22.02.2016 19:00 - in: Champions League S

    Lahm predicts evenly poised tie

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    Philipp Lahm, joined by Arjen Robben, predicts an evenly balanced affair between Juventus and Bayern Munich in the Champions League last 16

    Used to dominating domestically and brimming with ambition in Europe, Juventus and Bayern Munich certainly have their parallels and, according to Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm, these extend to the two teams’ chances of reaching next stage of this year’s Champions League ahead of Tuesday night’s round of 16 first leg in Turin.

    “I’d say each side has a 50 per cent chance of going through. Facing Juventus presents a tough challenge for us. They have put their difficult start to the season fully behind them with a great unbeaten streak. Nevertheless, we need to make sure that we win what is an extremely tricky tie.”

    While the Bianconeri have profited from a run of form in which they have gained 46 out of the last possible 48 points in the league, Bayern have won all but three of their Bundesliga outings this term and are firmly on course for what would be an historic fourth successive title on home soil.

    That, in addition to domestic and continental cup success, remains the objective for Lahm, who insists that they have been unaffected by the announcement of manager Pep Guardiola’s departure at the end of the season.

    “The news has not impacted upon our game one bit. We’re as focused as ever on what we set out to achieve in the coming weeks and months right up until the end of the campaign.

    “That’s what we did under previous manager Jupp Heynckes. We know it’s not that simple to repeat what we achieved that year, as we won everything.”

    One member of that 2012/13 treble-winning side, Mario Mandzukic, may feature on Tuesday for the Old Lady and Lahm said he would look forward to facing his former colleague on the night.

    “We’re happy to come across Mario again. We shared many special moments and so it’s always great to meet your old team-mates with whom you’ve plenty of positive memories.”

    Sitting alongside the World Cup winner was Arjen Robben and the winger stressed that Bayern had already demonstrated an ability to stay strong at the back against Juve’s frontmen despite their long injury list in that department of the field.

    “Obviously we’d prefer to be completely injury-free, but I think we’ve already shown in recent weeks that we’re capable of overcoming the absences in our backline.

    “What’s important is that we keep team spirit high and continue working hard for each other and to win matches.”

    Robben is, of course, a player who has only recently returned himself from the treatment table to play in almost all of Bayern’s last three Bundesliga victories and the Dutchman affirmed that he was raring to go again.

    “I’m feeling in good shape physically and I’ve been happy with my level of performance lately. The only thing missing perhaps is scoring a goal, but the most important thing is that we win as a team.”

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