Pep Guardiola wary of Chelsea class

11 April 2014 08:33

Pep Guardiola thinks Bayern Munich will have to battle hard to make it to Lisbon if they draw Chelsea in the Champions League semi-finals on Friday morning.

Bayern and Chelsea made it into the hat for the semi-final draw with their respective wins over Manchester United and Paris St Germain this week.

Should they draw each other in the last four, the encounter will be a repeat of the dramatic 2012 final in which Chelsea triumphed over the Germans on penalties.

Guardiola knows all about Mourinho as they shared a feisty rivalry during their time in charge of Spain's two biggest clubs, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Guardiola has a strong record of three defeats in 16 matches against his old adversary, but the Spaniard thinks the Chelsea manager and his squad will pose Bayern problems if they meet.

"Chelsea have a manager with a lot of experience," the Bayern coach said.

"They are an English team with many qualities and experienced players like Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry and Frank Lampard."

Given the Premier League form of Liverpool and Manchester City, the Champions League is arguably the best avenue Mourinho has for winning a trophy this year even though all three potential opponents are strong.

A match-up against Real Madrid would be intriguing for the Portuguese.

Mourinho left the Bernabeu on bad terms last summer, falling out with a number of senior players after lifting the league just once during his three years in the Spanish capital.

The 51-year-old says he is not desperate to face his old team, who will be without Cristiano Ronaldo for the first leg because of a thigh injury.

"No, not really," was Mourinho's answer when asked whether he hoped Luis Figo, picking out the teams, will pit Chelsea and Real together when the draw is made at 11am in Nyon, Switzerland.

Even if Chelsea avoid Bayern and Real Madrid, they will still have a huge task on their hands if they are to make the final in Lisbon on May 24.

Atletico Madrid claimed the prize scalp of Barcelona in the quarter-finals and stand top of the Spanish league following an extremely successful year under Diego Simeone.

Mourinho won eight of nine Madrid derbies during his time at the Bernabeu, but Atletico are now a far more formidable force under Simeone.

Koke, who scored the decisive goal against Barcelona, hopes his team can now go on to reach their first final in 40 years.

"The semi-finals are coming next. Here's hoping we can continue making history," the midfielder said.

If Chelsea draw Bayern, then Atletico and Real would meet for the first time in Europe since 1959.

The first legs of the semi-finals will take place on April 22 or 23, with the return legs taking place a week later.

The Europa League semi-final line-up will also be decided just before the Champions League draw is made, with Valencia, Benfica, Juventus and Sevilla the teams waiting to learn their fate.

Source: PA