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‘Very special'

Rummenigge on Roma, Thiago and the Pope

Bayern take on Italian giants AS Roma on Tuesday evening in their third Champions League group fixture of the season, with coach Pep Guardiola and his men looking to build on the maximum return of two victories so far and cement “this wonderful first place” in Group E, as Karl-Heinz Rummenigge put it prior to departing for Rome. The chairman discussed Tuesday's match, the forthcoming papal audience and Thiago’s injury.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on...

…Tuesday's opponents AS Roma: “It looks as though Roma could be our biggest rivals in the group. They've been very consistent for 18 months. They came second [in Serie A] last season and they’re second again now. Basically I think they’re pretty much the best team in Italy in terms of form and their two Champions League performances to date were convincing. It'll be a tough but interesting match. I think the two games could go a long way towards deciding the final table. We need to make sure we take enough points from the two matches to hold onto this wonderful first place.”

…the audience with the Pope: “FC Bayern is known to have good connections with the church, which has fortunately led to us being offered a private audience, which we gladly accepted. It's very unusual for a club to be offered a private audience. We'll definitely take a replica shirt with us, although other clubs have already done that. We'll also take a very special gift, but I don't want to say what it is because presents should always be a surprise.”

...Thiago’s injury: “I sense a number of false facts and untruths circulating in public. The truth is that the player has unfortunately injured himself twice. There have been no mistakes, neither by Spanish doctors nor German doctors. It's a very unfortunate set of circumstances. Thiago was determined to recover fitness quickly, especially in the summer, so he may have been trying to cut the recovery time because he obviously wanted to go to the World Cup. We appreciated and understood that. Surgery in America was never considered as an option. Right from the start, after he picked up another injury, it was clear he would undergo surgery in Spain. The Spanish doctor is very good indeed, and incidentally uses the same methods as in Vail in America. He'll have the operation tomorrow. There are no objections from the medics at Bayern. A Bayern doctor, Dr. Hänsel, will be present for the operation in Barcelona.”

…the top of the table clash away to Borussia Mönchengladbach: “We respect every other club, especially those who are second, third or wherever in the table. We visit Gladbach next Sunday knowing it won't be easy, but first of all we have to contest the game in Rome and that'll be very difficult too. We have a very interesting week ahead of us with these two away matches.”