Guardiola: Real Madrid a huge challenge for Bayern Munich

The former Barcelona boss has described Los Blancos as one of the best counterattacking sides in the world but he is looking forward to facing such a familiar foe

Pep Guardiola labelled Bayern Munich’s Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid a “huge challenge”.

The Bavarians are being tipped by many pundits to become the first side to successfully retain the European Cup since AC Milan followed up their demolition of Steaua Bucharest in 1989 with a 1-0 win over Benfica the following year.

However, former Barcelona boss Guardiola is acutely aware of the threat posed to his side’s Champions League hopes by Madrid.

“The draw is the draw,” the Catalan told a press conference. “But Real Madrid are a tough draw. I know their team well.

“They have a great team and a great coach [Carlo Ancelotti], so it will be a huge challenge for us. But we are looking forward to it.”

The first leg will take place at the Santiago Bernabeu on April 23 and although it has been reported that thigh injury victim Cristiano Ronaldo will not have recovered in time, Guardiola expects to have to contend with the Portuguese superstart.

“I believe he will play against us,” the ex-Spain international stated. “We will prepare for the game believing that he will be in the team.

“We watched their game against [Borussia] Dortmund and will watch them in the Copa del Rey against Barcelona [on Wednesday]. We’ll analyse everything.”

Bayern return to domestic action on Saturday against second-place Dortmund, with the Bavarians side having already secured the Bundesliga title in March, a record seven games before the season’s end.

However, Guardiola insisted his team will approach the match like any other, and spoke of similarities between Dortmund and Real Madrid’s style of football.

He continued: “It will be a real test. If we try and play even a little relaxed tomorrow [Saturday], we don’t stand a chance.

“Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund are the best counterattacking sides in the world.”

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