Guardiola warns of Bayern threat as Man City boss chases 100th Champions League win in record time

By Sports Desk April 18, 2023

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City face a stiff test of character against a Bayern Munich side whose defiance he says is "in their skin".

Although City lead 3-0 from the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final, Guardiola claims his side will on Wednesday be facing a Bayern team who firmly believe they can turn the tie around.

City have looked to have ties wrapped up before and then imploded, most recently in last season's semi-finals when they led Real Madrid 5-3 on aggregate as stoppage time approached in the second leg, only to still be knocked out.

Asked whether he was more confident than before in his group of players getting the job done, Guardiola said on Tuesday: "I would like to say yes, but I don't know. Every game is completely different.

"I didn't say to the team to be careful with Bayern Munich, how difficult they are. They are not relaxed because they felt it, they know it, how good the [Bayern] team is.

"The opponent has many, many weapons, and that's why you have to be yourself. What do you have to do to achieve it? Be ourselves as much as possible."

Guardiola said City were "here for business" and confirmed Phil Foden would be a substitute on his return from appendicitis.

The Catalan coach is on the brink of personal history, being one away from reaching 100 wins in the Champions League, a feat only previously achieved by Carlo Ancelotti (105) and Alex Ferguson (102).

Should be complete that century on Wednesday, it would have come in just 158 games, with Ancelotti having needed 180 games and Ferguson 184.

Guardiola said City had not come to Munich to sit on their lead, but as and when the circumstances demand it, they will dig in defensively.

"I don't understand the situation of coming here just to defend something," said Guardiola, who coached Bayern from 2013 to 2016. "We come here to play one football game. If you think about just the result and what you have to do, or what we have done in the past, it would be a big mistake for us.

"We are going to defend, for sure. It happened in Manchester. For part of the game, they were better, and we had to defend, and we're going to defend tomorrow.

"For us, it's an opportunity. You see the [Bayern] trophy cabinet and how many times they have played this type of game in their incredible history, it is a lot.

"We are a few. We're going to try to impose our game. We come here knowing the quality they have, adapt quick to maybe some new formation of the opponent, and do our game.

"We talk about the game we have to play and not talk about the result we had one week ago. It's what you have to do in the game and focus in every single action to do what you have to do to get the result as best as possible to reach the semi-final."

Guardiola suspects Thomas Tuchel and Bayern will be saying much the same thing.

"I've been here at Bayern Munich and know the mentality of this club," Guardiola said. "It's everywhere: it's in [the club's HQ at] Sabener Strasse, it's in their skin.

"I know they believe they can do it, and we believe, too."

Guardiola expects Bayern's Thomas Muller to start, having only been a substitute in the first leg.

Should that be the case, City captain Ilkay Gundogan will be among those keeping a close eye on the man who can make Bayern tick, whom he knows well from their time together in Germany's midfield.

Gundogan's City future remains in the balance, with his contract expiring at the end of June, and the 32-year-old could offer no guidance on whether he will be staying in Manchester.

"There are talks. Obviously there are talks in the background. That's quite normal with just a couple of months left," Gundogan said. "Before going too much into details, there is nothing decided yet, not from my side and not from the club's side."

The skipper was delighted to hear Guardiola wants him to stay, saying: "I appreciate it a lot. We've been together seven years, and it's been amazing. We've won a lot together and to hear things like that brings me joy, brings me a smile and makes me appreciate what I've done in the seven years."

City have only lost one of their last 20 matches against German teams in the Champions League (W16 D3), losing away to RB Leipzig in the 2021-22 group stage.

They are unbeaten in their nine games against German sides in the knockout stages of the competition (W8 D1), although Bayern have only lost both legs of a Champions League knockout tie twice before, and both times it came against Real Madrid – in the 2013-14 semi-finals and the 2016-17 quarter-finals.

Their heaviest aggregate defeat was in the first of those ties, losing 5-0 against the Spanish side when Guardiola was Bayern head coach.

Related items

  • Atletico shift Saul out on loan to LaLiga rivals Sevilla Atletico shift Saul out on loan to LaLiga rivals Sevilla

    Saul Niguez has moved from Atletico Madrid on loan to Sevilla with the option of an extension after the 2024-25 campaign.

    Both LaLiga clubs confirmed the transfer agreement on Monday, with each side referencing the "possibility of an extension" past the upcoming season.

    The 29-year-old has started just 25 La Liga games across the last two seasons for Atletico, who are reportedly keen to reduce their expenditure on their first-team squad salary.

