Guardiola: Bayern will be stronger next year

The club’s Bundesliga title celebrations began after a 2-0 win over Mainz and the coach is targeting more silverware next season

Pep Guardiola says his Bayern Munich team will be even stronger next season after they lifted a third consecutive Bundesliga title.

The Bavarian side wrapped the league title in late April, but followed that up with a dismal run of form in which they lost five of their next six games and were eliminated from the DFB-Pokal and Champions League semi-finals.

The title celebrations began officially on Saturday, though, after they ended the campaign on a high with a 2-0 win over Mainz.

CHAMPIONS | Bayern lift the title for a third time in a row
Guardiola was happy with his players after picking up his second league title since taking over from Jupp Heynckes, but says they must improve next year.

“I must congratulate the team, my staff and our fans,” he said after the game. “They gave us great support, especially against Barcelona.

“Next season we will come back stronger. I’m hoping to build the best possible squad.”

CAPTAIN | Philipp Lahm lifts holds the trophy
Bastian Schweinsteiger scored on his 500th appearance for Bayern in the victory and the midfielder says he is delighted with the campaign overall.

“We had a very good season. We have won the title for the third year in a row, which is not easy,” he said.

“In the Champions League semi-final, we lost it in the first leg in Barcelona in the last 10 minutes, otherwise we might have reached the final.

“We were getting close to two finals with that and the DFB-Pokal. If you look at the whole season, we have done very well.”

Bayern Munich 2-0 Mainz: Guardiola's men end on a high

The Bavarian side were on an abysmal run of form heading into the final game of the season but were able to pick up the three points and go out on a high note

Bastian Schweinsteiger marked his 500th Bayern Munich appearance with a goal as the Bundesliga champions rounded off their season with a comfortable 2-0 win over Mainz.

Reported Manchester United target Schweinsteiger has been told by coach Pep Guardiola that he can leave Bayern if he wishes, and the Germany captain will have bowed out in style should he depart, producing a fine finish in the second half to wrap up an easy victory.

Bayern went into Saturday’s match on the back of a dismal run of five losses in six games across all competitions, a sequence that saw their treble hopes dashed by Borussia Dortmund and Barcelona.

But, with the Bundesliga trophy due to be presented at full-time at the Allianz Arena, a relaxed Bayern side played with freedom, finding the breakthrough via a Robert Lewandowski penalty 25 minutes in.

Schweinsteiger then added Bayern’s second just after the interval to kill Mainz’s slender hopes of a turnaround, as Guardiola’s men brought their domestic campaign to a fittingly straightforward conclusion.

A party atmosphere engulfed the Allianz in the lead up to kick-off, with various former Bayern stars paraded on the pitch as the club began the celebrations for their latest title triumph.

There was little to get excited once proceedings finally got underway, though, as Bayern dictated the tempo without a great deal of urgency.

But Mainz’s inability to keep hold of the ball unsurprisingly played into Bayern’s hands and the champions broke the deadlock in the 25th minute, with Lewandowski coolly steering home a penalty after Niko Bungert handled in the area.

Dante should have doubled their lead 10 minutes later when the Brazilian guided a glancing header just wide from eight yards, though Mainz appeared incapable of punishing such let-offs.

Mainz will have been content to still be within touching distance of Bayern at the break, though the home side made their task considerably tougher just two minutes into the second half.

The visitors’ defence failed to deal with Lewandowski’s knock-down and Schweinsteiger was on hand, caressing a delicate finish just inside the right-hand post from the edge of the area.

Bayern could have seen their lead halved 16 minutes from time, but Manuel Neuer acrobatically turned Pablo de Blasis’ drive over shortly after Claudio Pizarro failed to convert when one-on-one with Loris Karius.

The hosts remained in control, however, and almost added a third in the 79th minute when Pizarro tested Karius from point-blank range.

But that miss had no bearing on the outcome, as Bayern ended the season on a high with their first Bundesliga win for almost a month.

'Chelsea blocked De Bruyne's Dortmund move due to anger over Lewandowski rejection'

The Premier League outfit refused to allow the Belgium international to move to Germany in 2013 after seeing the Poland international decide to leave BVB for Bayern Munich

Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has revealed that Chelsea were unwilling to sell Kevin De Bruyne to the German club after after Robert Lewandowski refused to move in the opposite direction.

Belgium international De Bruyne left Stamford Bridge to join Wolfsburg in 2014 and has gone onto become one of the most highly rated attacaking midfielders in Europe.

Watzke admits he was hopeful BVB would be able to sign De Bruyne in 2013, but Chelsea were unwilling to do business after failing to lure Lewandowski to west London, with the Poland international subsequently deciding to join Bayern Munich.

“It [signing De Bruyne] would have fitted well into the planning’” he told Bild.

“But the conditions could not be agreed. Chelsea were unwilling to let him go because they were angry that Robert Lewandowski had not gone to Chelsea.”

Watzke also insisted that he was not concerned over the possibility of there being no takers for midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, after the midfielder refused to extend his contract past the end of next season.

Manchester United and Barcelona have been heavily linked with the Germany international but BVB have yet to receive any formal offers.

