Guardiola not satisfied despite Bayern rout

The Bavarians scored another six goals on Saturday but the 43-year-old was still not completely satisfied with the performance of his side

Bayern Munich head coach Pep Guardiola says his side were not “dominant” despite a 6-1 hammering of Wolfsburg on Saturday.

The Bavarian giants racked up a record 16th straight Bundesliga victory at the Volkswagen Aren and opened up a 23-point gap at the top of the table. 

Things started badly for the visitors, however, as Naldo volleyed home Kevin De Bruyne’s teasing cross.

Xherdan Shaqiri ensured the sides went in level at the break before two goals apiece from Thomas Muller and Mario Mandzukic, as well as a strike from Franck Ribery on his comeback from injury, sealed the victory.

But despite the ease with which Bayern eventually collected three points, Guardiola was not fully satisfied with their performance. 

Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “We were not as dominant as in recent games.

“Wolfsburg had super organisation and were very aggressive.

“In the first half we had problems, even in the first 15 minutes of the second half. But in the end we have scored the goals.”

Wolfsburg 1-6 Bayern Munich: Bavarians tear apart hosts with late salvo

Bayern Munich tore apart Wolfsburg with five goals in the final 30 minutes to win 6-1 after going a goal behind early in Saturday’s game.

The hosts had surprisingly moved ahead when Naldo met Kevin De Bruyne’s teasing cross, yet the visitors levelled when a goalmouth scramble fell to Xherdan Shaqiri, whose shot just crossed the line.

Bayern stepped up a gear with five second-half goals, the first coming when Thiago Alcantara’s sublime pass was collected by Thomas Muller who tapped home after rounding the goalkeeper.

Mario Mandzukic then notched against his former side for his 50th Bundesliga goal, before Franck Ribery – making his first Bayern appearance since February 2 – and Muller’s second helped Bayern make it 49 league matches without defeat.

Croatia international Mandzukic grabbed a second of his own to complete the rout as Bayern prepared for Tuesday’s Champions League visit of Arsenal in fine style.

Bayern dominated possession in the early stages, and a swift counterattack on 15 minutes saw Toni Kroos slip Shaqiri through on goal, but the Switzerland international could only hit tamely at Diego Benaglio as he struggled to keep his balance.

Wolfsburg had been largely untroubled, however, and the hosts moved ahead on 17 minutes. De Bruyne’s out-swinging cross from the left was side-footed home by the stretching Naldo at the back post.

However, the hosts’ lead would last just nine minutes as Bayern equalised in uncharacteristically scrappy fashion.

A corner from the left was not dealt with at all by the home defence, with Dante and Rafinha having shots cleared off the line before Benaglio was finally beaten as Shaqiri’s effort sneaked in.

Shortly before the half-hour mark Benaglio had to be alert to parry Shaqiri’s fierce half-volley as Bayern cranked up the pressure, while Robben flashed wide from the edge of the box.

Yet it was Wolfsburg who should have gone into the break ahead as De Bruyne side-footed weakly at Manuel Neuer when in a great position in the box.

Bayern once more stepped up a notch after the break, and a smart, dinked free kick from Thiago led to Robben lashing a volley over the crossbar.

Wolfsburg almost caught Bayern off guard on the hour mark, when Ivan Perisic dragged wide from the edge of the box.

That miss would prove costly just three minutes later. Thiago’s intricate slide-rule through-ball was collected by Muller who calmly rounded the goalkeeper and turned home.

And the game was put to bed on 66 minutes as Mandzukic – who had replaced Kroos – swept in Rafinha’s cross from the right.

Ribery then got in on the act, smashing home Robben’s pass after the Dutchman appeared to take the initial effort too far.

Bayern’s second-half dominance continued in the 78th minute, Robben’s pin-point cross was hammered home by the head of Muller and the Germany attacker played a part in the sixth, sliding into the path of Mandzukic who could not miss from six yards out.

Despite conceding six goals for a second-consecutive week, Wolfsburg remain in fifth place, while Bayern went 23 points clear at the top ahead of second-place Borussia Dortmund’s game on Sunday.

Xavi: 'Spectacular' Barcelona not coming to the end

The midfielder hit out at Jose Mourinho’s suggestion that the club are in decline and admits he would like to become club coach in future

Barcelona star Xavi insists the club’s spectacular cycle of success is not showing signs of coming to an end.

The Blaugrana have come in for criticism from some quarters this season after struggling to hit the heights of their performance level under Pep Guardiola’s tenure as head coach.

Xavi, however, insists the squad boasts an array of players who are entering the best years of their career – although he admits it is unlikely the side will ever return to the level they enjoyed under Guardiola.

“No, absolutely no. I don’t think so [that the cycle is over],” he told the Daily Mail. “We have an excellent generation of players. Since [Johan] Cruyff changed the history and philosophy of Barcelona, over the last five years, that philosophy has gone ‘boom’! It’s really exploded and we have made history.

“But Barcelona can carry on winning trophies. We won’t suddenly be down here [on the floor]. This is a spectacular crop of players. Look at the ages of the players: [Cesc] Fabregas, [Lionel] Messi, [Andres] Iniesta, [Dani] Alves, now Neymar, Jordi Alba and [Gerard] Pique — they are all around 26, 27, 28, 29 years old. That’s a great generation of footballers.

