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Bayern braced for mini-final in Valencia, says Martinez
November 19, 2012 / 6:32 PM / 5 years ago

Bayern braced for mini-final in Valencia, says Martinez

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.

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

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

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