Guardiola: No excuse for bad Bayern display despite win

The Spanish coach says his team failed to turn up for the first half and was not happy with their “very slow” performance against Augsburg


Pep Guardiola has criticised Bayern Munich for their display against Augsburg, despite winning 2-1 to keep their perfect start to the Bundesliga campaign intact.

The German champions went behind at the Allianz Arena through an Alexander Esswein strike before Robert Lewandowski tapped home from close range to square things up late on. Thomas Muller then converted a 90th minute penalty to secure the win for the hosts.

Speaking after the game Guardiola praised the visitors’ defending, but criticised his team for not turning up in the first half.

“I know it’s hard after an international break, but that can be no excuse,” he said after the game. “We have to play for 90 minutes, not just 45.

“Our body language wasn’t good in the first half, and our game was very, very slow.

“I hope we improve on that in the future. Augsburg defended very well, but we had a lot of chances in the second half.”

Meanwhile, Muller admitted that his side were not at their best and says he felt he pressure as he stepped up to take the last minute spot-kick.

“We were a shade sloppy on the ball today. We still created plenty of chances but failed to take them,” he said. 

“The penalty was a pressure situation for me. Even an experienced player like me gets a few butterflies when it’s a 90th-minute penalty to win it 2-1.”

Bayern Munich 2-1 Augsburg: Lewandowski & Muller rescue win for Guardiola's men

The visitors looked like causing an upset thanks to an Alexander Esswein first half goal, but the Polish striker drew his side level before the German netted a penalty

Thomas Muller grabbed a late winner from the penalty spot as Bayern Munich came from behind to edge out Augsburg 2-1 on Saturday.

The defending Bundesliga champions had fallen behind to an Alexander Esswein strike shortly before the interval, but hit back through Robert Lewandowski and Germany international Muller.

Augsburg came into the fixture having won two of their last three matches against Bayern, although both of those triumphs came after Pep Guardiola’s men had wrapped up the league title.

That impressive record enabled the away side to play with a degree of confidence and Esswein’s opener set alarm bells ringing.

Bayern pressed for an equaliser, bringing Kingsley Coman on for a first appearance since his deadline-day switch from Juventus, and their persistence paid off when Lewandowski looked to have salvaged a point 13 minutes from time.

But Augsburg’s hard work was completely undone in the 90th minute – Muller netting from the spot after Markus Feulner was harshly ruled to have brought down Douglas Costa in the box, preserving Bayern’s 100 per cent start to the season.

Mario Gotze was left out of the Bayern squad after picking up a knock, while, with Arjen Robben injured on international duty, Guardiola included Rafinha, pushing Philipp Lahm out wide, and brought Jerome Boateng in for Juan Bernat.

Lacking the creativity of Robben on the wing, Bayern struggled to carve out any clear-cut opportunities in the early stages, with Lewandowski’s eighth-minute cross drifting just out of the reach of Muller.

Bayern had to wait until the 21st minute to test Marwin Hitz with the Augsburg goalkeeper diving to his right to keep out a close-range header from Thiago.

Despite dominating possession, the hosts posed little threat to the Augsburg goal as the half progressed, and they were punished two minutes from the break when Esswein capped a neat passing move by prodding beyond Manuel Neuer from 18 yards with the outside of his right boot.

Koo Ja-cheol and Raul Bobadilla both had hands in the build-up, with the former eventually providing the assist for an unmarked Esswein to fire home.

David Alaba sent an optimistic effort high and wide as Bayern desperately pushed to restore parity early in the second half, before Thiago scooped a half-volley over from a central position.

Coman was handed his debut as a 55th-minute replacement for Arturo Vidal but, despite predictions from sporting director Matthias Sammer that the teenager would “explode into life” if given the opportunity, he showed few signs of being able to transform Bayern’s fortunes.

Hitz was equal to a Xabi Alonso free-kick from 25 yards shortly after the hour mark, but he was cruelly beaten by Lewandowski for the leveller.

Lewandowski weaved his way through the Augsburg defence before offloading left to Muller, whose shot from a narrow angle was blocked by Hitz. The ball fell kindly for Lewandowski on the rebound and he was left to tap in to an open goal from close range.

Muller completed the turnaround in the final minute, sparing Bayern’s blushes from 12 yards.

Guardiola backs Vidal after Chile withdrawal

The midfielder said family problems forced him to miss his country’s friendly against Paraguay, and the Bayern Munich boss supported his decision to stay with his son


Bayern Munich coach Josep Guardiola says he supports Arturo Vidal’s decision to drop out of the Chile squad last week.

Vidal courted criticism for La Roja in the summer when he was caught drink-driving as he crashed his car during the Copa America, after which he was handed a two-year driving ban.

The midfielder was again centre of attention as he pulled out of Jorge Sampaoli’s squad to meet Paraguay, insisting family issues were the reason, which Pep has insisted was a valid reason.

“I believe Arturo. This happens here, in Spain, Germany, Italy, not just Chile,” the trainer told Radio Cooperativa.

“I have spoken with him, he told me what happened. He asked the coach of the Chilean team permission for a problem with his son and he wanted to be close by.

“Why wouldn’t I trust him? I spoke to him, I do not listen to speculation.”

The former Barcelona man went on to talk about Bayern’s current form at the start of the Bundesliga season.

“We want to be the best, but right now there is a club above us – Borussia Dortmund,” he added.

“We are second on goal difference and we will try to become the best. That is why we’re here.”

Lahm: Don't write off Ribery

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm has backed team-mate Franck Ribery to shake off his injury problems and return to his best

Philipp Lahm is confident Bayern Munich team-mate Franck Ribery will overcome his injury worries and become a key figure for the Bundesliga champions once more.

The former France international has not featured for Bayern since picking up a back injury in their 7-0 Uefa Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk back in March and it remains unclear when he will return.

New signing Douglas Costa has impressed during Ribery’s absence and some have questioned whether the 32-year-old still has a future at Bayern.

Nevertheless, Lahm has laughed off suggestions that the French winger’s time in Munich is nearing its end and has backed him to come back fighting. 

“I am convinced that Franck will return to his best. Everybody who writes him off is making a big mistake,” Lahm was quoted as saying by Bild.

“We are there for him as a team to support him and to build him up again after all his misfortune.

“And he is 100 per cent motivated. It is not like he has lost his desire to return. I am absolutely certain that he will get back to his best form.

“And we all saw last season that we need players like Franck if we want to achieve our goals.”

Eighty of European football's elite clubs unite to offer aid for refugee crisis

Club’s in Europe’s continental competitions offer donations to aid those seeking refuge across the continent

All 80 clubs taking part in the Uefa Champions League and Europa League proper this season are to donate a proportion of the ticket sales from their first home games in the competitions to help the refugee crisis.

Europe has seen a major influx of refugees from troubled parts of the world in recent weeks and clubs such as Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have already offered assistance.

Porto last week called for the clubs participating in this season’s Champions League group stage to donate €1 for every ticket sold for their first home game in the competition proper, penning an open letter to Uefa president Michel Platini.  

And at a European Club Association (ECA) meeting on Tuesday, the organisation confirmed all 80 clubs competing in the Champions League and Europa League will take part in the initiative.

Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, re-elected for another two years as ECA chairman, said: “We are expecting [to raise] €2m to €3m – football also has a responsibility.”