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Ribery hails ´strongest´ Bayern

21 February 2013 13:50

Bayern Munich attacker Franck Ribery believes his side are the best they have been since he arrived at the club in 2007.

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

"We are very good," Ribery told Bild. "We have not been as strong 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 said European success was a realistic goal this campaign.

Ribery 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. They are not just any club and that was really good for us."

Bayern's first-leg win over Arsenal has seen them strengthen their favourites tag in the Champions League this season alongside the likes of Barcelona.

Ribery believes the 2010/11 European champions are not to be feared.

"Barcelona are different," the France international said. "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 La Liga giants were unexpectedly beaten 2-0 at San Siro by AC Milan on Wednesday and are staring at an early exit.

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Bundesliga table

# Team MP D P
1 0 +0 0
2 0 +0 0
3 0 +0 0
4 0 +0 0
5 0 +0 0

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