Saturday, April 21, 2018

Guardiola preparing to face ´best back four in Europe´ versus Benfica

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 Apr 2016


Pep Guardiola believes Bayern Munich will come up against the “best back four in Europe” when Bayern Munich take on Benfica in the Champions League.

Bayern’s Allianz Arena will play host to the first leg of the quarter-final tie, with Guardiola hoping to bow out at the Bavarian club with European success before taking the manager’s job at Manchester City.

Standing between Bayern and a fifth consecutive semi-final outing is Benfica, who top the Primeira Liga by five points from Lisbon rivals Sporting CP after a 5-1 win over Braga on Friday.

Benfica’s attack, led by 32-goal striker Jonas, has struck 76 times in just 28 league games this season – 20 more than Sporting – with another 13 goals coming in eight Champions League fixtures.

But Guardiola’s focus will not be drawn to that well-oiled attack, and he told a pre-match news conference: “I’m impressed with the condition of Benfica.

“They possibly have the best back four in Europe, so it will be an interesting game.

“They are not a defensive team though, they defend very high up the pitch.

“We have two games to reach the semi-finals and we want to focus on our own game, of course a victory is better for us than a defeat.

“For Bayern it’s all about being the best, but it will be a very even match with Benfica, they have had a very good season.”

When asked about his determination to leave Bayern with the treble, Guardiola added: “Everyone at Bayern wants to win the treble, but it’s the same in Barcelona and Madrid also.

“I realise that my job is not fulfilled in your eyes if we do not win three titles. If that happens, I have to live with it, but I will know I have given everything.

“Bayern is the best club in the world, but has only won the treble once.”

Prior to his manager lauding the Benfica defence, Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was perhaps understandably keener to discuss the merits of the strikeforce he will be tasked with keeping out.

Jonas has scored an incredible 30 goals in 28 league appearances this term, and Neuer said: “We expect Benfica to be desperate to score a goal. Jonas and [Kostas] Mitroglou are a fire hazard inside the box!”


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