12062022

Pep Guardiola: My work at Bayern Munich will be judged as incomplete if we fail to win the Champions League this season 

Pep Guardiola accepts his three-year spell as Bayern Munich manager will be judged on whether his team can win the Champions League before he leaves this summer.

The Spaniard, whose side are away at Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday night, is set to take over at Manchester City for next season.

Despite dominating the Bundesliga, with Guardiola’s men on course to collect a third straight domestic title, success in Europe’s elite club competition has so far proved elusive.

Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola accepts he will be judged in Germany on the Champions League

Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola accepts he will be judged in Germany on the Champions League

Guardiola leads his Bayern side against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, taking a third shot at Europe's crown

Guardiola leads his Bayern side against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday, taking a third shot at Europe’s crown

GUARDIOLA’S CHAMPIONS LEAGUE EXITS WITH BAYERN MUNICH

2014-15: Lost 5-3 on aggregate against Barcelona

2015-16: Lost 5-0 on aggregate against Real Madrid 

The German giants are aiming to avoid what would be elimination to a Spanish team at the same stage for three campaigns in a row.

Guardiola understands the demands of the job, which saw predecessor Jupp Heynckes deliver the 2013 Champions League with victory over Jurgen Klopp’s Borussia Dortmund at Wembley.

‘In three years we have got to three semi-finals, but I know that people say if I don’t win the Champions League my work won’t be complete,’ Guardiola said in his pre-match press conference in Madrid on Tuesday evening.

‘But I’ve been very lucky to have experienced what I have in Germany. I think I am a better coach, a better person, more relaxed.’

Guardiola added: ‘In football, you have to adapt and we will adapt to get the best result we can.’

‘We know all the teams are difficult and Atletico are no exception.

‘You can compare them to Barca and Madrid – when they play against the big European clubs, they can confound the favourites.

‘It will be a great game, complete and fun at the same time, and we will do all we can to get the final

Guardiola has led two semi-final exits and will be keen that Robert Lewandowski and Co don't replicate them

Guardiola has led two semi-final exits and will be keen that Robert Lewandowski and Co don’t replicate them

Guardiola is back in Spain to face Atletico Madrid but will be heading for Manchester City this summer

Guardiola is back in Spain to face Atletico Madrid but will be heading for Manchester City this summer

Atletico put out La Liga rivals Barcelona in the quarter-finals.

Guardiola has been impressed with Diego Simeone’s well-drilled side, who are currently second in the Spanish top table only on head-to-head record behind his old club Barcelona.

‘It has been five years since I was involved against them, but from what I have seen and what people say, they defend well, though that’s not all they do,’ said Guardiola, who could welcome defender Jerome Boateng back after three months out with a groin problem.

‘They’re extremely well organised, they’ve got a good structure defensively, they close space, they have a great counter-attack.

‘They have been fighting for the league title for the last three or four seasons as well as in Europe, so you have to do almost everything very well against them.

Guardiola walks across the pitch of the Vicente Calderon before the Champions League semi-final first leg

Guardiola walks across the pitch of the Vicente Calderon before the Champions League semi-final first leg

‘But we will have to see what we can do in order to hurt them.’

Simeone, though, has his team’s own sole focus. ‘We have to be thinking about one thing: winning,’ he said.

‘I am expecting a hard match against an opponent with a lot of attacking potential, against a coach who changes from game to game.

‘We will try to take the game into our hands where and when we can.’

The Atletico coach brushed off the supposed clash of styles.

‘Obviously we have a coach and players with different characteristics (from Bayern), but in wars, it isn’t the side with the most soldiers that wins, rather the side that uses its soldiers better,’ he said.

Diego Simeone brushed off the idea of a clash of styles between Atletico and Guardiola's free-flowing Bayern

Diego Simeone brushed off the idea of a clash of styles between Atletico and Guardiola’s free-flowing Bayern

‘They are in the same position as us – and to win the league you have to win games. I want my side to win, nothing more.’

Stefan Savic is vying with Jose Gimenez and Lucas Hernandez to replace the injured Diego Godin in central defence, while winger Yannick Carrasco is expected to start despite playing only a limited part in training on Monday.

The Belgian is being treated carefully due to a sore ankle, with Augusto Fernandez standing by if needed.

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