The prospect of facing Arjen Robben, one of the best wingers on the planet, does not faze Manchester United left-back Alex Buttner one bit. Robben won back-to-back Premier League titles with Chelsea and has gone from strength to strength since his return to mainland Europe.
After a two-year spell at Real Madrid, Robben moved to Bayern Munich, where he has won three Bundesliga trophies. Although he is now the wrong side of 30, the Dutchman showed he is still among the world's best at Wembley last summer when he skipped through the Borussia Dortmund defence and slotted the ball past Roman Weidenfeller to win the UEFA Champions League for Bayern.
Buttner knows he faces a tough task keeping Robben in check during Manchester United's Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday night, but he will not shy away from the fight. "I feel confident about playing them," said Buttner, who will start at left-back for United as Patrice Evra is suspended.
"I know what Arjen Robben can do and I am ready for him. I have watched him so I know how he plays. It is not under discussion how good he is. We all know that, but I want to do well against him. I will do everything I can to stop him."
Manager David Moyes, knowing that Evra was banned for the first leg of the quarter-final, started Buttner in the 2-0 win at West Ham and on Saturday when United defeated Aston Villa 4-1. Buttner restricted Villa's width with some important challenges and also played a part in the build-up to United's third goal, which was scored by Juan Mata.
Before last weekend's win at Upton Park, Buttner had not played in two months, so is he happy to have got some minutes under his belt ahead of the match against the European champions. "It was vital for me to get those two games and I am starting to get a good feeling now," the 25-year-old said. "I thought I played well against West Ham and Villa."
Buttner was hobbling towards the end of the win over Villa because of a tight hamstring, but the defender said after the match he would be fit to face Bayern. The match against the Germans will only be Buttner's ninth start under Moyes.
Buttner has failed to convince the United manager he is ready to step up and replace 33-year-old Evra, who could leave Old Trafford in the summer as he is out of contract. Buttner admits the lack of playing time has not been ideal, but he praised Evra for trying to help him improve his game.
"It's hard when you're not playing," said Buttner, who moved to United from Vitesse Arnhem in 2012. "I'm a footballer and I want to play every week. I just have to wait. There's another left-back here and he's good as well. You can't just put him on the bench and he has spoken with me a lot. He helps me every day and I appreciate that."