deep and causing chaos, or Leon Goretzka flashing his athleticism, there was a lot of good to see even if it was not a blowout victory.
  • The defensive corps was solid, especially Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels. Alaba was very good as well, but I do get a little worried that Joshua Kimmich has lost his defensive positioning a bit. Against Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker, that could be a lethal mistake against some of the dangerous weapons in Lucien Favre’s arsenal.
  • Müller’s decision to try to thread a pass to Lewandowski in an effort to get the Pole a hat trick - at the expense of taking his own shot - was extremely selfless....but, you gotta take that shot Thomas. Bury it next time.
  • After a rocky start to the game, Lewandowski was superb. Just moments before his dynamic second goal, the Pole was dropped on the pitch and limping around. His hunger for the brace may have helped motivate him a bit to shake that off and put forth a sensational effort to secure the 2-0 lead.
  • Like everyone else, I have absolutely no idea how Niko Kovač will align his squad on Saturday.

If you missed our Match Awards or Observations from the match, please give them a look.

Javi Martinez talks Bundesliga, retirement (TZ)

Javi Martinez has hit a bit of a resurgence in his play and the Spaniard has also become very appreciative of his career in Germany. Specifically, Martinez enjoys playing in the Bundesliga:

The quality of football, the full stadiums, the great fans, the atmosphere. I think the most important thing in football is the fans, and here the stadiums are always full. That’s not the case everywhere.

On what he would tell to foreign players considering the Bundesliga, Martinez is a walking commercial for the league:

You will enjoy it here, you will experience the real football, football, as it should be.

When the subject turned to what Martinez might do after his soccer days are done; the veteran midfielder does not think he will slow down much and revealed what he thinks he is on the agenda:

Do more sport. After my footballing career I will be doing sports all day long. Now it does not work because I would otherwise be too exhausted for my job.

Martinez is a fan of playing basketball, tennis, paddle tennis, swimming, cycling and hiking and would like to spend some time playing all of those once his playing days on the pitch are over.

We may have room on the BFW office hoops team, Javi...slide into our DMs!

(Quick clip of John N. Dillon’s last pregame motivational ploy for Team BFW):

A call for fan groups (BavarianFootballWorks.com)

We are trying something here at the Daily Schmankerl and need YOUR help. If you read my man Tommy Adams’ piece about his experience with the FCBNYC Fan Club (if you haven’t, SHAME ON YOU!), you could see how great the event was. So we want to highlight some of these wonderful groups that are out there globally and this is what we need from you:

  • Name of the group
  • Location
  • Year founded
  • Leadership (if you have people are kind of running the show)
  • Meeting place
  • Social media handles
  • Pictures

We want to be able to feature a different fan group every week this season. Maybe we can do it, maybe not...but only YOU can help decide the fate of this idea. Send your info to: barrelsportsblog@gmail.com