Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben: 'Beautiful' Roma best side in Italy

Arjen Robben has warned his Bayern Munich teammates to drop all their preconceptions about Italian football when they face "beautiful" Roma in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Bayern cruised to victory over Juventus in the quarterfinals two seasons ago and since the Bianconeri have dominated domestic affairs in Italy for three years, many see the 2012-13 European champions as favourites in Rome -- but Robben claims the Giallorossi are not a normal Italian side.

"It's absolutely no surprise at all to see Roma at this level," said the Netherlands forward at a news conference. "In fact, I'd like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to them because the football they play is not normal for Italy. It's much more beautiful to watch.

"These are going to be two interesting games against Roma -- a great test for us to see where we are. Roma play the best football in Italy."

Daniele De Rossi was in the side which recovered from two goals down to beat Bayern 3-2 at the Stadio Olimpico four years ago, but the midfielder believes his club are now in the form of their lives after being absent from the Champions League in the intervening years.

"Roma's ambitions have changed since our game in 2010," the Italy international told a news conference. "We were strong four years ago too and it was a great comeback, but Bayern had already qualified then and were taking it easy.

"This time you could say it's a decisive game. We're as strong as we were back then, if not even stronger."

Roma have already underlined that with a 5-1 win over CSKA Moscow on their return to the Champions League and a 1-1 draw at Manchester City three weeks ago.

"The Champions League is the biggest competition around," he continued. "Over the years, Roma have always done well because we know how to play football. In fact, we've even done better in Europe than in the league.

"We're not going to go out there and play like a small club in front of 70,000 fans. If we play a good game, like Roma, then even a draw wouldn't be bad considering we're up against such a fantastic club.

"I don't know if this is the strongest side I've ever played in, but it is the best moment of my career. I feel surrounded by extremely strong players, a really strong coach and a really strong club. I could not be any happier than I am now."

Bayern defender Mehdi Benatia expects a hostile reception from Roma fans when he returns to face his former club.

Benatia, 27, left the Italian side to join the Bundesliga champions in an estimated 35-million euro move this summer.

Though he had forged a reputation as one of world football's most imposing centre-backs during the one Serie A campaign he spent at the Stadio Olimpico.

Benatia was publicly accused of lying about wanting to remain at the club and of being "a poison" within the Roma dressing room by the Italian club's president, James Pallotta, following the player's departure.

"I know what awaits me," Benatia said. "The tifosi [Roma fans] are going to whistle at me, even insult me given what people have tried to make them believe in the press. But that doesn't worry me. I have never cheated."

The Morocco international has been used sparingly in the Bundesliga by Pep Guardiola, but has started both of Bayern's Champions League group games to date, and expects to experience the highlight of his career so far when he features against his former club.

"It's a special game, but I'm not putting myself under unnecessary pressure. This Roma [side] is very strong and will be tough to beat," he explained, before adding he hoped to experience even greater highs come the end of the campaign.

"I want to go all the way this season. These last five years, Bayern have reached the final three times. I came here to win the Champions League."

Roma, meanwhile, can count on an additional, unexpected supporter in the form of Lazio president Claudio Lotito.

"You've always got to support the Italian sides," he told Radio24. "Our problem is the [UEFA] ranking and it's in everybody's interests that the Italian clubs get results."

ESPN correspondents Ben Gladwell and Ian Holyman contributed to this report.