Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola says finishing second in their Champions League group is “not an option,” ahead of their final game at home to Manchester City. Having won all five of their games in Group D thus far, and a record 10 matches in a row in the Champions League, Bayern need only to avoid defeat by a three-goal margin in order to ensure topping the table and likely avoiding the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona in the Round of 16. Guardiola is keen to emphasize the importance of that feat.
“Our first goal was to qualify for the next round, and second to win our group,” he said, according to UEFA.com.” I am looking forward to a really good game and hope the players understand how important it is. Manchester City have incredible players and are always able to create good chances. If we play our usual game, however, we have a good chance of finishing top. Coming second is not an option.
“Records are nice, but there are many things to improve, such as keeping the ball for longer periods. To get 18 points would be a great achievement. Manchester City have many players of great quality. They need to score three goals to come first. If we don't play well, they have the ability to hurt us. We are looking forward to the challenge.”
Bayern warmed up for the clash at the Allianz Arena by winning 7-0 at Werder Bremen on the weekend to maintain a four point lead in the Bundesliga. Philipp Lahm is set to return to the side for Tuesday’s encounter, but Bastian Schweinsteiger and Arjen Robben remain on the sidelines. Mario Gotze is carrying a knock from the weekend and may not be risked.
While stating that he is eager to put right the humbling 3-1 defeat suffered at home to Bayern Munich in October, Manchester City coach Manuel Pellegrini did not hide the fact that Saturday’s Premier League meeting with Arsenal featured more prominently in his thoughts.
"Of course, if you ask me at this moment, the game against Arsenal next weekend is more important than the game against Bayern Munich," he said, according to Reuters. "From the moment we qualified for the next round, the Premier League became more important than Champions League.
"That does not mean there is a possibility that the players who play against Bayern Munich will not play against Arsenal," he added after confirming that Joe Hart will start in Munich.”
City will be without Yaya Toure through suspension, while Matija Nastasic, Stevan Jovetic and Gael Clichy are ruled out through injury. David Silva is back in the squad for the first time since suffering an injury against CSKA Moscow over a month ago.
Bayer Munich (probable)
D: Rafinha, Boateng, Dante, Alaba
Muller, Thiago, Kroos, Ribery
Manchester City (probable)
D: Zabaleta, Demichelis, Lescott, Kolarov
M: Navas, Garcia, Fernandinho, Milner
F: Aguero, Negredo
Where to watch: The Champions League Group D match will kick off at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by Fox Soccer Plus, with a live stream available via Fox Soccer 2Go.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.