With AS Roma and PFC CSKA Moskva making up a tough group, FC Bayern München’s Josep Guardiola is keen to get a good start against a “top” Manchester City FC side.
• Josep Guardiola knows the importance of a positive start in a tough Group E
• Bayern are without the injured Franck Ribéry, a goalscoring sub at the weekend
• City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who turned 61 on Tuesday, is suspended
• His assistant Rubén Cousillas believes City are set for a “great season”
• The English champions won 3-2 in Munich on matchday six last term
Bayern: Neuer; Lahm, Boateng, Dante, Bernat; Xabi Alonso, Alaba; Müller, Götze, Robben; Lewandowski.
• Out: Bastian Schweinsteiger (knee), Rafinha (ankle), Mitchell Weiser (ankle), Thiago Alcántara (knee), Holger Badstuber (left thigh), Franck Ribéry (unknown)
• Doubtful: Arjen Robben
City: Hart; Clichy, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Touré, Fernandinho; Nasri, Silva, Milner; Džeko.
• Out: Pablo Zabaleta (suspended), Stevan Jovetić (hamstring)
Josep Guardiola, Bayern coach
We are very happy to be here – the Champions League is something amazing. We are playing against one of the top teams, the English champions, but there are many top teams in the Champions League. The first game is important for the tournament. It is a tough group, so starting with three points is always best. We have to focus on our style and our game and we will try to win.
You always have to move forward. We played well in Madrid [in last season’s semi-final first leg], but at home we played bad. Anyhow, in the last three to four years we have always been in the semi-finals. In football, like in all other sports, you have big wins and big defeats. This is part of the game and you have to learn from it.
The squad is strong and the level very high. Ribéry can’t play, though I don’t know more about it. I don’t know if he will play on Saturday in Hamburg, either.
Last season City were a very strong team – that’s why they won the Premiership. [Medhi] Benatia has been great the last few days. He arrived here [from AS Roma] with muscular problems and not too much training. We didn’t want to take a risk with this position. We are really satisfied with him and we are happy to have him here.
Rubén Cousillas, City assistant manager
Each season we have great expectations. We are in a difficult group, but we can play a good role. I had the pleasure of getting to know Guardiola and to see him work – he is a wonderful manager. We believe we are going to have a great season and we have the players to achieve great things. So do Bayern, Roma and [CSKA] Moscow, but I can’t promise we will have better chances.
[Sergio] Agüero is one of the best strikers in the world, but we are not playing with just one player. We have a great team and they all are very important. Bayern are missing good players tomorrow, but they have a bench that is really strong. Of course we will miss Manuel. However, I know how he thinks and I have his 100% confidence.