Franck Ribéry, and most Bayern Munich players for that matter, are never short of confidence. Even when matched up against EPL heavyweights Liverpool in the first match of the knockout stages, this was evident. Prior to the first leg there were some inspiring slogans of “we are Bayern” and “anything is possible”, and we witnessed what happened.
Bayern was able to come away from Anfield unscathed with a 0-0 draw with everything to play for at the Allianz Arena. Now we still have to see how Bayern will fare when trying to build on a strong first leg and clinch a spot in the quarterfinals.
On the topic of that fated March 13th clash, Franck Ribéry had some similar words:
We’re in a good mood and we’ll be playing at home. Liverpool is a strong side but we are Bayern. We have confidence in our good performances, and we’re not afraid of Liverpool. If we play together and fight, we can move into the quarter-finals. Then we have a real chance!
There it is again; “we are Bayern.” He’s right though, especially about the advantage that comes from playing at home. Bayern has only lost one game at home this season and it was during the October crisis. If the Bavarians utilize this advantage and make it past Liverpool on into the quarterfinals, they would find themselves as one of the favorites to make a deep run. With both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain bowing out early, there’s a big opportunity for Niko Kovac to do something meaningful in the Champions League in his first season.
Related to Kovac, Ribéry had this to say:
The games against Liverpool become very important. I’m really motivated. When you play in the Champions League, it’s a very special feeling with a different atmosphere. I’m fit for the game, and could play. The decision lies with Niko Kovac, but we have a very good relationship and a lot of trust.
With Kingsley Coman and Arjen Robben not practicing, and Thomas Müller still suspended, it is very likely Kovac will have to turn to Ribéry. The 35-year-old Frenchman has always said that he could keep playing at a high level. I can’t think of a better time for him to prove that than this game.