Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is set for his first competitive reunion with Bayern Munich since leaving the club in 2016 after the Sky Blues were drawn to face the Bundesliga winners in the Champions League. The fixture is one of the most difficult that the Premier League side could have received while they have also been put in the harder half of the draw on paper with one of Real Madrid or Chelsea waiting in the next round if they are successful.
Guardiola will be in familiar territory when the Champions League quarter-finals get underway in April having spent three seasons in the Bavarian’s hot seat between 2013 and 2016. The club has somewhat changed since the Spaniard was in charge with just Thomas Muller, Joshua Kimmich and Kingsley Coman players from his time in charge who are likely to be involved. Injured captain Manuel Neuer and backup Sven Ulreich are also still on the books.
However, that may be nice for Guardiola after he suggested there was a ‘mole’ in the dressing room during his spell in charge. The 52-year-old had already agreed to join City at the time of his accusation which he made following the Champions League exit to Atletico Madrid in 2016.
“Usually what happens inside the dressing room remains inside the dressing room,” he said. “Whoever has spoken has done it to hit me. But I’m not here next season anyway so it’s not my problem, but Bayern’s. It’s happened plenty of times over these past three years.
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“It’s normal for me to talk to my players and staff and give them my opinion, but there are people here who are talking because they want to hurt me. Maybe this person will still be here next season and clearly, they haven’t realised that they are not damaging me, but the club and the team. I won’t be here, so it’s the club’s problem.”
Guardiola left Bayern without a single Champions League title to his name failing in his main mission when joining the club. The Bavarain’s Sporting Director at the time was one-time Ballon d’Or winner Matthias Sammer and he offer his take on why the Spaniard’s stint did not go as he would have hoped, suggesting he did not give his players enough independence.
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“Guardiola is definitely the most important source of inspiration for football today. His possession of the ball, when it comes to changing positions, he’s brilliant,” Sammer told German outlet FAZ. “But in Munich, we didn’t succeed in activating the last two per cent.
“Pep was always right with his analyses, his measures almost always worked out exactly as planned. But as a result, the team stopped thinking a bit. At the end of this fantastic process, he didn’t let the team grow so much that they could take the last steps on the way alone.”
“The great secret of leaders like Ottmar Hitzfeld or Jupp Heynckes was that they enabled teams to be independent.”
City are set to face Bayern at home on April 11th with Guardiola’s return to the Allianz Arena coming in the reverse fixture a week later.
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