MANCHESTER, England, April 6, 2010 (AFP) - Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben believes he is fit enough to face Manchester United at Old Trafford in their Champions League showdown on Wednesday after recovering from a calf injury.
He missed Bayern's 2-1 victory over United in their Champions League quarter-final first leg last week after picking up the problem in Bayern's 2-1 loss to Stuttgart on March 27 but he has resumed training and told reporters ahead of the contest that he is hopeful of playing.
|Bayern Munich's Dutch manager Arjen Robben (R) and Mark van Bommel speak during a press conference at an hotel in Manchester on April 6, 2010. AFP PHOTO|
"I am here today so that is a good sign," he said.
"I have been doing some training sessions and I feel good, but we will have to wait and see after the last training session.
"I'm ready, I'm here and I didn't travel just to be in the stadium.
"The injury came at a bad time, like all injuries, but I am really glad to be here playing tomorrow.
"It is all about the manager's decision but I think I can be ready.
"I think United will be favourites but I think we can go and have a really good game - we are ready to go."
Bayern's chances of beating United to advance to the last four of the competition for the first time since 2001 - the year they last won the Champions League - have been boosted by the news that Wayne Rooney is unlikely to feature for Sir Alex Ferguson's men.
Rooney is recovering from the minor ankle ligament tear he suffered in the first leg and is a doubt for the encounter.
Yet despite the loss of a player who has scored 34 goals this term, Bayern captain Mark van Bommel is not taking United lightly - and he claims that not only are United still the favourites for the competition, he would actually like to see the England international on the pitch and playing on Wednesday evening.
"I hope that he will play but Manchester United do not consist just of Wayne Rooney, they have a lot of other very good players.
"We will give it our best shot, with or without Wayne Rooney.
"I am hoping personally that he can play because it's important for the people watching and for the Champions League overall.
"I don't know what the situation is, I just hope it is a good match overall.
"We are leading 2-1 but I think United are still the favourites. On the one hand they are at home and I think they are the favourites along with Barcelona to win the title."
Bayern coach Louis van Gaal agrees with his captain that regardless of the current scoreline, United will remain favourites to win the Champions League for as long as they are in it.
"Yes," was his short but simple answer when asked if Ferguson’s side are still the likely winners but that does not mean he is entirely without hope for his side, particularly as they take a one-goal advantage into the second leg.
"We have lots of confidence and we come here with 19 fit players and that is a great situation to be in.
"United are a top team, they have a great squad with experienced players.
"I think the atmosphere will be super, it always is when you play in England.
"They have an away goal so that makes it tough but I'm sure we will be challenging tomorrow."