Guardiola hails Bayern after another 'big' win

The Spaniard’s side have scored 14 goals in their last two Bundesliga games, leaving the coach impressed with their attacking efforts

Pep Guardiola saluted a “big victory” for his Bayern Munich side after they put six goals past relegation-threatened Paderborn on Saturday.

Robert Lewandowski and Arjen Robben both scored twice, while Franck Ribery and Mitchell Weiser also scored to complete another resounding win for the Bundesliga champions.

Last weekend Bayern thrashed Hamburg 8-0, but it was their performance on Saturday that had Guardiola purring after the game.

“I’m delighted,” he said. “I’d like to congratulate the players. We’ve taken a big step forward today.”

Lewandowski’s two goals mean he now has 14 for the season from 31 appearances in all competitions and Guardiola was thrilled with their attacking efforts.

“We scored a lot of goals and are delighted with the result,” he added.

The result leaves Bayern 11 points clear of second placed Wolfsburg, who take on Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Guardiola: Xabi Alonso the worst defender in the world

The Spaniard was sent off against Shakhtar on Tuesday night for two rash challenges but his boss says he is not in the team for his tackling ability

Pep Guardiola has described Xabi Alonso as the worst player in the world from a defensive perspective, but pointed out that Bayern Munich did not sign the midfielder to recover the ball – but keep it.

Alonso was sent off in Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first-leg clash with Shakhtar Donetsk, after picking up a first-half booking for a mistimed tackle on Alex Teixeira and the earning a second yellow for pulling back the same player with 25 minutes remaining.

The Spaniard’s sending-off obviously left Bayern in a perilous position but the Bundesliga leaders held on to claim a 0-0 draw and Guardiola refused to criticise Alonso for his ill-discipline.

“We want to keep the ball with us for as long as we can,” he told reporters on Friday, “so that’s why I want players like Xabi and Thiago [Alcantara]. 

“But when it comes to running after another player, Xabi Alonso is the worst player in the world!

“But then, that is not what we signed him for.”

Guardiola also insisted that his decision to start Robert Lewandowski on the bench against Shakhtar was not an expression of his dissatisfaction with the striker’s poor form, with the Pole having netted just once in his previous five Bundesliga appearances.

“I am very happy with Robert,” the Catalan said. “He knows my opinion on his performances and his quality. I do not doubt him. 

“But I have five top strikers and we always have to adjust to the opponents. It is not easy to play with five or six attackers in Europe!”

Meanwhile, Thiago Alcantara returned to training on Thursday, after nearly a year out of action with knee ligament damage, and Guardiola is optimistic that the midfielder will soon be ready to return to first-team action.

“Maybe he can train with us again in two or three weeks,” the former Barcelona boss added. “Then we have to see how his knee reacts. 

“But the doctor and Thiago are optimistic and so am I. He is on a good path. This is the last phase of his treatment and his knee is okay.”

Paderborn-Bayern Munich Preview: Sammer demands improvement from Bundesliga leaders

An 8-0 destruction of Hamburg was followed by a disappointing performance against Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek and the club director wants to see the side hit top form

They may have won their last Bundesliga game 8-0, but Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer has called for improvement ahead of their trip to Paderborn.

As proof of just how impeccably high the standards at Bayern are, Sammer has demanded the side gets better after a goalless Champions League draw at Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday.

Most clubs would be pleased with an away draw and Pep Guardiola’s men now know victory at home will be enough to progress to the last eight of Europe’s premier club competition.

But not Bayern, with Sammer not in a mood to be complacent following their stalemate.

“Everyone can see we have room to improve before we reach peak form, and that’s the message for the next few days,” Sammer told the club’s official website after the Shakhtar draw.

“We have to shift up a gear. Our performance today was okay, but it wasn’t great … we need to improve.”

A return to winning ways is more than likely for a Bayern side who sit eight points clear of Wolfsburg at the top of the table.

Bayern thrashed Hamburg last Saturday, with Arjen Robben, Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze all scoring doubles. The win was the club’s biggest in over 30 years and will have Paderborn’s defence on high alert.

After a bright start, Paderborn’s maiden Bundesliga season looks like ending in a relegation fight.

They hauled themselves two points clear of the bottom three with a 2-1 win at Hannover last time out – their first league victory since November.

Paderborn were on top of the Bundesliga before losing 4-0 to Bayern in September.

Gotze scored twice in that victory, while Muller and Robert Lewandowski also netted as the sides met in the Bundesliga for the first time.

Boost for Bayern as Thiago Alcantara returns to training

The Spain international has been sidelined since March year but he enjoyed a run-out with his team-mates on Thursday

Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara has taken another significant step on the road to recovery from a serious knee injury, after returning to “light training” on Thursday.

The Spain international missed the end of 2013-14 season after suffering ligament damage in a Bundesliga game against Hoffenheim on March 29 of last year.

Thiago had hoped to make his return to action during the first half of the current campaign but he suffered a setback last October that necessitated surgery.

However, Thiago is edging ever closer to a long-awaited comeback, after returning to Germany on Wednesday and then enjoying a run-out with his team-mates the following morning.

“In the sunshine and with high spirits, Thiago recorded his rehab training in Munich on Thursday,” a statement on Bayern’s website explained.

“One day after his return to Sabener Strasse, the Spaniard completed a good hour-long run on the grass and sweated further in the Performance Centre.”

On Thursday, Thiago took to Twitter to thank those who have stood by him during his injury nightmare.

“Thanks to all of you that have helped me in these last few months,” he wrote.

Thiago joined Bayern from Barcelona in the summer of 2013, for a fee of €25 million, and the midfielder still has two years to run on his current contract with the Bavarians.