Bayerns Guardiola ready for dangerous Gladbach
Pep Guardiola has insisted he is ready to cope with the weight of expectation on him as Bayern Munich kick-off the Bundesliga season on Friday by hosting Borussia Moenchengladbach.
The 42-year-old ex-Barcelona boss has had just under eight weeks to work with the German champions; who host 'Gladbach at Munich's Allianz Arena in the season opener.
Bayern are likely to be without new signing Thiago Alcantara for the game as the Spain Under-21 captain missed training on Thursday with a fever.
Guardiola has already made his mark at Bayern, introducing a new playing system and experimenting with players out of position.
Having already overseen 11 pre-season matches, with the shock 4-2 German Super Cup loss at Borussia Dortmund a fortnight ago as the only defeat, Guardiola had some lighthearted advice for his players.
"Get the ball, have fun and attack as much as possible," he said in his pre-match press conference.
"And if Gladbach have the ball, help each other -- and win."
Simple enough, but Guardiola knows he is under pressure to repeat last season's success under predecessor Jupp Heynckes, when Bayern became the first German team to win the treble of Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.
"I have to win here," he stressed, having taken charge of Bayern after a year's sabbatical in New York.
"If I hadn't accepted that, I would have stayed in New York."
Bayern's director of sport Matthias Sammer only added to the notion that Guardiola's honeymoon period is over when he said: "Now there are no more excuses, the results must now count".
Bayern hammered hosts 'Gladbach 5-1 over 60 minutes in the final of Borussia's pre-season tournament three weeks ago, but Guardiola insisted Munich can expect a "very, very dangerous game" against Borussia who have a "super, super coach" in Lucien Favre.
"They are one of the best teams in the Bundesliga, we have to forget our recent win there," added Guardiola.
Guardiola's new 4-1-4-1 system will receive the litmus test against Gladbach, but Dutch winger Arjen Robben, who scored Bayern's winner at Wembley in the Champions League final, said he was impressed with what he has seen so far from Guardiola.
"I like his playing philosophies and I think the team do too," said the 29-year-old Robben.
"Of course, it always takes a bit of time to get used to each other when a new coach arrives.
"There are lots of new, good ideas, but there is no need to exaggerate things, because it's not as though we will play that differently."
Related Bayern Munich News