Beckenbauer content with Bayern draw

The Germany legend feels the Bavarians are more than capable of seeing off the teams in Group D as they bid to defend their European crown

Franz Beckenbauer believes Bayern Munich should have no trouble in advancing from the Champions League group stage.

The Bavarian giants have been joined by CSKA Moscow, Manchester City and Viktoria Plzen in Group D and the Germany legend says the reigning European champions are fortunate to be facing much tougher opposition.

“It’s a group which is doable for Bayern, it could have been worse,” the 67-year-old told Sky.

“Dortmund certainly have the toughest group out of all the German clubs. It will be crucial not to underestimate the teams.

“I think that the English and German sides will all go through in their groups.”

Meanwhile, CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge warned against underestimating teams that seem inferior to his club on paper.

“It won’t be a no-brainer – even for Bayern Munich,” the 57-year-old added. “Especially CSKA Moscow and Manchester City are not to be underestimated.”

“Manchester City, especially, will try to do better against German teams than in the past two years. But of course it’s our goal to reach the last 16.  Altogether, I think all the German teams face solvable tasks.”

The winners and losers of the Champions League draw

Thursday’s draw for the 2013-14 group stages of Europe’s premier club competition has provided us with some tasty ties, but who will be leaving Monte Carlo happy?

COMMENT
By Carlo Garganese and Peter Staunton

The Champions League is undoubtedly the most prestigious club trophy in football – a competition that in order to conquer requires a lot of skill, but also a fair degree of luck.

A modest Champions League group goes a long way to paving the path to glory, which is why every club who were in the hat for Thursday’s 2013-14 group stage draw will have been watching on nervously.

Below we take a look at who were the big winners and losers in Monte Carlo.

Chelsea

Sides under Jose Mourinho make a habit of qualifying from the group stages with minimum fuss and that will be no different given the complexion of Group E. There is nothing to fear for the 2012 champions as they avoided any significant banana skins in the draw. Schalke are brittle and seemingly getting worse with only Julian Draxler to stem the tide. Basel, industrious as they are, have again lost players and Steaua, while undeserving of the ‘whipping boys’ tag, will do well to avoid two defeats by Chelsea. They will be in the draw for the last 16 after four matchdays.

PSG

After being placed in Group C with Benfica, Paris Saint-Germain have defied Uefa’s coefficient seeding system and are the strongest team in the group. They boast a better squad than last season and should be untroubled by a second Portuguese group-stage challenge in two years. Olympiakos have just lost their best player, Djamel Abdoun, to Nottingham Forest, which tells you all you need to know about where they stand, and Anderlecht have some promising players but no longer boast the talents of Lucas Biglia and Dieumerci Mbokani. Simply, Laurent Blanc could not have hand-picked a better draw himself and, ominously, PSG already look a looming European superpower.

Portuguese Liga

Porto have absorbed the loss of James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho and continue to look strong. Provided they claim two wins against Atletico they should be set for the last 16 as Zenit and Plzen do not have the quality to trouble them. Benfica, while inferior to PSG, will probably have enough quality to ride their coat-tails to the knockouts. What that means is that the coefficient totals of the Portuguese league will continue to prosper. With AC Milan, Juventus and Napoli enduring pretty tough draws in their own right, the Portuguese national coefficient may be good enough to overhaul’s Serie A. At the end of this campaign the totals from the 2008-09 season expire and with it Italy’s five-point lead over Portugal. Depending on results we could see Portugal boast the fourth-best league on the continent.



Arsenal

Much had been said in the days leading up to the draw about how Arsenal didn’t deserve to be in pot one having struggled to make the latter stages of the Champions League in recent years. So the fact that the Gunners feature in the ‘Group of Death’ can be seen as justice being served. Last year’s finalists Borussia Dortmund will expect to win Group F, but second place will be hotly contested between Arsenal, heavy-spending Napoli and a Marseille side who have also impressed in the summer transfer market. Drawing the toughest team from both pot three and four will pile the pressure on under-fire Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.

Manchester United

There’s a running joke that involves Manchester United and straightforward Champions League draws at the group stage, but this year David Moyes will have every right to be concerned at the standard of opposition his side face. This is arguably United’s most testing section since being joined by Barcelona and Bayern Munich when they lifted the trophy in season 1998-99; Shakhtar Donetsk have proven tournament pedigree, reaching the last 16 and quarter-finals in recent years, and represent a daunting away trip. Leverkusen, meanwhile have commenced their Bundesliga campaign promisingly and Real Sociedad trounced Olympique Lyonnais in the play-offs. They are very much here on merit. It is a group that Moyes and United must be very careful not to underestimate.

Uefa

It is a pastime of most football fans to whinge about football governing bodies such as Uefa and Fifa, even when there is nothing to complain about. However, any fresh criticism of Uefa based on the group stage draw is fully justified as it was nothing short of a farce. Celtic legend Billy McNeill, who captained the Glaswegians to the European Cup in 1967, was chosen to help with the draw but awkwardly failed to open any of the eight capsules containing the pot one teams. Before a global audience, the 73-year-old McNeill became a figure of ridicule all over social media. Manchester United icon Sir Bobby Charlton recently suffered a similar fate. Uefa need to have a complete rethink of how they conduct these draws – Thursday’s event was farcical, even amateurish. 

