FC Bayern München winger Franck Ribéry admits he is relishing the opportunity to take on French opposition in LOSC Lille in UEFA Champions League Group F on Wednesday night.
The 29-year-old France player – substituted at half-time in Bayern's 1-0 victory at Grand Stade Lille Métropole a fortnight ago – helped his side to a commanding win away to Hamburger SV on Saturday, and is keen to impress against his compatriots.
"Of course I wanted to play 90 minutes in Lille [but] unfortunately I picked up a minor injury. But now I am 100% fit again," said Ribéry. "Of course it is special to play a French team, but it is a game like all the others in the Champions League. We want to win it and I am motivated as always."
Ribéry is likely to encounter a familiar face – French international team-mate Mathieu Debuchy – at the Fußball Arena München, but is not expecting any favours from the visitors. "I know my opponent on the wing tomorrow from the national squad," said the former Olympique de Marseille man. "He is very good and strong. We expect Lille to counterattack well and [compete] with a very physical style. In Lille they were very aggressive and that is what I expect again."
According to the schemer, though, morale could hardly be higher in Bavaria, with Bayern seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga. "The team spirit is great. We are a unit," said Ribéry. "This is what the club want to see, it is the culture here and I think that is why things are working so well at the moment.”
Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes, meanwhile, was full of praise for Ribéry following the 3-0 weekend success in Hamburg. "We play like [people] once did on the streets. Franck is the best example. He is the symbol of our style of football: physically strong and technically excellent."
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