Bayern wary of ‘extraordinary’ Griezmann in Atletico reunion


Madrid (AFP) – Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm insists the German champions must be on guard to stop Antoine Griezmann as they travel to face their Champions League conquerors last season in Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

Griezmann ousted two German sides from semi-finals in recent months as his away goal sealed Atletico’s path to the Champions League final after a 2-2 draw on aggregate in May and then scored twice as France dumped the world champions out of Euro 2016.

“He is an extraordinary player as he has showed against us and in the Euros,” said Lahm.

“He is a very quick player. I don’t think you can compare him with (Bayern striker) Robert Lewandowski, he (Griezmann) plays deeper and is very dangerous on the counter-attack.”

Bayern have been eliminated by Spanish opposition in the past three seasons and failed to score on all three previous visits. A stat which Spanish international Javi Martinez believes means they can’t be called favourites ahead of their trip to the Vicente Calderon.

“We are not favourites, we are playing against one of the best teams in Europe,” said the midfielder.

“They have many players that are difficult to mark. The most dangerous is Griezmann, he scored in the semi-final in Munich, but what makes Atletico dangerous is how the play as a team.”

Carlo Ancelotti, who led Real Madrid to the Champions League at Atletico’s expense in the 2014 final, has replaced Pep Guardiola as Bayern boss with the task of turning domestic dominance into a sixth European Cup.

Martinez added that Ancelotti’s Bayern is slightly more direct than in the previous three years under Guardiola.

And Ancelotti hailed Atletico boss Diego Simeone’s much more defensive and aggressive style that has turned Los Rojiblancos into one of Europe’s most feared sides.

“The trend is to play more direct, to have more efficient possession. Possession allows you to have to control, but the important thing is to have a cutting edge.” added Ancelotti.

“Simeone is a good friend, one of the best coaches in the world and I like his style and his way of playing.

“I would like to play like him now and again.”

Defender Mats Hummels has recovered from a knee injury that forced him out of Saturday’s 1-0 win at Hamburg as Bayern made it eight wins out of eight since Ancelotti took charge.

However, Lahm admitted Atletico would be Bayern’s biggest test of the season so far.

“It is a semi-finalist versus a finalist of the Champions League. It is a top match,” said the former German captain.

“We haven’t always played as well as we would like so far this season in the Bundesliga, but we have managed to win.

“It is still just the group stages, but tomorrow it is important to continue a good start to the Champions League.”

However, with both sides having won their Group D openers over FC Rostov and PSV Eindhoven, Lahm admitted a draw may suit both teams.

“A point away from home against Atletico would be a good result, but our intention is to win tomorrow.”

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