Guardiolas Bayern ready to fight for places

03 July 2013 05:46

New coach Pep Guardiola will take European champions Bayern Munich to their pre-season training camp in north Italy on Thursday with a fierce fight for places expected, as well as uncertainty over Mario Gomez's future.

Guardiola, 42, took over from predecessor Jupp Heynckes as Bayern coach last week and after 10 days getting to know his squad, the ex-Barcelona boss takes them to Lake Garda for a week ahead of the new season kick-off on August 9.

Under Heynckes, Bayern became the first German club to win the treble of European, league and cup titles but the players will not be resting on their laurels next season.

"The competition is as tough as ever," said Germany winger Thomas Mueller, while director of sport Matthias Sammer said everyone is starting "from scratch" with tempers expected to be frayed.

"The team has to deal with the new ideas of a new coach. I expect the players to show a great deal of attention and some sensitivity," added Sammer.

Sammer also said Bayern will take time to adjust to Guardiola's ideas as it remains to be seen whether he will stick with the 4-2-3-1 system which won them the treble or a 3-3-3-1 system similar to that which he used at Barcelona.

"I expect from the club, when necessary, also a bit of patience," said Sammer.

"Guardiola has shown that he has a good idea about football. That shouldn't be an excuse, but I have never seen a team go through a process of change which doesn't take some time."

Bayern play their first competitive match under Guardiola on July 27 against Borussia Dortmund in the German Super Cup, but two friendly matches are scheduled at Lake Garda against local opposition on Friday and Tuesday.

Guardiola is expected to have all bar three of his squad available, those missing will be only Brazil's Dante and Luiz Gustavo and Javi Martinez of Spain, who are all recovering from the Confederations Cup campaign.

Germany striker Mario Gomez will also be there amidst speculation of his imminent departure to Italy's Fiorentina and Serie A.

Reports say the 27-year-old has agreed a four-year contract with Fiorentina but the delay is caused by the clubs failure to agree on a price, with Bayern wanting at least 20 million euros ($26m, £17m) for the striker they paid 35 million euros for in 2009.

"Mario sees his future in Italy. We assume that a timely decision will be made," Gomez's advisor Uli Ferber told magazine Sport Bild, while Sammer has said no deal has been done.

In 115 German league matches, Gomez has scored 75 goals; having made 57 appearances for Germany is eager for first-team football next season before the 2014 World Cup, having lost his place in the Bayern team to Mario Mandzukic.

Source: AFP