Guardiola keen on Premier League 'adventure'

The Spaniard has underlined his future ambition to coach in England’s top flight, and insists he has nothing but respect for Jose Mourinho, despite their colourful past

Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has reiterated his desire to embark on an “adventure” in the Premier League.

The 42-year-old had been strongly linked with a move to Chelsea – who the Bavarians play on Friday – throughout his year-long absence from the game.

Despite agreeing to succeed Jupp Heynckes at the Allianz Arena, though, the former Barcelona coach admits he harbours an ambition to take charge of a Premier League club in the future.

He told a press conference: “I am at Bayern and I want to try and do my best, just as I did with Barca.

“I want to stay here for as long as possible, but sooner or later I want to have an adventure in English football.”

Guardiola is in Prague preparing for Friday’s Uefa Super Cup clash with Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea.

And, although the pair endured a turbulent rivalry during their respective spells in charge of Barcelona and Real Madrid, Guardiola has revealed he holds no grudge towards his opposite number now that both have moved on.

He added: “I have great respect for his career,” he said.

“I try to learn from all the coaches in the world, including him. But I will be trying to win the Super Cup, and he will be doing the same so that is it.

“He is a master of organising counter-attacks and when you lose the ball to his teams, you’re dead.”

The clash is scheduled to kick off at 19:45 BST.

Mourinho: Super Cup not about me and Guardiola

Friday’s clash in Prague has been built up by many as a reunion of two old enemies, but the Chelsea boss insists the only narrative that matters is on the pitch

Jose Mourinho insists he does not see Friday’s Super Cup clash with Bayern Munich as a chance to get one over on old nemesis Pep Guardiola.

The pair had a long-running feud in Spain as Mourinho’s Real Madrid sought to unsettle and replace Guardiola’s all-conquering Barcelona as the dominant force in domestic and European football.

During that battle Guardiola only lost three of his 15 meetings with Mourinho, but the Special One insists personal success will not be on his mind when the teams take to the field on Friday.

“Your statistics are wrong, very wrong, but I don’t’ want to discuss that because it’s not relevant,” he bristled when confronted with his head-to-head numbers against Guardiola.

“Go there and see what happened with Inter, the league of the records in Spain, the King Cup in Spain, the Super Cup in Spain, so you are very wrong. But it’s not me against him, it’s club against club.

“It’s not about me and Pep, it’s about Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Pep is not European champion and I’m not Europa League champion. We just coach here now, so it’s not about us.”

When questioned on Bayern’s biggest strength, Mourinho had no doubts. “Bayern’s strength is the team,” he added. “The team is a team of players in the best moment of their career. 

“All of them very, very, experienced – I think their average age is 27, 28 – year after year in the best competitions with their club and the national team.

“They also come from a season where they were the perfect team, because only perfect teams can win the treble.

“I played against Bayern many times, sometimes in the last years, others a long time ago. It doesn’t matter the system or the player, it’s always a powerful team and a big club.”

Some see the Super Cup as a glorified friendly to kick off the European season, but Mourinho insists it will provide a valuable test for his young players, regardless of the result.

“Last year we played in the Europa League, so this is very important,” he continued.

“I don’t want the players to think they can play at the same level as they did in the Europa League last season.

“The Champions League is a different planet, so it’s good for us that before we start, we play Bayern.”

Bayern Munich-Chelsea Betting Preview: Expect Mourinho to frustrate Guardiola

The former Real Madrid and Barcelona bosses lock horns once again as their sides meet in the European Super Cup in Prague

Bayern Munich meet Chelsea in the European Super Cup this Friday at the Eden Arena for the first European trophy up for grabs this season.

Expect their to be fireworks on the touch line, as Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola are reunited after numerous clashes during their time as Real Madrid and Barcelona bosses respectively.

Chelsea play in the final thanks to a late Branislav Ivanovic goal which won them the Europa League last season against Benfica. The Blues have had a good start to the season, remaining unbeaten and sitting on top of the Premier League, but having played a game more than their opponents. bet365 price the English side at 7/2 (4.50) to win in 90 minutes.

After heartbreak in 2012 losing to Chelsea in the Champions League final on penalties, Bayern Munich went one better last season, beating German rivals Borussia Dortmund at Wembley to become European champions.

Despite losing the DFL-Supercup to Dortmund in July, Bayern have had a good start to the league, sitting on top but, as with Chelsea, they have played a game extra. bet365 price Guardiola’s men as favourites at 3/4 (1.75) to win the match. The same firm price the draw at 11/4 (3.75).

Despite both these sides having immense attacking line-ups, their recent games haven’t been filled with goals. The Under 2.5 goals bet at even money (2.00) seems like a fantastic offer when you consider neither sides, or coaches, will want to lose so expect a tight affair.

This bet would have paid out in Bayern’s last three matches, as well as two out of Chelsea’s last three competitive games.

For those looking for more value, Chelsea or Draw in the double chance market seems like a steal at 11/10 (2.10) . With both sides likely to name full strength sides, there is no reason why Chelsea won’t be able to compete with Bayern.


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