Guardiola: Bayern can't always win

The Bavarians’ 53-match unbeaten run in the Bundesliga was ended by Augsburg but their coach is keen to move on quickly

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has insisted that his side cannot expect to win every match after their 53-game unbeaten Bundesliga run came to an end at the hands of Augsburg.

A first-half Sacha Molders goal at the SGL Arena consigned the German champions to their first league defeat since they lost 2-1 at home to Bayer Leverkusen back in October 2012.

However, Guardiola has insisted that his team were beaten by strong opponents and is looking forward to putting things right against Manchester United in the Champions League in midweek.

“No complaints. We lost because the opponent was a bit better than us,” he told reporters.

“We have already seen how good a team Augsburg are in the DFB Pokal. We fought and tried a lot. This is football. You can’t always win. Sooner or later, a defeat happens.

“We accept that and now we need to prepare for the Manchester United game as soon as possible. On Wednesday it’s a final. It’s about life or death.”

Forward Thomas Muller admitted that his team-mates were disappointed that their long run without a defeat had come to an end.

“It hurts a bit because we wanted to keep our run going. The fact is that it’s not easy in Augsburg. That was clear before the game, but the plan was not to go home in defeat.”

Augsburg 1-0 Bayern Munich: Molders sends champions crashing to first Bundesliga defeat

A solitary strike from Sascha Molders was enough for Augsburg to condemn Bayern Munich to their first Bundesliga defeat of the season on Saturday.

Molders turned home Daniel Baier’s pass in clever style as Pep Guardiola tasted defeat for the first time in the Bundesliga and saw his side’s winless run extended to three in all competitions ahead of the Champions League clash with Manchester United next week.

The Bavarians have already clinched the earliest league title in Bundesliga history, defending their crown this season with seven games to spare, and the records have continued to tumble after a sequence that had not seen them beaten domestically in the top flight since October 2012 against Bayer Leverkusen.

Augsburg seemed unlikely to be the ones to trouble that record, heading into the match without a win in their last four league fixtures, but a 31st-minute strike from forward Molders gave them an historic victory and handed Bayern their first loss in 54 league games.

Guardiola made a host of changes to the side that drew with Manchester United in their Champions League quarter-final first-leg clash during midweek with Manuel Neuer, Toni Kroos, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martinez the only ones to retain their places.

Perhaps sensing an opportunity, Augsburg started strongly, with Matthias Ostrzolek testing Neuer after just two minutes with a long-range shot.

The champions were again under early pressure when Schweinsteiger conceded a free kick on the edge of the penalty area after a foul on Halil Altintop, although the set-piece was dealt with by the Munich wall.

Bayern’s first attempt came after nine minutes when Xherdan Shaqiri let the ball run across his body then sent a low driven shot just wide of the left-hand post.

Guardiola’s much-changed side looked far from their usual dominant selves, with Augsburg finding constant gaps in their defence.

Neuer was called into action again after 10 minutes when Alexander Esswein beat the offside trap to find a way through on goal, but the Germany shot-stopper was quickest to the ball and cleared the danger.

Altintop could then have put Augsburg in front after 25 minutes when he latched onto Esswein’s low cross from the right, but Neuer once again stood tall.

Gradually, Bayern began to assert control and Claudio Pizarro almost found a way through from a Shaqiri pass.

Augsburg took the lead 14 minutes from half-time, though, as Molders punished Munich when they lost possession on the left – the striker running in behind the defence to receive a throughball from Baier and fire home.

Guardiola opted to make two second-half changes, with Gotze introduced at the break replacing Shaqiri and Alaba coming on for Ylli Sallahi shortly afterwards.

Mandzukic then missed a superb chance to level the match inside a minute of the restart when he headed over from close range.

Neuer had to be alert to stop Bayern from going further behind with a strong save in a one-on-one situation with Esswein as Augsburg continued to push.

Raul Bobadilla then went even closer to doubling the lead late on, as his shot struck the post.

Bayern piled on the pressure late on but were unable to find a breakthrough as Guardiola watched his side extend their winless run in all competitions to three ahead of Wednesday’s clash with the English champions at the Allianz Arena.

Bayern keeper Starke undergoes elbow surgery

The 33-year-old suffered a torn ligament in training on Friday and could be sidelined for most of the rest of the season following Saturday’s surgery

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Tom Starke has undergone surgery on an elbow injury sustained in training on Friday.

The 33-year-old, understudy to Bayern’s regular No.1 Manuel Neuer, has made just two Bundesliga appearances this season.

With the title already assured, Starke was named in Bayern’s starting XI against his former club Hoffenheim last week, which ended in a 3-3 draw.

However, Starke is now set for a spell on the sidelines, though the German and European champions have not put a timescale on his return.

“Treble winners FC Bayern must give up on the services of Tom Starke for now,” a statement on the club’s website read. “The No.2 of the record German champions retired from training on Friday with a torn ligament to his right elbow.

“The 33-year-old goalkeeper underwent surgery on Saturday by a specialist in Tubingen. How long Starke has to stop is still open.”

Starke made the switch to the Allianz Arena ahead of the 2012-13 season, but has been limited to just five Bundesliga appearances for Bayern.

Teenager Leopold Zingerle replaced him in the squad for Bayern’s encounter with Augsburg later on Saturday.

Martinez: Baines can be Everton's Lahm

The Everton boss believes the star can thrive in a central midfield role, as the Germany international has done at Bayern Munich

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has challenged Leighton Baines to emulate the versatility of Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm.

Bayern and Germany skipper Lahm has spent the majority of his career playing either as a left or right back, but has thrived in a central midfield position since Pep Guardiola took over at the Allianz Arena last year.  

Baines, meanwhile, is widely recognised as one of the best full-backs in the Premier League, and his consistent performances have seen him become a prominent member of the England national team.

The 29-year-old – who penned a new four-year deal at Goodison Park in January – accompanied Martinez to Old Trafford to witness Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with German and European champions Bayern in the Champions League on Wednesday, and was able to study Lahm in his new role.

Martinez is convinced that Baines has the intelligence and technical ability to follow in the 30-year-old Lahm’s footsteps by adapting his game to a new position in the future.

“I’ve always thought Leighton can develop into Philipp Lahm’s role, it is in his make-up,” the Spaniard told reporters. “Not this season but in seasons to come he is someone who can play in that central role.

“I wanted him to watch Philipp Lahm in a live game because when it’s on TV you only see the player when he’s on the ball. It was good for Leighton to watch a player I feel he can be as good as or even better.

“Like Lahm, Leighton doesn’t give the ball away, he’s got a very low centre of gravity and technically he is as good as it gets.

“When you have that control of the ball and have been such a good defender, and as a left-back you have to be very good on one-on-one situations, it is very important to have that defensive mindset in those midfield areas.

“That is important for defensive balance. As a player Leighton has been through so many different experiences and has always found a way to rise to new challenges in his career.

“I am convinced he can step up to a new challenge. You need to look at the physicality and he is a naturally fit boy so can easily go into the role. He can be more expansive in central midfield than in his left-back role.

“That’s why I wanted him to see it first hand.”

Injured Rooney could miss Bayern Munich clash

The England striker has sustained a toe injury and faces a race against time to get fit in time for the Champions League quarter-final second leg tie in Germany

Wayne Rooney is in a race against time to be fit for Manchester United’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich.

Rooney will miss United’s trip to Newcastle on Saturday after manager David Moyes revealed the striker was struggling with the toe injury he sustained during last Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Bayern at Old Trafford.

The 28-year-old, who injured his ankle at the Allianz Arena in 2010, is now a doubt for the trip to Munich for the club’s do-or-die clash with Bayern on Wednesday.

“Wayne’s got a badly bruised toe,” Moyes told MUTV. “He picked it up in the game the other night. Whether we were going to play him or rest him, it doesn’t matter.

“He’s got a terrible toe and not only will it be a problem for this game, it could be a problem for the Munich game as well on Wednesday.

“So we need to monitor it. We’ll get him treatment all over the weekend and see if we can speed it up.”

England manager Roy Hodgson will also be monitoring developments closely, as an injury to his star man would seriously hamper his preparations for the World Cup.