Manchester City v Bayern Munich: Pep Guardiola prepares to meet old foe Manuel Pellegrini

Bayern Munich manager shrugs off criticism and praises Manchester City's prospects ahead of reunion

There were many in Manchester who imagined Pep Guardiola sitting in the sleek leather chairs in the press room of the Etihad Stadium, although they would have hoped he would have stayed for more than a couple of days.

Guardiola would have been the ultimate trophy bride for Sheikh Mansour's football project but to walk through the Bayern Munich museum and see each Bundesliga shield, DFB Pokal and the five European Cups in their backlit individual cases is to realise there were other, better suitors.

CLICK HERE to follow the latest news from tonight's Champions League, including Manchester City v Bayern Munich and Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City

It was the 100th day since he began in Bavaria and, despite the fact that Bayern Munich have yet to lose in the Bundesliga and won their opening Champions League fixture in Moscow 3-0, the questions had an edge to them. Guardiola was reminded of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's comments that "he had no balls" – basically for preferring Lionel Messi to Zlatan's monumental ego – and of some sharp comments by Bayern's own sporting director.

Matthias Sammer is not a man who minces words. Just before Bayern Munich flew to London for the Champions League final he laughed when asked if he would be interested in signing Wayne Rooney. Last month, after a laboured 2-0 win over Hannover, Sammer complained that Bayern had produced a soulless performance and their tactics lacked pace and direction.

As the team gathered at Munich Airport, where Franck Ribéry discovered he had forgotten his passport, Die Zeit printed a reply from the Bayern captain, Philipp Lahm, saying Sammer had overstepped the mark.

Guardiola is, however, not just one of the finest coaches in world football, he is among the most charming. An awkward press conference was effortlessly defused.

"It has not been easy because the Bundesliga is completely different to what I was used to," said Guardiola, whose English, honed during his sabbatical in New York, is better than his German. "There are thousands of trophies in the museum and one title more or one title less is not a big thing at Bayern but how you win is.

"I enjoy my work when my team plays well and, until now, we have played well in one or two games and in bits in the others. But it is impossible to play well without midfielders. I love midfielders and, if I had my chance, I would buy thousands. They give a team its intelligence. You can win games with defenders or strikers but to play well you need good midfielders.

"I have not been able to play Mario Götze [who was injured in the victory over Chelsea in the Super Cup]. I have lost Thiago Alcantara to injury while Bastian Schweinsteiger has taken part in 25 of the 200 or so training sessions we have had. That has left me with just Toni Kroos."

For Manuel Pellegrini this is a second severe examination of his managerial credentials. The first, against Manchester United, was a spectacular statement of intent and City are likely to adopt similar tactics.

They have won all four of their matches at the Etihad by a collective scoreline of 15-1 and Edin Dzeko remarked that if they play the way they did against United "with fast, attacking football, then why shouldn't we go forward against Bayern?"

The last German club to come here, Borussia Dortmund, expressed their contempt for the way Manchester City had bought their success but Guardiola was much more complimentary. "I am 100 per cent sure they will get out of their group this time," he said. "And if they do, City will be very, very difficult to beat. They could be like Dortmund, who failed to get out their group two seasons ago but, when they did last year, they went all the way to the final."

Bayern Munich versus Manchester City two autumns ago summed up the club under Roberto Mancini in the Champions League, at least. They were out of their depth. There was a row, first as Dzeko was hauled off and then a spectacular and long-lasting bust-up as Carlos Tevez refused his manager's orders to warm up.

Dzeko pointedly remarked when comparing Mancini with his successor: "The important thing for a player is to know his manager believes in him. That confidence can change everything."

This will be the ninth time Manuel Pellegrini has met Guardiola and there have been seven losses and a draw. "The numbers are not important," said Guardiola. "I would like to coach like him because his sides always play the same way. They look to win and his fingerprints, his trademark, is always on his teams. Villarreal, Malaga and Real Madrid all played the same way. If I beat him, it was because I was at Barcelona and had one of the best teams in the world at my disposal. That is all."

Kick-off 7.45pm.

TV Sky Sports 2 (h/l: 10pm, SS2)

Referee B Kuipers (Neth)

Vieira's boys taught to be tough

The new philosophy in the academy side Patrick Vieira has just taken over at Manchester City decrees that they will play the same intense passing style as the first team, no matter what the opposition – even Bayern Munich, who they meet in their Uefa Youth League group.

There is bravery attached to such a notion because when young players are being beaten, the temptation is to abandon the passing and just survive. "At this age we accept mistakes because mistakes will help you progress and improve," Vieira told The Independent. "I want them to be brave. The time for them to make a mistake is now, not when they are in the first team. Because they are good players it is about giving them the confidence to be clear about the methods we want."

British Eurosport HD will broadcast exclusive live coverage of Manchester City v Bayern Munich in the Uefa Youth League. Live coverage is also available via eurosportplayer.com

Ian Herbert

Suggested Topics
Voices
Lucerne’s Hotel Château Gütsch, one of the lots in our Homeless Veterans appeal charity auction
charity appeal
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hughes (James Nesbitt) after his son Olly disappeared on a family holiday in France
tv
News
people

Jo from Northern Ireland was less than impressed by Russell Brand's attempt to stage a publicity stunt

Sport
Scunthorpe goalkeeper Sam Slocombe (left) is congratulated by winning penalty taker Miguel Llera (right)
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice candidates Roisin Hogan, Solomon Akhtar, Mark Wright, Bianca Miller, Daniel Lassman
tvReview: But which contestants got the boot?
Life and Style
A woman walks by a pandal art installation entitled 'Mars Mission' with the figure of an astronaut during the Durga Puja festival in Calcutta, India
techHow we’ll investigate the existence of, and maybe move in with, our alien neighbours
Arts and Entertainment
Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels ride again in Dumb and Dumber To
filmReview: Dumb And Dumber To was a really stupid idea
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Ian McKellen tempts the Cookie Monster
tvSir Ian McKellen joins the Cookie Monster for a lesson on temptation
News
i100
Travel
Tourists bask in the sun beneath the skyscrapers of Dubai
travelBritish embassy uses social media campaign to issue travel advice for festive holiday-makers in UAE
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Saunders stars as Miss Windsor, Dennis's hysterical French teacher
filmJennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Nabil Bentaleb (centre) celebrates putting Tottenham ahead
footballTottenham 4 Newcastle 0: Spurs fans dreaming of Wembley final after dominant win
Voices
Jimmy Mubenga died after being restrained on an aircraft by G4S escorts
voicesJonathan Cox: Tragedy of Jimmy Mubenga highlights lack of dignity shown to migrants
Life and Style
Sebastian Siemiatkowski is the 33-year-old co-founder and CEO of Klarna, which provides a simple way for people to buy things online
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
10 best high-end laptops

10 best high-end laptops

From lightweight and zippy devices to gaming beasts, we test the latest in top-spec portable computers
Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

Michael Carberry: ‘After such a tough time, I’m not sure I will stay in the game’

The batsman has grown disillusioned after England’s Ashes debacle and allegations linking him to the Pietersen affair
Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

Susie Wolff: A driving force in battle for equality behind the wheel

The Williams driver has had plenty of doubters, but hopes she will be judged by her ability in the cockpit
Adam Gemili interview: 'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

'No abs Adam' plans to muscle in on Usain Bolt's turf

After a year touched by tragedy, Adam Gemili wants to become the sixth Briton to run a sub-10sec 100m
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum