Bayern Munich veteran Philipp Lahm has suggested that Barcelona are no longer the top dogs in Europe ahead of the Champions League knockout stages kicking off on Tuesday.
The Bavarians humiliated Barcelona last season by eliminating them with a 7-0 aggregate win in the semi-final stage en route to beating Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in the final at Wembley.
Lahm, whose team have been drawn against Arsenal in the last 16 for the second season in a row, does not think Barca have a monopoly on being the favourites as they did when Pep Guardiola – who now coaches die Roten – was in charge at Camp Nou.
“I hope we can defend it,” the 30-year-old said to Kicker when asked if Bayern can win back-to-back titles for the first time since AC Milan in 1990.
“But there are several teams that have the potential to be the overall winner. In recent years, it was always about Barcelona for the title, but now we are the defending champions.
“There is not one team that I can see as favourite for winning the cup. Real Madrid, for example, will challenge us though.”
Lahm has excelled in his new defensive midfielder position this season and says he always knew he could shine in the role, but thinks the Allianz Arena side are doomed in their pursuit of footballing perfection.
“I always thought that I meet the requirements of a midfielder knew,” the Germany international added.
“We can never achieve perfect football at Bayern because the game is always changing. There are always new influences and different styles.”
Bayern head into their visit to the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday on the back of a 4-0 win against Freiburg on Saturday, though they will be without wingers Xherdan Shaqiri and Franck Ribery.