Group D rivals keen to avoid surprises
Thursday, August 29, 2013
"We simply must progress," said Manuel Neuer while noting that FC Bayern München will not have it easy against Manchester City FC, PFC CSKA Moskva and FC Viktoria Plzeň.
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Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Bayern chairman
You can't afford to underestimate CSKA Moskva or Manchester City. It is by no means a foregone conclusion. We have to be focused from the start and go into the competition with a lot of respect. Our aim is to reach the knockout stages.
Philipp Lahm, Bayern captain
Manchester City are definitely the biggest name in there, but it doesn't matter who we play – as defending champions, we go into every game as favourites. We can't afford to underestimate Plzeň or CSKA.
Manuel Neuer, Bayern goalkeeper
The group sounds easier than it is. Plzeň and CSKA are dangerous teams and Manchester City are a top side, but FC Bayern always have to qualify. We simply must progress.
Thomas Müller, Bayern midfielder
It seems manageable at first glance. Man City are tough cookies; we can't afford an off-day against them. I'm already getting that tingling feeling.
Pontus Wernbloom, CSKA midfielder
The group is very tough. It could have been much easier, because we have two top sides among our opponents. There's nothing much to say about Bayern and Manchester City are obviously a very strong club, but last year they lost [third] place to Ajax. Everything can happen in football. I'm staying positive, just like all the guys at CSKA are. I fear no one. It'll be tough, but the chances are good.
Zoran Tošić, CSKA midfielder
I'm delighted to play in a such group, so I'm pleased with the results. Manchester City are progressing and becoming stronger and stronger with each year. It's a big honour to represent the club in matches against such opponents. At the same time, Bayern are a completely different story. They are reigning champions. The matches against them are a real challenge. Plzeň are Czech champions and also difficult opponents.
Of course, we have the chance to go through. We have played with the same squad for a long time and reached a great level of mutual understanding. If we think it's impossible to progress there's no point in going on to the pitch. We'll do everything to qualify for the next round.
Txiki Begiristain, Manchester City director of football
Bayern won three trophies last season so, of course, they will be very strong, but we have to be careful of Viktoria Plzeň also and respectful of all the teams. CSKA are champions of the Russian league and have good players, but we have a lot of confidence. We have improved the team, have a new manager and have enough experience of the Champions League to be strong in the competition.
Pavel Vrba, Plzeň coach
All our opponents belong in the European elite and I am honoured to have a chance to play against teams like these. It will be a very exciting experience as we have never faced English or German clubs before. I will be happy with every point we get – four or five I would consider a success.
We have Champions League experience as well as in the Europa League, though we do not have the same personnel now. Since our last group stage participation [in 2011/12] we have made five or six changes. It will be a great experience for the players who were not with us two seasons ago. I hope that, especially at home, we can please our fans with attractive games.
Stanislav Tecl, Plzeň forward
It is a very attractive draw for us and especially for our fans. Munich is not far away, so many of them may come to support us. As regards our chances, it is clear that all three opponents will be strong favourites against us, but we did not fight to qualify for the group stage to give it up before the final whistle. We will fight for each point.