Van Gaal: Barça are favourites

On the eve of his side's opening UEFA Champions League game against Roma, Bayern Munich coach Louis van Gaal has said that Barcelona are favourites to win Europe's top domestic tournament.

"There is only one favourite and that is Barcelona," said Bayern boss van Gaal in Munich. "Just below them, there is Chelsea, but nothing after that".

Van Gaal's Bayern were beaten 2-0 in Madrid by Inter Milan in last year's final, but Munich have had an unimpressive start to the season after being shocked 2-0 at Kaiserslautern a fortnight ago in the German league.

There is only one favourite and that is Barcelona. Just below them, there is Chelsea, but nothing after that.
Louis van Gaal

"Other teams are amongst the favourites, but we have a lot of ambition this season and we want to show we have improved compared to last season," insisted defender Philipp Lahm.

Bayern face Italian side Roma, Switzerland's FC Basel and Romania's Cluj in Group E this season in the Champion League. "We have to dominate our group and we have avoided a group stage as difficult as last year," added forward Thomas Muller.

From three Bundesliga games so far this season, Bayern have just four points, but even without wingers Arjen Robben (injured) and Franck Ribery (suspended), van Gaal is confident of victory against Roma. "My team has more quality than last year," said the Dutchman.