Guardiola dismisses Bayern-Barcelona likeness

The Bavarians have adopted a similar passing style to the Blaugrana side coached by the 42-year-old at Camp Nou but he is adamant there are few similarities between the two teams

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola insists he is not trying to create a replica of the side he coached at former club Barcelona.

The 42-year-old enjoyed a trophy-laden four-year spell in charge at Camp Nou, winning 14 trophies including three Liga titles and two Champions League crowns.

After departing the Spanish champions at the end of the 2011-12 campaign, Guardiola took a season-long sabbatical before taking over a Bayern side that completed a Bundesliga, Champions League and DFB-Pokal treble last season. 

The Spaniard has overseen an impressive start to the season, with FCB winning seven and drawing two of their nine league fixtures and taking nine points from their three Champions League games – with onlookers drawing comparisons between Bayern and the Blaugrana.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, he said: “I don’t want to transform Bayern into a new Barca.

“The mentality is different, and the style, the environment, the culture, the players too. This club has won too much to copy others.

“I came here because I wanted to coach these players.

“Bayern Munich are bigger than my ideas. I have only to maintain last season’s level, of an unbeatable team that played in an incredible way.

“A coach must understand the qualities of his men and be able to take advantage of these.”

Bayern continue their Bundesliga campaign when they welcome Hertha Berlin to the Allianz Arena on Saturday.

Robben must clear his head – Guardiola

The Bayern boss says the winger must “clear his head” following a row over penalties and says Johan Cruyff is “the most influential person in football”

Pep Guardiola insists Arjen Robben understands his decisions over penalty takers following a recent public row between the head coach and the Bayern Munich star.

Robben was visibly annoyed when Guardiola called for Thomas Muller to take a spot kick against Mainz last weekend and the Dutchman then refused orders to take the penalty against Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday.

Franck Ribery, who himself stepped up to take the kick at the Allianz Arena, admitted after the match that Robben was still irked with Guardiola over his decision last Saturday, and the Bayern coach has now called on the 29-year-old to “clear his head” over the issue.

“Arjen knows why I chose Thomas Muller on Saturday and now he knows why I chose him in the Champions League. But Arjen must clear his head, which it seems he hadn’t,” Guardiola told De Telegraaf.

The former Barcelona boss went on to praise the work of Johan Cruyff in modern football, describing him as the most important figure in the development of the game.

“Johan is the most influential person in football around the world. He was an amazing player, but also a great coach,” said the 43-year-old.

“He has left so much beauty at my previous club. But not only at Barcelona do you see his influence. You see it in all the players who worked under him and those who took over from him. His influence went much further.”

Dortmund only borrowed Gotze, taunts Rummenigge

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge believes the German is back in his rightful place and described it as “incredibly fun” to have the 21-year-old on their books

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge believes Mario Gotze is beginning to thrive at the club this season, claiming the Bavarian native was only ever “loaned” to rivals Borussia Dortmund.

The Bavaria-born attacking midfielder was a product of the Dortmund youth academy but moved to the Allianz Arena this summer for €37 million.

Despite initially struggling for form and fitness, Gotze has shown flashes of his best form in wins over Mainz and Viktoria Plzen in the past week, and Rummenigge believes the 21-year-old is starting to find his feet again now he is back on home soil.

“Mario is a native of Memmingen. He was only briefly ‘loaned’ to BVB,” he told reporters jokingly following Bayern’s 5-0 Champions League win on Wednesday, during which Gotze scored and set up Bastian Schweinsteiger’s goal.

“We are having incredible fun with him, because he has excellent qualities which go well with Bayern Munich.”

Bayern take on Hertha Berlin on Saturday in their next Bundesliga clash.

Bayern Munich-Hertha Berlin: Bavarians edge closer to unbeaten record

Bayern Munich will be hopeful of extending their 34-match unbeaten streak in the Bundesliga when they host Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

The European champions last lost a league fixture in October 2012, to Bayer Leverkusen, and are now just two matches away from equalling the longest unbeaten streak in the history of German top-flight football.

That record – set by Hamburg in 1974 – was challenged by Borussia Dortmund last year, but they saw their streak ended at 31 games.

Bayern have the chance to edge closer at the Allianz Arena on Saturday in an encounter that pits the table-toppers against a Hertha side who have defied the odds to sit fourth after nine matches.

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern strolled past Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday, thrashing the Czech side 5-0 in the Champions League to extend their 100 per cent record in the competition this season.

Franck Ribery scored twice, while David Alaba, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gotze also netted in a comprehensive win for the European champions.

Bayern, who have scored 25 goals in their last eight matches in all competitions, interestingly have just one player in the top 20 of the league’s scoring charts.

Their even spread of goals means only one player has scored more than three times in the Bundesliga this season, that being Croatian Mario Mandzukic with five.

Bayern striker Claudio Pizarro tore his thigh in training on Thursday and will miss at least a month, joining Xherdan Shaqiri (thigh) and Holger Badstuber (knee) on the sidelines.

Midfielder Thiago Alcantara returned to training on Thursday but is not expected to return soon as he recovers from an ankle injury.

For Hertha, the chance to play on one of the biggest stages in European football is a great reward for last season’s second-tier champions.

Hertha won the division by nine points last season, inspired by the form of Brazilian midfielder Ronny, who scored 18 goals.

He already has three this season, while Tunisia forward Sami Allagui has netted five, with their goals helping Jos Luhukay’s side surge into a Champions League qualifying place.

All of the club’s four wins in the Bundesliga have come in the German capital, with their away record showing three draws and one defeat.

Bayern suffer Pizarro blow

The Bavarians will have to make do without the veteran forward for over a month after he suffered a thigh muscle injury

Bayern Munich have been dealt a fresh injury blow with the news that Claudio Pizarro will miss up to six weeks of action with a muscle problem.

The veteran striker, who has been used sparingly this season, joins the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Holger Badstuber on the slidelines and is set to miss the showdown with Borussia Dortmund next month.

That leaves Pep Guardiola with only one orthodox striker at his disposal, Mario Mandzukic, though the Spaniard has deployed Thomas Muller up front.

However, summer signing Thiago Alcantara, who has been missing since the opening weeks of the season, has returned to training following an ankle injury.

Bayern Munich, who overcame Viktoria Plzen 5-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday, entertain Hertha Berlin this weekend.

Pizarro, 35, who is currently enjoying his second spell with the Bavarian club, has scored three goals in his six appearances this term.