"An epic match"
What a humdinger of a tie! FC Bayern were paired with Liverpool in Monday lunchtime's draw for the last 16 of the Champions League. "That's a tough one," commented sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic immediately after the draw was made. "It's an epic match," was Arjen Robben's first thought. Coach Niko Kovac is already looking forward to the encounter and appeared confident: "It's an interesting challenge. I'm very confident we'll get through it."
The reaction to the draw
Hasan Salihamidzic: "They're the team of the hour, they're the league leaders in England. They play good football, they're very physical and they're full of energy. You need two good days. They were in the final last year, they're a top side, it's a tough one but these are the challenges that you look forward to as a player and that you have to overcome in your career."
Andreas Jung (board member): "Liverpool are one of the strongest teams we could've got. We'll prepare well and certainly have no fear. It'll be a great away game but the stadium isn't that big, so we won't have many tickets for our fans. We have respect for every team, and certainly for Liverpool. They'll be two great games."
Niko Kovac: "We can all look forward to such a great game. It's the toughest draw we could've been given. Liverpool got to the final last year, they're top of the Premier League and one of the favourites for the Champions League. We're FC Bayern München, though, and I'm sure Liverpool know they've got to come here to Munich for the second leg. The chances are 50-50. We'll see what happens. I'm very confident we'll get through."
Manuel Neuer: "They're having a very good season and we know they were in the Champions League final last year. They certainly won't be delighted with the draw, either. They can counter quickly and they're dangerous in front of goal, but they're also vulnerable, as we've seen, and they'll be up against a good Bayern attack. It'll be a great game both at Liverpool and also at home at the Allianz Arena."
Arjen Robben: "It's an epic match. Liverpool are a super team who have gone through a great development. They have big players, a lot of pace and creativity in attack and they're a real unit. The atmosphere will be phenomenal. It's just a great draw. It's a dream for every player to be involved in a game like this."
David Alaba: "It's certainly not an easy draw. They're a very, very good side with unbelievably good individual players. They've shown, not just recently, what potential they have – they were in the final last season and they're currently top of the Premier League. The excitement is huge, though. I've never played at Anfield so I'm very much looking forward to the game."
Niklas Süle: "In terms of the team, the names and the stadium it'll be an extremely tough match, but we're all really looking forward to it. We need to be at the top of our game and get a good result in the first leg. I'm very confident that we'll come out on top. I'm really looking forward to going up against their attack and seeing Roberto Firmino again. It'll be an awesome experience."
Serge Gnabry: "I'm very excited. I played there last year with Hoffenheim and I can still remember the atmosphere well. It didn't end well on that occasion so I'm hoping for better this time. It'll be a difficult match. Liverpool are a really good team in very good form."