However, Watzke is in no doubt that they will soon start receiving bids for Gundogan.

“There are certainly a number of interested parties,” he added. “lkay has an insane potential.

“If I were in charge of a big foreign club, I would deal with the Gündogan issue definitely.”

I want Schweinsteiger to stay, insists Guardiola

Manchester United have been linked with an interest in the 30-year-old World Cup-winner but the Bayern boss says he intends to keep him at the Allianz Arena

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola is adamant he wants to keep Bastian Schweinsteiger at the club admit reported interest from Manchester United.

German magazine Kicker, which also revealed that Borussia Dortmund defender Mats Hummels would snub a move to Old Trafford, claimed on Wednesday that the Premier League club were interested in signing Schweinsteiger this summer.

Those reports have gathered pace in England, too, but Guardiola says it is his intention to keep the World Cup-winner at the Allianz Arena.

“My plan for the next season is that Bastian Schweinsteiger is here,” he told a press conference on Friday.

“Schweinsteiger is an outstanding legend of Bayern Munich, he has to decide – not Pep, not [CEO] Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. If he wants to stay for three or four more years, he can do that.”

United have also been linked with a move for Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, who is set to leave Signal Iduna Park this summer.

Guardiola: I can't win the treble every year

The former Barcelona coach has aired his frustration at a lack of respect for the Bavarians and played down their Champions League disappointment

Pep Guardiola says it’s unrealistic for people to expect him to win the treble with Bayern Munich and repeated his desire to stay at the club.

The coach has been criticised for the Bavarians’ exit from the Champions League semi-finals at the hands of Barcelona and being knocked out of the DFB-Pokal on penalties at the same stage by Borussia Dortmund.

But the Spaniard has hit back at the expectancy at the club as a result of predecessor Jupp Heynckes’ treble success in 2013.

“If Bayern Munich are looking for a coach that has to win the treble every year then I’m not the one they want,” he told reporters at a press conference on Friday. “I’m not good enough to do that.

“I’ve learnt that people talk too much here, my advice to my critics is to calm down. They should have more respect for the German champions.

“The Champions League might be the greatest crown in club football but, for us, winning the Bundesliga is the most important thing and we did that.”

Guardiola will be hoping Bayern can arrest a run of four consecutive defeats in domestic matches since they were crowned champions of Germany at the Allianz Arena against mid-table Mainz on Saturday.

Lewandowski: Bayern are a champion team, not a p*** team

The striker has responded to recent criticism of the Bavarians and insisted his training ground scuffle with Jerome Boateng was nothing major

Robert Lewandowski has hit back at accusations that Bayern Munich are a “p*** team” by pointing to their dominance of the Bundesliga.

Since being crowned league champions last month, Pep Guardiola’s men have lost all four of their domestic matches – against Borussia Dortmund in the DFB-Pokal, and clashes with Bayer Leverkusen, Augsburg and Freiburg.

Saturday’s 2-1 loss against Freiburg allowed the relegation-threatened side to leapfrog Hannover in the standings with one game to go, infuriating former striker Dieter Schatzschneider.

The 57-year-old, who now a Hannover scout, branded the Bavarians a “p*** team” and said he’d “axe Pep Guardiola immediately” for failing to motivate his players.

Lewandowski has defended Bayern’s record in 2014-15 and thinks Schatzschneider was simply overreacting due to the possibility of being demoted to the second division this weekend.

“Hannover are experiencing a lot of stress right now,” he told Bild. “Now they are afraid of relegation, which probably made Schatzschneider mad, it will have been said in the heat of the moment.

“But no, we are not a p*** team, we are a team of champions! I played Freiburg wearing a face mask, Manuel Neuer played with a hip injury – to say we weren’t trying is simply an unfair accusation.”

The Poland international also addressed his training ground clash with defender Jerome Boateng on Wednesday by insisting it was just a scuffle and there was no lingering bitterness.

“He wanted to win the ball in a tackle, as did I. Then there was a clash shortly after the attempt to win the ball,” Lewandowski added. “But it wasn’t anything malicious.

“Problems don’t solve themselves if you just stay quiet and ignore them. So we said our opinions then five minutes later everything was back to normal with us.”

Bayern host Mainz in their final game of 2014-15 on Saturday.

Bayern Munich – Mainz Preview: Guardiola's men looking to end poor run

The Bundesliga champions are in a terrible run of form and are hoping to turn it around in the final game of the campaign when they host 10th placed Mainz

Bayern Munich will aim to ring in another Bundesliga title triumph by ending a dreadful run of form when they face Mainz in the final game of the season on Saturday.

With Pep Guardiola’s men missing out on the DFB-Pokal and Champions League finals, all that is left for the Bavarians is to celebrate another season of dominance in the league.

The Bundesliga trophy will be awarded to Bayern after the match at the Allianz Arena, but the first priority for Guardiola and his players will be to end the campaign by claiming a first league win in almost a month.

Having tasted defeat in five of their last six games in all competitions, Bayern have been stumbling to the end of the campaign rather than finishing with a flourish.

