Shakhtar would challenge for Bundesliga – Guardiola

The former Barcelona boss rates the Ukrainian champions highly and says they are as good as the best sides in Germany

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola believes Shakhtar Donetsk would challenge for the Bundesliga title if they played their football in Germany.

The Bavarians had Xabi Alonso sent off as they drew 0-0 with the Ukrainian champions in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie on February 17.

On Wednesday the two sides will do battle for a second time in the return leg at the Allianz Arena and Guardiola is adamant Shakhtar are as good as the best sides in German football.

“Shakhtar have same sort of quality as top clubs here [in Germany],” said the Spaniard at Tuesday’s press conference. “If they played in the Bundesliga, they would contend for the title. If we let Shakhtar’s attackers run, we will have big problems because they have plenty of quality.

“This game is like a basketball play-off, the two teams know each other. In the end, the quality of the players is the difference. This match isn’t just important for me. It is important for the club. It’s simple, we just have to win the game.”

Bayern forward Franck Ribery faced the media alongside Guardiola and highlighted the quality of the Donetsk club in the final third as well as the tactical nous of coach Mircea Lucescu.

“Shakhtar have forwards with quality and we have to be aware of this,” added the France international. “They are good at counterattacking, so we have to avoid this.  It is very important for us to progress to the quarter-finals. Shakhtar are a good team, we know this. But, we are even better. Of course, our will and aim is to win the game and go through.

“[Mircea] Lucescu is a very good coach I think. We all know him and his name. He had a lot of success in the past. We knew before the first leg already what was waiting for us, we were not surprised about their strong performance in the first game.”

Bayern captain Philipp Lahm will not be considered for selection by Guardiola despite returning to full training, meaning he joins long-term absentees Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara on the sidelines.

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