Bayern braced for mini-final in Valencia, says Martinez

VALENCIA, Spain Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:59pm IST

Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez speaks to the media during a news conference in Valencia, November 19, 2012. REUTERS/Heino Kalis

Bayern Munich's Javi Martínez speaks to the media during a news conference in Valencia, November 19, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Heino Kalis

VALENCIA, Spain (Reuters) - Bayern Munich are treating their clash with joint Group F pacesetters Valencia like a final given a berth in the Champions League last 16 is up for grabs, Javi Martinez said on Monday.

Last year's finalists travel to the Mestalla with nine points from four games, but having beaten Valencia 2-1 earlier in the campaign the Germans would assure themselves qualification with another win.

"Both teams will be going for it," Bayern's Spain midfielder Martinez told a news conference.

"We are in a position where by winning we qualify for the next round. It is like a mini-final for the Group.

"The Mestalla is a tough stadium. Whenever I went there with Athletic Bilbao we always had problems. But now I am arriving with Bayern it is a different story."

Martinez, who has winners medals from the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, was signed for a German record 40 million euros from Bilbao in August but has been used sparingly by his coach Jupp Heynckes.

"When I arrived at Bayern, one of the first things I did was meet with Heynckes and plan the season," the versatile 24-year-old added.

"With Bilbao last season I played more than 60 games and over the summer I only had nine days holiday after Euro 2012 and the London Olympics.

"We decided to take it one step at a time. It would have been madness to play me in every game, because I would have been destroyed after two months."

Heynckes said he was satisfied with Martinez's progress.

"I am pleased and his colleagues are too. They expect him to be a 'top' player very soon.

"Team captain Philipp Lahm told me 'this is just the player we needed.'"

Bayern have a doubt over France winger Franck Ribery, who has bruised ribs, but Heynckes gave little away.

"I hope that he can come through a full training session today," he said. "If that's the case, then he will definitely play tomorrow."

(Reporting by Mark Elkington, editing by Tom Pilcher)

Australian Open

Reuters Showcase

Stake Sale

Stake Sale

Strong demand for Coal India boosts privatisation drive.  Full Article 

Pharma Deal

Pharma Deal

Sun Pharmaceutical wins U.S. approval to buy Ranbaxy  Full Article 

SpiceJet Bailout

SpiceJet Bailout

SpiceJet board approves up to $243 mln share sale plan  Full Article 

AirAsia Jet Crash

AirAsia Jet Crash

AirAsia captain left seat before jet lost control - sources  Full Article 

India Art Fair

India Art Fair

Art fair turns India's capital into art hub.  Full Article 

Romney Opts Out

Romney Opts Out

Republican Romney opts out of 2016 run for president.  Full Article 

Movie Review

Movie Review

"Rahasya" is an ode to Agatha Christie.  Full Article 

Safety Concerns

Safety Concerns

Aviation leaders seek new safety mandate after deadly 2014.  Full Article 

Movie Review: Hawaizaada

Movie Review: Hawaizaada

Movie Review: Hawaizaada  Full Article | Related Story 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage