'I can only thank him' – Guardiola counters Raiola attack

The Bayern coach was the victim of a scathing verbal attack by the agent but would not be drawn into a war of words

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Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola has countered agent Mino Raiola’s recent attack by thanking him for praising him as a coach.

Raiola launched a scathing attack at the former Barcelona boss earlier this month, calling him “a crap person” for the way he treated Zlatan Ibrahimovic during his time at Camp Nou, despite acknowledging his coaching qualities.

“Raiola? He said that I am a great coach, so I can only thank him,” the Bayern coach said when questioned about the agent’s comments at a press conference.

The 44-year-old fell out with Ibrahimovic during the Swede’s spell at Barcelona in 2009-10, with the attacker leaving the club for AC Milan just one year after his arrival from Inter.

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Guardiola: Dortmund slump could also happen to Bayern

The Spaniard has again warned that the reigning champions are not untouchable and expects a difficult game against Schalke


Pep Guardiola has warned Bayern Munich must learn from Borussia Dortmund’s fall from grace this season to ensure they do not suffer a similar fate.

Dortmund have been Bayern’s closest rivals in the past five Bundesliga seasons – winning two titles of their own – but find themselves bottom of the table in the current campaign.

Having lost Robert Lewandowski to Bayern at the end of last season, Dortmund’s attempts to replace the Pole’s firepower have failed, with Ciro Immobile and Adrian Ramos scoring just five goals between them so far.

Additionally, Jurgen Klopp’s side have struggled with long-term injuries to the likes of Mats Hummels, Jakub Blaszczykowski, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gundogan.

BVB have just four wins from 18 games all season, while Bayern are eight points clear at the top despite their first defeat to Wolfsburg on Friday, but Guardiola maintains their plight should serve as a warning.

“I like Klopp and Dortmund,” said the Spaniard. “They have great players, but now they are bottom.

“We have to watch it [their fall], that could happen to us.”

Guardiola is keen to ensure Bayern find their composure again against Schalke on Tuesday despite facing a side he believes are dangerous.

“If we understand that we can also lose tomorrow, then we are on the right track,” he added.

“Schalke are one of the best teams in Germany. It is difficult to attack them, we must patiently play.

“They will be super organised defensively.”

Boateng: Bayern on course for treble

The Germany international is targeting a repeat of the triple-crown earned under Jupp Heynckes in 2013


Bayern Munich defender Jermoe Boateng says his side have their sights set on a domestic and European treble this season.

The reigning German champions became the first German side to achieve the feat in 2012, when former coach Jupp Heynckes led them to an historic triple-crown as they marched to Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League titles.

And Boateng believes current boss Pep Guardiola can lead the club to a repeat of their previously unprecedented success.

“We’re still in with a chance of three trophies and we have big, ambitious targets,” Boateng told Fifa.com

“We know we’ll have to keep working very hard and hit peak form at the right time. But we have the potential and if we deliver when it matters we have a good chance.”

Bayern hold an eight-point lead at the summit of the Bundesliga, but suffered their first defeat of the league season on Friday when they went down to a shock 4-1 defeat to second-placed Wolfsburg – a reverse which saw them double the number of goals they have conceded in the current league season.

And 26-year-old German international and World Cup-winner Boateng admits the winter break did cost them some momentum.

“When you’re in the groove you obviously just want to keep playing,” he said.

“But if you look ahead to the games we will hopefully have coming up when there are trophies at stake in April or May, the winter break is a good opportunity to build up reserves of strength.”

Bayern host second division outfit Eintracht Braunschweig in the last 16 of the DFP Pokal and have drawn Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk in the first knockout round of the Champions League.

Wolfsburg do not fear losing De Bruyne, insists Hecking

The Belgium international has been in exceptional form this season but his coach is confident that, for now at least, his future is not uncertain


Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking is confident the club will be able to hold on to star player Kevin De Bruyne for the foreseeable future.

The 23-year-old has been in stunning form for the Bundesliga side since joining them from Chelsea in January 2014 and once more impressed with a man-of-the-match performance in the 4-1 win over Bayern Munich at the weekend.

The Bundesliga leaders are one of a number of clubs keeping a close eye on De Bruyne, but Wolfsburg remain hopeful of holding on to the attacking midfielder.

“I do not have any fear that De Bruyne will leave the club,” Hecking told Doppelpass. “There are only eight teams in Europe that are a step up from Wolfsburg.”

However, Hecking also admitted that there is no guarantee the Belgium international will stay put.

“When you have a player like Kevin, there is always a bit of a risk that another team will come in and sign him.

“A big-money move would also be a sign of appreciation of what we are doing.”

De Bruyne has a contract with Wolfsburg until June 2019.

Bayern Munich – Schalke Preview: Champions aim to get back on track

Pep Guardiola’s side were stunned 4-1 by Wolfsburg on Friday and their goalkeeper is determined to put that result behind them immediately, starting on Tuesday

Manuel Neuer insists Tuesday’s match against Schalke is just what Bayern Munich need following Friday’s Bundesliga defeat to Wolfsburg.

The German champions’ 17-game unbeaten start to the league season was halted in spectacular style on Friday as they fell to a 4-1 loss.

The results meant second-placed Wolfsburg cut Bayern’s lead at the top to eight points, as Neuer conceded four times – the same number of goals as Pep Guardiola’s men conceded in the entire first half of the season.

The Germany goalkeeper believes a quick turnaround is just what his side need to recover from their disappointing first game back after the Bundesliga break.

“Obviously it’s not a good restart for us,” Neuer told the club’s official website.

“It’s not a catastrophe, but we know we still have a lot to do.

“A midweek game is just what we need right now. It would be bad if we were having to wait eight days for the next match. We have to turn it around from here on in.”

Guardiola is likely to be without French winger Franck Ribery and Brazillian defender Rafinha once again, as they are struggling with thigh and ankle injuries respectively.

Fourth-placed Schalke head into this meeting off-the-back of a 1-0 win against Hannover and they could welcome back top scorer Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, following Cameroon’s elimination from the Africa Cup of Nations.

Felipe Santana will not be available, however, after joining Olympiacos on loan until the end of the season.

Roberto Di Matteo may have to wait on the fitness of Marco Hoger, who suffered a thigh injury.

Schalke have conceded 11 goals across their last three league trips to the Allianz Arena although the midfielder hopes to be ready and available as the Gelsenkirchen club look to end their poor run against the champions.

“We’ve not done well in Munich recently,” Hoger told the club’s official website.

“We want to change that on Tuesday.

“It is possible for Bayern to lose two games in a row. We’re not thinking too much about how their game against Wolfsburg panned out.”