Indeed, the injury-hit side have been exposed defensively in recent times, with Borussia Dortmund knocking them out of the Pokal on penalties and Barcelona winning 5-3 on aggregate in the Champions League semi-finals.

But, with 10th placed Mainz also having little to play for, Bayern should be confident of getting back to winning ways in front of what is sure to be a jubilant home crowd.

Mainz are winless in their last six meetings with Bayern and have not tasted victory at the Allianz Arena since a 2-1 win back in September 2010.

However, Mainz coach Martin Schmidt says his side are relishing the challenge of potentially spoiling Bayern’s title party.

“The Munich game has always hung like a haze over us,” Schmidt told Mainz’s official website.

“The TV money earned from finishing higher in the league plays no role in the motivation for the players. The challenge, which is purely sporting, will be big enough.”

Bayern go into the game with a host of key players on the sidelines. Franck Ribery (ankle), Arjen Robben (calf) and Holger Badstuber (thigh) are all unavailable for the hosts due to long-term injuries.

Goalkeeper Pepe Reina is suspended, while David Alaba – out since March with knee ligament problems – is likely to miss out despite taking part in an extra fitness session earlier this week.

Preparation for the contest has not been ideal with Bayern, with footage emerging of Jerome Boateng and Robert Lewandowski becoming embroiled in a row in training.

Yet Bayern will be hoping the team can put that spat behind them and perform in complete harmony to deliver a display fitting of a celebration of the club’s 25th German league title.

Guardiola has improved Bayern – Robben

The winger hopes to work with the coach for another “two or three years” and is convinced the club will have even more success next season

Arjen Robben has thrown his weight of support behind Pep Guardiola by saying the Catalan has improved Bayern Munich since taking over two years ago.

The coach has been criticised for failing to take Bayern beyond the semi-finals of the Champions League following their last four exit to Barcelona last week.

Guardiola has just one year remaining on his current deal at the Allianz Arena, but the Dutch attacker hopes to work with him for much longer.

He said: “He is a superb coach, one of the best in the world. He developed us further as a team. I would be happy if I could continue to work with him for two or three more years.

“We will be successful next season, I am convinced of that.”

Another Bayern figure who has come under scrutiny in recent weeks is midfielder Mario Gotze, who has lost his place in the side, but Robben has backed the man who scored Germany’s World Cup-winning goal to come through a difficult patch.

“You have to get through that, you have to fight. He is a good boy with his head in the right place. He has quality and he will do it.”

The winger has another two years left on his contract and admitted he is eager to remain at the club beyond the end of his current deal.

“Maybe I will stay here longer than 2017. I missed some time due to my injuries and that will be added at the end. Maybe I can play for four or five more years. I am optimistic.”

Lewandowski and Boateng clash in Bayern training

The duo had to be separated and were ordered away from the pitch by Pep Guardiola after a heated exchange, but there was better news concerning David Alaba

Bayern Munich’s tepid end to the season took a testing turn on Wednesday as footage emerged of Robert Lewandowski and Jerome Boateng quarrelling in training.

The Bundesliga champions wrapped up a third domestic title in as many seasons with four league games to play, but their season has unravelled since then.

Defeat in five of Bayern’s six fixtures since a 1-0 victory over Hertha Berlin led them to the title has resulted in elimination at the semi-final stage of the DFB-Pokal and Champions League.

That leaves Pep Guardiola unable to even match his achievements of last season, with Wednesday’s bust-up at an open training session doing little to soothe the hurt at the Allianz Arena.

Boateng, who also made headlines for a training-ground scrap with Mario Balotelli while at Manchester City, is thought to have sparked the disagreement with Lewandowski with a heavy tackle which the Poland striker took exception to.

Thiago and Bayern captain Philipp Lahm were quickly on the scene in an attempt to diffuse tensions, while Guardiola was quick to order both from the training field.

There was better news concerning David Alaba, however, as the Austrian took part in some individual training exercises having spent seven weeks on the sidelines.

“It’s a super great feeling when you can be on the pitch again,” said the 22-year-old to the club’s official website.

Neuer beats Ronaldo and Federer to global sport prize

The Bayern goalkeeper has been voted European and World Sportsman of the Year after his efforts for club and country and his behaviour towards the media

Manuel Neuer has been voted European and World Sportsman of the Year by two esteemed panels of journalists.

The Germany international followed up Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and World Cup glory in 2014 by clinching another domestic title with Bayern Munich this year, and came third in the race for the latest Ballon d’Or prize.

The 29-year-old has now been named the recipient of two prizes voted for by the Association of European Sports Journalists (UEPS) and International Sports Journalists (AIPS).

UEPS president Yannis Daras presented Neuer the trophy and stated:  “This is the result of his great performances, his fairness, his influence on the pitch and his behaviour towards the media.”

Neuer himself thanked his team-mates at both Bayern and Germany, adding: “I would not have done it without these guys.”

Seventeen-time grand slam tennis champion Rodger Federer came second in both polls, while current world No.1 Novak Djokovic came third in the European vote.

Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo was third in the international poll.

Neuer is only the third footballer to win the European prize, after Michel Platini in 1984 and Lothar Matthaus in 1990.

(c) 2009-2012