Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has warmly praised opposite number Thomas Tuchel ahead of Saturday’s DFB-Pokal final against Borussia Dortmund.
Guardiola will end his decorated three-year spell at Bayern at the Olympc Stadium in Berlin ahead of his move to Manchester City.
Bayern have claimed Bundesliga glory in each of the ex-Barcelona boss’ seasons in charge and a win over Dortmund secured the domestic double in 2014.
A penalty shootout loss to Wolfsburg meant they fell short in the Pokal last time around and Guardiola expects a tough encounter with Dortmund, identifying Tuchel as a key factor in their progress to second place and a 78-point haul in the first campaign after Jurgen Klopp’s celebrated tenure as coach.
“Thomas lives football,” Guardiola told the DFB’s official website “He has this passion, this desire to want to know everything, to get better.
“He’s 24 hours a day thinking about his team, the opponents, football generally. I like that about him.
“Yes and no [it surprised me how well he did this season]. No, because I knew what an excellent coach Thomas was. Yes, because he has incredible speed in how he affects the game of Borussia Dortmund. BVB has played a fantastic season.
“Thomas and I understand each other. We have the same passion for the game.
“Any team that has reached the final, has earned it. A final between Bayern and Dortmund has an emotional reach all over Germany. The duel is very, very intense and observed worldwide.”
Guardiola is keen to sign off with another trophy for the Bavarian giants in a tournament that has won a special place in his affections.
“In Spain we have a different system, a round of the [Copa del Rey] with home and away legs.
“That is actually better for the strong teams and a second division or an amateur team have little chance. I like the way the Pokal is played in Germany, there is more excitement and also often surprises.
“It was incredible [in 2014]. Hermann Gerland, my assistant coach, had raved to me all year of this great atmosphere at the final in Berlin.
“When we were there, I realised what he meant. It is a great experience for me, for both teams and the football fans in Germany.”
Guardiola added: “It could have been a slightly easier farewell for us but I look forward to this game; we all look forward. It will be a fantastic final between two great clubs.”