Manchester United defender Alexander Büttner is confident he can contain Arjen Robben when Bayern Munich visit Old Trafford on Tuesday for the Champions League quarter-final first leg.
Büttner is likely to start the tie as regular left-back Patrice Evra is suspended, but despite making just 11 appearances this season, the Dutchman is adamant he can nullify the threat that his countryman poses. Robben has been instrumental in Bayern’s recent success since arriving at the club in 2009, and any hopes United have of taking a lead to the Allianz Arena could well depend on how they deal with him on Tuesday night.
“I'm looking forward to playing against Bayern,” Büttner told reporters.
“I feel confident about playing them. I know what Arjen Robben can do and I'm ready for him. I've watched him so I know how he plays.
“I've never played against him before and I haven't watched videos or anything like that to study him but I know enough from what I've seen to know how he plays the game.
Champions League: The last eight teams standing
Champions League: The last eight teams standing
1/8 ATLETICO MADRID
Best: Runners-up (1974)
Star man: Diego Costa
Overview: Have let their chances of winning the Primera Division slip lately, but they are still having a superb year thanks to the 22 goals of Diego Costa. A 5-1 aggregate win over AC Milan in the last 16 will have done their confidence no harm.
Best: Winners (1992, 2006, 2009, 2011)
Star man: Lionel Messi
Overview: Also likely to lose out to Real Madrid for the La Liga title following a recent dip in form. Kept their European dream alive with relatively straightforward 4-1 win over Manchester City in the previous round.
3/8 BAYERN MUNICH
Best: Winners (1974, 1975, 1976, 2001, 2013)
Star man: Franck Ribery
Overview: Pep Guardiola is hoping to join an exclusive club of coaches who have won the Champions League with two different clubs. Bayern, unbeaten in the Bundesliga, wasted little effort getting past Arsenal in the second round.
4/8 BORUSSIA DORTMUND
Best: Winners (1997)
Star man: Robert Lewandowski
Overview: Defeated by Bayern in last year's final. Some 23 points behind their rivals in the Bundesliga and went down to a disappointing home defeat to Zenit St Petersburg in the second leg of their last-16 tie.
Best: Winners (2012)
Star man: Eden Hazard
Overview: Chelsea surrendered the initiative to Manchester City in the Premier League title race last weekend when they lost to Aston Villa, but few would bet against Jose Mourinho winning a third Champions League trophy after their ruthless display against Galatasaray in the last round.
6/8 MANCHESTER UNITED
Best: Winners (1968, 1999, 2008)
Star man: Robin van Persie
Overview: David Moyes has endured a horrid debut season domestically, but his team gave United fans a night to remember on Wednesday when they overturned a two-goal deficit to progress at the expense of Olympiacos.
7/8 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Best: Semi-finalists (1995)
Star man: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Overview: Deprived of a place in the World Cup, Ibrahimovic will be looking to prove to the world that he is just as good as he thinks he is. PSG's expensively-assembled squad hammered Bayer Leverkusen 6-1 on aggregate in previous round.
8/8 REAL MADRID
Best: Winners (1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002)
Star man: Cristiano Ronaldo
Overview: After a 12-year wait, this could finally be the season when Real Madrid finally achieve la decima (the 10th European Cup). Ronaldo is two goals shy of breaking Lionel Messi's record of 14 in one Champions League campaign following his four-goal haul in the 9-2 aggregate win over Schalke.
“He's very good one-against-one, especially when he comes inside. I have to focus on that game and be confident in my own quality. I know I can get the better of him.
“It's not under discussion how good he is, we all know that, but this kind of big game is why you play football. It's what it's all about.”
Büttner has been afforded time to regain his match fitness by United manager David Moyes, with the under-fire Scot selecting him ahead of Evra in two of their past three league matches. Having shone in the two-legged victory over Arsenal in the last-16 though, Robben will be looking to add another English scalp to his collection, especially with the prospect of back-to-back European Cup’s still firmly in their sights.
However, the United left-back feels that although he would ideally like more practice going into such an important game, the two performances against West Ham and Aston Villa have been “vital” in preparing himself for the big occasion.
“I've played two games now and I'm starting to get a good feeling because I thought I played well against West Ham and Aston Villa,” said Büttner.
“It's a big game on Tuesday but it's a chance for me to show what I can do. It's been vital for me to get the two matches because it would have been difficult not to play and that to have to face a big game like Bayern.
“I probably still need a bit more but two games should be okay. After that I hope I can get even more matches.”
A strong performance could also help Büttner put his hand up for consideration in the hunt for Evra’s permanent replacement, as the France international looks to be heading out of Old Trafford and back to mainland Europe when his contract expires in the summer. Sides in Italy and France have been linked with interest in the 32-year-old, with Moyes already showing his intent to bring in another left-back with his pursuit of Leighton Baines last summer.