Bayern are better than ever, says Ribery

The French winger, who has been in fine form this season, believes Champions League success is a realistic goal and insists they do not fear facing Barcelona if they get through

Franck Ribery says Bayern Munich are the best they have been since he arrived at the club in 2007.

Bayern are sitting comfortably at the top of the Bundesliga – 15 points over second-placed Borussia Dortmund – and they head into the home leg of their Champions League last-16 clash against Arsenal with a 3-1 advantage.

“We are very good,” Ribery expressed to Bild. “We have not been as stong as this in a long time. I would even say that this is the strongest and best Bayern team in which I have ever played.

“As a team, we are now just more mature, more experienced, and we have grown much more together.

“We have excellent players and an extremely extensive bench. The mood is great within the whole team. But that still does not mean that we will necessarily win the big titles.”

Bayern were defeated in the Champions League final by Chelsea last year, and the 29-year-old winger is adamant European success is a realistic aim this campaign.

He said: “It’s definitely not just a dream to win this title. We are Bayern. We have the highest standards, and always want to win everything, so the Champions League is a very big target.

“Against Arsenal, we have started [the two-legged tie] very well. Winning 3-1 away! Against Arsenal! They are not just any club and that was really good for us.”

Bayern’s first-leg win over the Gunners has seen them strengthen their ‘favourites’ tag in the Champions League this season alongside the likes of Barcelona, and Ribery believes the 2010-11 European champions are not to be feared.

“Barcelona are different [now],” the France international added. “They have a different team, a different philosophy and organisation.

“We no longer have to hide from them. And, quite honestly, I would have no problem if we had to play them in as early as the next round.”

The Liga giants were unexpectedly beaten 2-0 at San Siro by AC Milan on Wednesday night and it is feasible that Bayern will not need to worry about drawing them regardless, unless the Catalunya side can mount a Camp Nou comeback in the second leg.

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