“The period with Guardiola was unique. Under him we were ‘ding, ding, ding!’ Ringing the bell all the time, the football was so good. The key point is if you try to compare what we are doing now to that fantastic time under Guardiola, you are going to lose comparisons.

“That was the greatest period ever, but if you look at what Tata Martino is doing and the patterns of play, the concept and the idea of how we want to play is there.”

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho recently claimed the current Barcelona side are the worst in recent seasons, but Xavi believes the Portuguese simply does not enjoy the Camp Nou outfit’s playing style.

“Mourinho has a different style. He plays in a more defensive style and I respect that. But it’s to be expected that he doesn’t like our football. He has never liked Barcelona’s style. Not just now but even five years ago,” he said.

Moody Mourinho | Xavi says the coach has never liked Barca’s style of play

Barcelona take a 2-0 lead into their Champions League last-16 second-leg clash with Manchester City next week and Xavi admits he was surprised at the way in which Manuel Pellegrini’s side approached the first leg at the Etihad.

“We were expecting they would want to have more of the ball. The way they set up surprised us a little too. They weren’t defensive but they were sitting back,” said the Spain veteran.

“Pellegrini’s teams want the ball and to take the game to the opposition. He normally likes to play football, open up the game down the wings and press high up the pitch. In a way, this time they did neither. They have players for a style more like Barcelona so it was a bit of a surprise.

“They have players like Yaya Toure, [Samir] Nasri and now [Jesus] Navas and [Alvaro] Negredo who are top-quality footballers who play the game the right way. And Pellegrini is a fantastic coach, with the way in which he wants to play football right from the back.

“For example, he has brought in Demichelis. He has been criticised but he can bring the ball out well from the back in order to get the team playing football. He has plenty of good footballers to play a passing game. But it’s another thing when they come up against Barca as we have seven or eight players of our own who hardly ever give the ball away.”

Barca were thrashed 7-0 on aggregate by Bayern Munich in last season’s competition, but Xavi believes the difference in physicality between the two squads was the reason they struggled to contain the Bavarians.

“The difference between the squads isn’t huge. The big thing for me was the physical gap. We didn’t reach our standards but we were pushed aside. Now the gap isn’t so big but the problem is when we face another team like that, they are physically superior.

“Why? Look at me! Look at Iniesta, Alba, Fabregas. It means we always have to play so much better to win these big games.”

Finally, admits he would relish the chance to coach Barcelona in future, although he insists he has no plans to retire any time soon.

“I’d like to remain in football forever. It would always have to be with Barcelona. That’s where my heart and feelings are. But that [coaching] is for the future. Right now, I love to play football  always, always. When you’re a kid playing, you enjoy having the ball, don’t you? All I ever want to do is have the ball at my feet, bossing the game.

“I’ve been brought up with that style, it’s my football education. I can’t see any other way to play.”

Klopp: Sammer must thank God he's at Bayern

The Dortmund boss feels the Bavarians would be just as well off if they had not hired the 46-year-old and refuses to settle for second place

Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp has slammed Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer, saying the 46-year-old must be grateful even to be involved at the Allianz Arena.

The former Germany international succeeded Christian Nerlinger in his position in the summer of 2012 and has since overseen a fresh period of success at the club.

However, Klopp believes that Bayern would have done just as well without the ex-BVB star and coach over the last season and a half.

“If I were him, I’d thank God that someone had the idea of hiring me every time I walk into the Bayern training ground,” he said at a press conference.

“I don’t know if Bayern would have got one less point without Sammer.”

Klopp also claimed that his side refuse to be happy with a second-placed finish in the Bundesliga each season and feels his side could have done far better.

“We felt that there were games this season in which we would have been better to play football,” he said on Friday.

“We’re not satisfied with second place.”

Klopp expects another tough test when Dortmund face Freiburg on Saturday, especially as star striker Robert Lewandowski is unlikely to be available for the trip.

“Freiburg will want to show that they belong in the division,” he added. “It has not been easy for them with the Europa League. They have had good games in the last few weeks but were not rewarded.

“Lewandowski’s doing well, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be included. There was a slight stretch, (but) the knee is stable and he is pain-free. It’s not a gamble I’m about to take.”

Guardiola: Bayern won't sign many players

The Bavarians have already secured the future of Robert Lewandowski and are set to add Sebastian Rode, but the Spaniard is not expecting much transfer activity

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola says that he is only planning minor changes to his team this summer.

The German champions are set to sign Robert Lewandowski on a free transfer from Borussia Dortmund at the season’s end and are likely to add Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Sebastian Rode.

However, the former Barcelona coach says the core of his XI will remain the same at the end of the summer transfer window.

“I think the basis of the team will be more or less the same,” he told reporters.

“There will be just a few additions.”

Bayern face Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga this weekend and Guardiola says the vast majority of his players are fit to take on Dieter Hecking’s men, whom he is refusing to underestimate, despite their 6-2 loss to Hoffenheim last week.

“All the players are fit whenever the Champions League is coming,” he joked. “It’s the case in other big clubs. I don’t know why.

“Wolfsburg are one of the big teams in the league. They are a dangerous opponent, despite their 6-2 defeat last week.

“They have some very good players. It won’t be easy. It will be a big challenge, and we can take another step towards defending the title.”