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Bayern Munich fear Wayne Rooney - Franz Beckenbauer

Franz Beckenbauer
World Cup winner Beckenbauer is president of Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich president and Germany legend Franz Beckenbauer admits Wayne Rooney poses a major threat to his side's Champions League hopes.

"He is doing an absolutely fantastic job for Manchester United," said Beckenbauer of the England striker.

"It is not easy to score 33 goals for your club in England, or anywhere else.

"He is a brilliant player who is playing better than ever. We at Bayern will fear him when we play United in the Champions League quarter-finals."

The last-eight tie is a repeat of the dramatic 1999 Champions League final, which United won 2-1 thanks to injury-time goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The first leg takes place in Germany on 30 March, with the return at Old Trafford on 7 April.

First we have to stop Wayne and no-one has been able to do that very often this season

Franz Beckenbauer

"We have a very difficult and busy league and cup programme going into that tie," added Beckenbauer.

"Of course, we would like to knock them out for revenge for losing the 1999 final but it is going to be tough. And, of course, United have Rooney.

"Anything is possible but first we have to stop Wayne, and no-one has been able to do that very often this season."

Beckenbauer also believes Rooney can fire England to World Cup success in South Africa.

"I have never seen him play better and I have been watching him for a long time now," said the 64-year-old Beckenbauer, who has won the World Cup as both a player and a manager.

"If he continues scoring and playing like that he can win the World Cup for England."


Rooney was England's top scorer in qualifying for the finals with nine goals from their 10 games, and the 24-year-old has taken his form into the club season, taking on the burden of scoring more goals following Cristiano Ronaldo's departure to Real Madrid.

Rooney's all-round improvement has not gone unnoticed by Beckenbauer, who says England are among the favourites to lift the World Cup in South Africa this summer - along with Spain, Brazil and Argentina.

"Of course, Argentina have Lionel Messi, who along with Rooney is the best player in the world right now.

"They are different players because Messi is so fast and imaginative while Rooney is so strong, but Wayne has made the biggest improvement to his game.

"He has changed the way he plays and has added a maturity to his game. Playing as the front man, he makes it so hard for defenders to mark him and he is able to use the crosses from both wings so well."

Wayne Rooney
Rooney has scored 33 goals for his club this season

Bayern's former manager, Jurgen Klinsmann, has also tipped the Manchester United man as a possible player of the year in Europe.

"So far, Wayne is playing a tremendous season," Klinsmann told "He's really hungry for goals, and he wants trophies now.

"He looks calm, he looks confident. So if he continues like that, he might get a shot at the European Player of the Year award."

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see also
Man Utd 2-1 Liverpool
21 Mar 10 |  Premier League
Arsenal draw favourites Barcelona
19 Mar 10 |  Europe
Rooney tipped for World Cup glory
02 Mar 10 |  Football
Man Utd 4-0 AC Milan (agg 7-2)
10 Mar 10 |  Europe
Ferguson issues Rooney challenge
11 Mar 10 |  Man Utd
Leonardo hails 'incredible' Rooney
10 Mar 10 |  Football
England 5-1 Croatia
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals

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