Created on 19-12-2013 at 14:30 PM
Being a man who refuses to leave anything to chance, Pep Guardiola personally witnessed Raja Casablanca’s shock 3-1 victory over favourites Atletico Mineiro in the Club World Cup semi-final - meaning the coach has seen Bayern’s final opponents in the flesh. On the day following the Moroccans’ famous victory, Guardiola delivered his report to Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
“He said the Moroccan team absolutely deserved to win due to a convincing performance,” the chairman informed a press conference at FCB’s team hotel in Marrakech. “Everyone expected Atletico Mineiro to make the final. No-one, not even here in Morocco, thought Casablanca would make it. It’s a surprise to everyone, us included.”
Rummenigge called for respect in the final against the Moroccan underdogs. “There can be no complacency and arrogance just because they’re not well-known in the footballing world.” However, the former world-class striker believes there is little danger of Guardiola’s men falling into those traps, “because the team is too stable, has too much good character, and the coach is too ambitious this year. All of them want this fifth trophy. It would mean we’ve won everything there is to win.” However, the treble winners can expect a hostile reception: “They’ll be up for it and very motivated. It’ll be a terrific atmosphere,” Rummenigge concluded.
Rummenigge also spoke on a variety of different topics, summarised here.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge on…
…the year 2013:
“It’s been a spectacular year. We’ve not lost in the Bundesliga, we won the treble last summer, and then the European Super Cup. Now we’re in another final. Being part of it this year is a gift from God. If I’d been asked a couple of years ago whether we’d see something like this year, I wouldn’t have thought it possible. Wherever we go we’re treated with unbelievable respect. It’s wonderful. People like us like never before.”
…the rest of this season:
“We’re not crazy and we’re not about to go mad either. We just have to keep doing what we’re doing. Our goal is to win the Bundesliga and make a good impression in the other competitions. Barcelona have always been a benchmark for me personally, because they make the semi-finals every year and win the final from time to time. We don’t want to wait another 12 years again. But the bar is set high, as we well know.“
…the reasons for Bayern’s success
“The decisive factor is that we started to make slight changes to our philosophy a couple of years ago and move up a level in the transfer market in terms of quality. Ribéry, Robben, Neuer, Martínez, Thiago, Götze... We’ve been lucky enough that they’ve all settled in and given us a touch more quality. On top of that we have Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Müller and others from within our own ranks. These two pillars complement each other wonderfully well.”
…the punishing schedule:
“This team deserves a holiday just to regenerate. We’ve basically had nothing but two games a week. If I’m honest it’s a cause for concern. You can only compensate if you have such high quality and depth in the squad. But it’s not easy to handle if every man is fit, and there’s also a cost element. I’d like to see the schedule loosened a little. It’s just a mad dash at the moment.“
…summer signing Thiago:
“We’re very pleased with the way he’s come on. He’s a nice guy because he always seems alert. and that’s the way he plays. He’s unpredictable for our opponents, he’s at an incredible level in terms of technique and tactics, and he’s great on the ball. I think he’s given a big boost to our quality.”
…Jan Kirchhoff potentially going out on loan:
“Some Bundesliga clubs have expressed interest in Jan. It’s important for younger players to get plenty of playing time, but it won’t be any easier for him in the second half of the season when Bastian [Schweinsteiger] returns. We’ll talk it through with Jan and his agent in the next few days and see what happens.”