    Reports in Spain suggest the midfielder has a three-year offer from league rivals Sevilla, though a complex transfer means the deal cannot be described as a purchase option with the possibility of a return to Atletico.

    Saul made 49 appearances for Diego Simeone's men last season, though starts were limited as Atletico finished fourth in the Spanish top flight.

    He has been capped 19 times by Spain and made 23 appearances for Chelsea, his last loan spell in the 2022-23 season before returning to Simeone's team.

    Saul's addition marks the fourth arrival in Andalusia, with Arsenal's Albert Sambi Lokonga also loaned, along with moves for Chidera Ejuke and Peque Fernandez.

  • Ten Hag slams 'not good enough' Man Utd after surprise friendly defeat to Rosenborg Ten Hag slams 'not good enough' Man Utd after surprise friendly defeat to Rosenborg

    Erik ten Hag slammed Manchester United as "by far not good enough" after their shock friendly defeat to Rosenborg on Monday.

    The Red Devils suffered a late 1-0 loss at Lerkendal Stadion after Noah Holm's 93rd-minute winner.

    An underwhelming performance in their first pre-season game was in stark contrast to their last outing before that, a 2-1 victory over rivals Manchester City in the FA Cup final.

    Rosenborg were denied by the woodwork on four separate occasions while attempting 22 shots to United's meagre five.

    Ten Hag started the likes of Casemiro, Jonny Evans, Marcus Rashford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Mason Mount, leaving the United boss somewhat furious with their efforts in Trondheim.

    "The result is not secondary. We play pre-season but at Manchester United, there's a standard," said Ten Hag to MUTV after the game.

    "You win games. Definitely, you don't lose games. If you can't win, don't lose the game as we did at the end, the last second of the game.

    "The performance is more important. The performance was below standard."

    Radek Vitek, United's 20-year-old goalkeeper, was forced into seven saves in a one-sided pre-season meeting as the only Red Devils player to impress.

    "Let's say he got the opportunity from the team to make some very good saves because our performance as a team is by far not good enough," Ten Hag responded when asked about Vitek's showing.

    "I have seen this is not the standard for top football. Top football, you have to achieve much higher standards. It starts with any individual, make sure you are fit.

    "I know we can't be match fit in this moment, therefore, you need these games. I know we are playing an opponent who are in their league, they have a much higher fitness level.

    "But still we are Man Utd and players and teams from Man Utd must perform better."

    Ten Hag's only credit from the game was placed on the youngsters who came on at half-time in wholesale changes.

    "They always listen, they try to transfer. We didn't succeed today," the Dutchman said of his younger players.

    "But the attitude, they want to transfer the coaching play model, they are always willing to do it. But it is clear today we didn't transfer it to the pitch."

  • Lionesses captain Williamson reminds Three Lions of successes despite Euro 2024 agony Lionesses captain Williamson reminds Three Lions of successes despite Euro 2024 agony

    England responding to their Euro 2024 heartbreak with success in the future will taste "even sweeter", according to Lionesses captain Leah Williamson.

    The England Women's star launched a staunch defence of Gareth Southgate's men's side after their 2-1 defeat in the European Championship final to Spain.

    Southgate's Three Lions are the first side in history to lose two consecutive Euros finals, while the England manager is the first to suffer defeat in two separate showpieces of the tournament.

    Having lost the Women's World Cup final to Spain last year, Williamson can somewhat relate, but reminded England supporters of the good times under Southgate, whose future remains uncertain.

    "Devastated, especially knowing some of them personally as well," Williamson told reporters ahead of Tuesday's clash with Sweden in qualifying for the Women's European Championship in 2025.

    "What Gareth and his team have done over the last three, four years, reaching finals and bringing that dream closer to reality, we are very lucky as fans of England, men's and women's, to be in the position that we're in.

    "They didn't quite get over the line to a fantastic Spanish team, I know they'll be devastated about it, it will take a while for them to get over it.

    "But us as a country, we've been blessed with incredible tournaments. And when those wins come, which I do believe they will, then they'll be even sweeter."

    England Women's boss Sarina Wiegman led her side to Euro 2022 glory against Germany before the agony against Spain the following year.

    Therefore, Wiegman knows all too well about suffering from setbacks.

    "Takes about three weeks, it took me three weeks to get over it," an honest Wiegman said on how Southgate and Co. will recover.

    "It's very hard ... when you have given your everything, then you hope you win and when you don't, you are really disappointed.

    "But then you start thinking: Okay, did we get everything out of ourselves? Did we do everything that we could that was in our control?

    "And then you have to accept it. It's easier to accept a win than to accept a loss but yeah, for me that takes it took a while."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.