Barcelona are better than Bayern, says Guardiola

The ex-Blaugrana coach is eagerly anticipating the Champions League semi-final, though he thinks the Bavarians have a tough nut to crack

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has branded Barcelona the “strongest” after the two teams were paired together in Friday’s Champions League semi-final draw.

The 44-year-old guided Barcelona to numerous trophies between 2008 and 2012 before taking a one-year sabbatical.

The upcoming Champions League tie will be Guardiola’s first return to Camp Nou with another club and he has nothing but respect for his former team.

“Obviously, Barcelona were one of the options. I have enjoyed a lot of success at Barca, but I am very happy to be here at Bayern. It’s fine for me. Barcelona are of course the best out there,” the Spaniard said at a press conference.

“I am grateful to get this chance to return to Barcelona with Bayern. It is something very special.

“I cannot say anything bad about Barcelona. I have nothing but respect for Barca. I will never forget these two games.

“We will need the entire team to beat Barcelona. Believe me, they are the strongest.

“I am very happy for Luis Enrique. He is a great coach and a fine human being.

“Barcelona’s mentality and philosophy has not changed. They are still very much the same team.”

Bayern and Barca last met in the Champions League in 2012-13, when the German champions recorded a 7-0 win on aggregate.