Playing Arsenal at the Allianz Arena in the second leg of the champions League Round of 16 tie, Pep Guardiola knows that Bayern Munich hold the advantage after beating Arsenal 2-0 in the first leg.
Speaking to the press before the match, the Spanish manager accepted that Bayern Munich are in a comfortable position in the Champions League but will have to be very careful against an Arsenal that has the potential to turn the tie around.
“Winning 2-0 in London was a very good result for us, but it is also dangerous. We have a very good chance to go through, but we have to be in the situation that we really focus on the game.”
The defending champions are considered to the favourites and will be targeting to retain the Champions League trophy this season.
“We have to bring our ideas across in the way we play, and know what the strengths are.”
“The Champions League is a huge game for us, it is not like a day-to-day game in the Bundesliga. We have to do our best.”
However Guardiola indicated that Bayern Munich will not be taking Arsenal lightly and will have a tough task ahead of them on Tuesday.
“When I analyse Arsenal and the first game (last month), we saw the quality of (Santi) Cazorla, we saw what happened until the (early) penalty (Mesut) Ozil missed, what happened in the first nine minutes they were the nine minutes in this season when the opponent was better against us. They remain a good club, a good team.”
“They can create two or three really great chances in two or three minutes. If you play in a really good team like Arsenal and are 2-0 down, anything is possible.”
“People think ‘2-0 you don’t have a chance in Munich’, but that’s the main problem for us. They have (Per) Mertesacker, (Tomas) Rosicky, (Kieran) Gibbs, (Mikel) Arteta a lot of very good players.”
Talking about Mesut Ozil who had received a lot of flak for his performance against Munich in the first leg, Guardiola was quick to point out that the German midfielder has the potential to turn the tie around.
“I do not want to see Ozil control the game. That will be a big problem for us.”
“I never played in England, or trained a team (there), so I don’t know how difficult (it is), but I can imagine how difficult it is (for Ozil) to play every three games in November, December, January.”
“But this is one game, it is a final, Arsenal know that, Ozil knows that. For one game, the player puts in everything.”
“From my experience, I expect the performance from the opponents. Ozil will give the best performance and we have to be prepared.”
Mesut Ozil will be looking to get back to his influential best after having had a disappointing few months with Arsenal. The player will have to put his best foot forward if he expects to book a ticket to Brazil this year knowing fully well that his position in the national team is under the scanner.
Guardiola believes that possession will be the key to the game and is hoping to put his plans to action in an attempt to keep Arsenal at bay.
“We have to make sure we have the ball, that we really attack well and go through to the next phase.”
“They have a lot of quality, so we have to make sure we have a lot of possession.
“We have to make sure they do not score a goal. We have to have that offensive idea and to play with the type of mentality that we win, otherwise we will have a problem.”
The Bayern manager was also quizzed about Tony Kroos and whether the young German midfielder will leave Bayern Munich in the summer due to the failure in his contract negotiations.
“I said to him you have time to become an even better player. I hope he maintains his form this season – and for more seasons at this club.”
“Toni is a great talent, a good, good player. He is very important. Earlier in the season, we had problems in midfield when Javi Martinez was injured and Toni was very important. He’s young. He can be better and better. He can improve more.’’
Tony Kroos scored the first goal at Emirates in the first leg against Arsenal and all eyes will be on the German who could well be on his way to England in the next transfer season.