Bayern Munich vs Manchester City preview - Pep taking nothing for granted



Posted Wednesday, September 17, 2014 by PA

Bayern Munich vs Manchester City preview - Pep taking nothing for granted

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola believes the absence of Manchester United from this season's Champions League serves as a warning to all 'big' clubs.

United are sitting out the elite competition for the first time since 1995 after a dismal last season in which they finished seventh in the Barclays Premier League and failed to qualify for Europe altogether.

Bayern are another of the Champions League's mainstays. Their recent record includes winning the trophy in 2013 and final appearances in 2010 and 2012. They were semi-finalists again last season.

Yet Guardiola is aware that can count for little if standards are not maintained in the Bundesliga.

Asked about United, Guardiola said: "It is a good lesson for the big clubs if we think we are unbeatable, that we are so strong.

"Every year we need to make the good things or maybe next season you could be out. That is why football is magnificent. Every single week you have to be ready.

"The local competition - the Premier League or the Bundesliga - is the most important because that shows you every week you are ready."

Guardiola, the former Barcelona boss, was speaking at a press conference at the Allianz Arena to preview his side's opening Champions League Group E game against Manchester City.

The German giants have been drawn in the same group as the Premier League winners in three of the past four seasons.

City, now with two Premier League titles to their name, are a developing force and Guardiola believes they are capable of winning the Champions League.

He said: "Manchester City won (here) with (Vincent) Kompany, (Yaya) Toure, (David) Silva, (Edin) Dzeko last year - fantastic players.

"They needed to win here to learn something, to learn they are able to win the Champions League.

"Last season they were able to win the Champions League and this year they are ready to win the Champions League, like eight, nine or 10 teams more who can win this trophy. We would like to be one of those teams."

City captain Kompany feels the time has come to deliver in Europe's premier competition after three campaigns spent acquiring experience - last season reaching the last 16 for the first time.

He believes it is time to come of age and is relishing the latest tussle with Bayern, as he said: "Every single time you come here is an opportunity to prove yourself.

"We now take it as a challenge against one of the top three clubs in the world. It is one of hardest places to come to.

"It's time to start making these games close and making up the gap between ourselves and the other top clubs."

With the experience of winning the Premier League now under their belts, Kompany even believes clearing the European hurdle could prove relatively more straightforward than initially breaking through domestically.

He said: "Before we won the league it was more difficult to believe we could do it than with the Champions League.

"My experience of the Champions League is that it's not more difficult to go to the end - but everything has to be perfect. The Premier League is just a ferocious battle to the end.

"Eventually it will happen our way."

Manager Manuel Pellegrini will again have to give his team-talk ahead of the match in the hotel as he completes his two-match touchline ban for controversial remarks about a referee last term.

The Chilean, who turned 61 on the eve of the match, is forbidden from making any contact with players or coaching staff on matchday after they arrive at the stadium.

As he is also banned from giving a post-match press conference, he also opted not to speak to media before the game, spending his birthday overseeing a training session.

His assistant Ruben Cousillas, who will make decisions in the technical area, did speak, confirming that striker Stevan Jovetic has failed to overcome the hamstring injury that kept him out against Arsenal last weekend.

Defender Pablo Zabaleta is also missing through suspension after his sending-off in the loss at the Nou Camp last season, while midfielder Fernando still has a groin problem.

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