After his years with Olympique Marseille, Daniel Van Buyten knows he can expect a tough time on Matchday 3 when the FC Bayern München defender lines up against FC Girondins de Bordeaux in Group A.
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After his years spent with Olympique Marseille, Daniel Van Buyten knows he can expect a tough time on Wednesday when the FC Bayern München defender lines up against FC Girondins de Bordeaux in Group A.
As a former OM centre-back, Van Buyten already has a fair idea of what lies in store at the Stade Chaban-Delmas. "I remember games with Marseille here," said the 31-year-old Belgian, who was at the Stade Vélodrome from 2001-04. "They were very physical games with a lot of passion. Now Bordeaux are the French champions, and I think they are even better than last year. They are a great group and we will have to be careful."
Bordeaux are not the only club to have rung the changes, though, with Bayern now under Louis van Gaal's command after Jürgen Klinmann made way for stand-in coach Jupp Heynckes during the closing stages of last season. Van Buyten is certainly pleased with the progress made to date by the Dutchman. "This season we have a new coach, a new philosophy and we are learning to know it bit by bit," he said. "I think we are getting better game by game."
Bayern's recent progress has not been helped by injuries to wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry, who will both miss the Matchday 3 fixture, though their absences did not prevent Van Gaal's side from beating SC Freiburg 2-1 in the Bundesliga at the weekend. "We showed last week that although Franck is a great asset, and so is Robben, we can play without them," Van Buyten said. "Young players are going to come in and will want to impress the coach. We do not rely on individual players, but on the group."
That same philosophy is also true of Bordeaux, however, and Van Buyten is aware that Bayern cannot afford to focus solely on the threat from striker Yoann Gourcuff and playmaker Marouane Chamakh. "Gourcuff is a very complete player, and a key figure for Bordeaux, but we will also be aware of other players like Chamakh," he said. "We know it is a big team, and one that we will not underestimate."