Wednesday 21 February 2018

The second leg will be life and death like a final, claims Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola

Mark Ogden

Pep Guardiola claims Bayern Munich’s Champions League quarter-final second-leg against Manchester United has become a “life or death match” following last week’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.

With Bayern suffering their first league defeat of the season against Augsburg at the weekend following back-to-back draws against United and Hoffenheim, the world, European and German champions go into Wednesday's tie in unusually unconvincing form.

And Guardiola, who guided Barcelona to two Champions League final victories over United, admits the pressure is now on Bayern to overcome the Premier League champions in the Allianz Arena. “It’s a final, a life or death match,” Guardiola said. “United will be looking to hit us on the break and at set plays and we have to be aware of that.

“They are one of the best teams in the world, but our away goal is very important even though 1-1 can be very dangerous.”

Bayern, who lost Swiss winger Xherdan Shaqiri to a thigh injury during the defeat at Augsburg, will also be without the suspended Bastian Schweinsteiger and Javi Martínez against United.

And Jerome Boateng, Bayern’s former Manchester City defender, echoed Guardiola’s view on the second leg by insisting the German champions must take the game to United. “I’ve got a few butterflies in my stomach,” Boateng said. “It’s like a final and we’ve got to play to win because we will end up losing if we play for a goalless draw.

“We’ve got be aggressive going forward from the start and try to score. United will sit back again, but they’ll take more risks the longer the game goes on. We know what we’re capable of, and we also know we’ll need a very good performance if we’re to go through.

“We need just a little more pace, we need to get our crosses in a little quicker, and we should sometimes try our luck with shots from long range.”

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