Thursday, March 30, 2023

Bayern ready for ´strongest possible opponent´ in Guardiola´s Man City

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 17 Mar 2023

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Hasan Salihamidzic believes Bayern Munich will be ready to face Manchester City after being paired with the “strongest possible opponent” in Friday’s Champions League quarter-final draw.

City recovered from a shaky first leg against RB Leipzig to thump them 7-0 at home and secure their place in the last eight with an 8-1 aggregate victory.

Bayern, meanwhile, impressively eased past French champions Paris Saint-Germain 3-0 on aggregate to set them up for a tie against City which will see Pep Guardiola return to the club he coached between 2013 and 2016.

Bayern sporting director Salihamidzic is relishing the opportunity to face off against one of the favourites, telling reporters: “I like playing against the good teams.

“Our boys are very focused and this is a top tie. It’s a tough opponent, the strongest possible in my opinion.

“So this is another little final. After Paris, this is again a group we have to play that has a lot of quality.

“They won very convincingly against Leipzig. We will see Pep Guardiola again and I’m looking forward to the games.”

Prolific striker Erling Haaland has scored 39 goals in all competitions since signing for City, including five against Leipzig in City’s second-leg rout on Tuesday.

But while Salihamidzic acknowledged the quality Haaland and City possess, he has confidence in his team’s defence to hold up against such a formidable attacking force.

“Haaland is one of the best strikers in the world,” Salihamidzic added. “He does it very, very well.

“But we defended very well against Paris. I believe that we perform best against the best teams.

“These are also the highlights of the season for the fans. This is a top pairing. I’m looking forward to it.”

Bayern CEO Oliver Kahn feels games against the likes of City are a great litmus test for whether the Bavarian side have what it takes to go on and lift their seventh Champions League.

Like Salihamidzic, he appeared to be relishing the challenge.

“Manchester City are an absolute top team, but we are Bayern Munich,” Kahn said.

“We must and will be ready for this big opponent. If you want to win the Champions League, you have to beat the best.

“That’s the challenge – and we’re happy to take it on.”

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