Guardiola Under Pressure Ahead of Barcelona Clash

Published 05/11/2015, 9:23 AM EDT


Compared to their usual standards, Bayern Munich are in ‘freefall’ at the moment. Four consecutive losses in all competitions, including a 3-0 thrashing at the hands of former club Barcelona, has dampened the morale in the Bavarians’ dressing room. Naturally, the pressure is slowly mounting on manager Pep Guardiola especially with the Champions League second leg against a free scoring Barcelona around the corner.

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Bayern’s build-up to the game has also been disrupted by rumors that Guardiola has signed a pre-contract agreement to move to Manchester City at the end of this season. But these rumors haven’t been confirmed by any of the involved parties.

Barcelona’s 3-0 victory over Bayern Munich last Wednesday was one of the most thrilling football matches anybody can witness in any season. It was an incredible spectacle – a match played at breakneck speed between two teams determined to press high and pass from deep positions. A match in which the relentless pace only highlighted the sheer technical quality of the footballers on show. But a late Lionel Messi masterclass left Bayern in shambles and all but ended the tie.

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The defeat at the Camp Nou has sparked a new wave of criticism in the media, predominantly aimed at the former Barca boss, Guardiola. His mission is in danger of failure as he has not been able to keep Bayern among the very best teams in the world. His time in Munich could be on the verge of turning into a “small intermezzo” or interlude in the long history of the club. Adding to the wounds, the German champions are without wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, who are both out for the season, while Barcelona are at full strength. In addition to missing these key men, defender Holger Badstuber and left-back David Alaba are also currently sidelined. Including a penalty shootout Bayern have lost four games in a row, while Barcelona have won their last eight, keeping seven consecutive clean sheets.

By contrast, Barca is very much on course for the treble, with a Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao to look forward to, while Saturday’s 2-0 win over Real Sociedad and Real Madrid’s 2-2 draw with Valencia gave it a four-point lead at the top of La Liga with two matches remaining.

Guardiola meanwhile, hired to repeat Bayern’s 2013 treble winning season, has so far failed to deliver on the European stage for Bayern and the challenge against former club Barcelona looks even tougher without several of his players unavailable. But Bayern did a similar comeback stunt against Porto when they beat them 6-1 after losing the first leg 3-1 away in the Quarter-Finals.

The second leg will take place on 13th May.

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Varun Behl

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