Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Guardiola: Champions League will not define me at Bayern

SoccerNews in Serie A 22 Feb 2016

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Pep Guardiola does not believe his tenure at Bayern Munich will be defined by success or failure in the Champions League.

Guardiola will leave Bayern for Manchester City at the end of this season, with the club on course to secure a third Bundesliga title in three seasons under the former Barcelona coach.

But they have fallen short at the semi-final stage of the Champions League in consecutive campaigns, with Real Madrid and then Barca denying Guardiola the chance to lift the famous trophy he hoisted twice during his tenure at Camp Nou.

Given Jupp Heynckes won the Champions League with Bayern in 2013 before handing over the reins to Guardiola, the Catalan’s record in Europe with the Bavarian giants could be seen as a relative failure – a viewpoint the 45-year-old is reluctant to take up.

“I’m not dependant on winning the Champions League,” Guardiola told a news conference ahead of his team’s round-of-16 tie against Juventus in Turin. “My time at Bayern will have been amazing anyway.

“We have twice reached the semi-finals but sometimes you forget that there are many great clubs in Europe who all have the same goal.

“What have you done to reach the goal? That is the most important thing.”

Guardiola expects Juventus to provide a stern test of Bayern’s ambitions on Tuesday.

Last season’s finalists are unbeaten in 14 matches since their final group game against Sevilla, with last Friday’s 0-0 draw at Bologna halting a streak of 13 consecutive domestic victories.

Their set-piece prowess, particularly in light of injury woes that leave Bayern without centre-back options Jerome Boateng (adductor), Javi Martinez (knee) and Holger Badstuber (broken ankle), is of particular concern to Guardiola.

“Maybe Juventus are the best team in Europe from set-pieces,” he said.

“All their players are really big and our central defender is [Joshua] Kimmich. We must avoid giving them set-pieces.

“Juve are on a great run, have quality and a great playing style. It will be an interesting game.

“If [Mario] Mandzukic plays, I expect that they will press us. But if we are able to overcome the press we can hurt them.”

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