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Guardiola not distracted by Barca homecoming

Pep Guardiola insists the emotion of his return to Barcelona will not distract him from the task of guiding Bayern Munich to the UEFA Champions League final.

Bayern take on Barca at the Camp Nou in the first leg of the semi-finals on Wednesday, marking the first time Guardiola has faced his former employers since leaving his post as coach in 2012.

The German team beat a Barca outfit coached by Guardiola’s successor Tito Vilanova 7-0 on aggregate in the 2013 semi-finals on their way to lifting the trophy, though the Bayern chief is not expecting a repeat performance.

Guardiola told a pre-match press conference: “It’s fantastic to be able to come back here. I have many memories. It’s really special for me. I spent many years of my life here.

“Now I’m the coach of Bayern, it’s my job and I’m going to give everything I have.

“It’s the semi-finals of the Champions League and evidently it isn’t easy, it won’t be easy but I didn’t think it was going to be easy with some of the other teams we played. It’s a great opportunity to get to the final in Berlin. This is why I’m so happy.

“I was here [Barca] for four years [as coach], obviously it’s normal to have a lot of memories but I knew coaching big teams I knew sooner or later it was going to happen.

“It’s always strange the first time but I’m here not to receive homage, I’m here to get Bayern Munich to the final.

“It’s not a normal game for me but I’m here to do the work. I haven’t been distracted not for one second from what I actually have to do.”

Guardiola remains unsure whether striker Robert Lewandowski will play wearing a mask after suffering a fractured jaw, a broken nose and concussion in their DFB-Pokal penalty shootout loss to Borussia Dortmund last week.

He added: “He [Lewandowski] trained. I’ll speak with him before the game because we need 14 players at 100 per cent. I want to know how he feels with the mask.”

Tue 5 May, 2015
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