Thomas Muller insists Bayern Munich will not underestimate FC Rostov ahead tonight’s Champions League Group D opener at the Allianz Arena.
The five-time European champions will face the Russian side for the first time in a group that also contains Atletico Madrid and PSV Eindhoven.
“Rostov will defend very compactly and be physical,” Muller said. “We are professional enough to know there are no easy games and it will be tough.”
Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer echoed his team-mate’s sentiments, saying: “They beat Ajax 4-1 to qualify, so they must be good. We want to win the Champions League - that’s always our goal. But we know we aren’t the only ones who want that.”
Bayern boss Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Kingsley Coman, Arjen Robben and Jerome Boateng will not feature against Rostov despite all three players training with the squad on Monday.
But Joshua Kimmich and Douglas Costa are both fit to start.
“We have been using this week to prepare Coman for Saturday, so he won’t be on the bench tomorrow,” Ancelotti said.
“Robben and Boateng started training with us again yesterday, but they need more time to build up their fitness. Hopefully, they will be ready to play by next week.”
Champions League debutants Rostov finishing second in the Russian Premier League last season before upsetting Ajax 5-2 on aggregate in the play-off round.
Papa Gueye, Micah Mevlut and Andrew Prepelita should retain their places in Ivan Daniliants’ side after starting in their 2-1 win over Krylya Sovetov at the weekend.
Rostov conceded only 20 goals in 30 games last season, topping the Russian Premier League defensive charts.
Meanwhile, PSV Eindhoven defender Jetro Willems has revenge on his mind when Atletico visit tonight, insisting last season’s finalists are “afraid” of the Dutch club.
When the sides met in the last 16 in March, Atletico emerged triumphant, winning 8-7 on penalties after a 0-0 draw on aggregate.
Willems, quoted in Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, said: “I expect revenge and that feeling prevails also in the group. Of course, you look at last season, when we were so close to them. Eventually, it was penalty kicks and then it’s 50-50.
“Now we must play them again twice and we want to get everything out of that. I think that they are afraid of us.”
Atletico eventually lost a final penalty shootout to cross-city rivals Real Madrid. Los Rojiblancos defender Luis Filipe is excited to get this term’s continental campaign under way.
The Brazil defender said: “It’s a grand stadium, a big game, the best competition there is, so we’re excited. I expect a very complicated match - PSV have a good team. We’re going to have to be at our very best to win.”
On Saturday, Diego Simeone’s side thrashed Celta Vigo 4-0 - a scoreline matched by Phillip Cocu’s PSV at NEC on the same day.
Rui Vitoria, coach of last season’s quarter-finalists Benfica, is taking nothing for granted ahead of a home opener with Besiktas, with Napoli and Dynamo Kiev making up Group B.
“It is a balanced group, difficult, and one where I believe everyone will have hope. Our goal is so simple; pass the group stage and work step by step.
“A team like ours has to realise where it is placed on this assembly line; clubs in Portugal are not the end of the line.”
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