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Bayern Munich vs Porto: Crunch time for Pep Guardiola and Co. in Champions League

20 Apr | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Bayern Munich vs Porto: Crunch time for Pep Guardiola and Co. in Champions League

The Bavarians have been brilliant for much of the season but face their toughest challenge yet on Tuesday night

Being the coach of Bayern Munich cannot be an easy task.

Sure, there are material benefits. You probably get paid enough money to buy an efficient German automobile for every week of the year, for a start. Bavaria is, by all reports, a lovely place to live. Good beer, nice food, impressive local amenities… you get the picture.

Then there is the knowledge that you can pinch your rivals’ best players every summer if they start getting uppity. Schalke doing well? Sign their star goalkeeper. Dortmund looking strong? Just unsettle their best midfielder and nab him at the end of the season. It’s not particularly moral, but this is football. And you’re Bayern. It’s just what you do.

But there is a downside to all this: expectations rarely dip below DEFCON 1. This is true of the fans, but mainly of the cluster of club legends who continue to pull the strings behind the scenes at the Allianz Arena. Concede a consolation goal in a thrilling victory in the Bundesliga and you’re liable to have Matthias Sammer or Franz Beckenbauer sharpening the knife in public. And only legal regulations are keeping famed moral paragon Uli Hoeness schtum.

Pep Guardiola undoubtedly understands the situation. He knew what he was getting himself into when he pitched up at Bayern after his sabbatical. And he knows that Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final second leg against Porto is a must-win game.

In Portugal last week, Bayern were beaten at their own game. The Portuguese giants pressed high up the pitch, forcing Xabi Alonso and then Dante into glaring errors and quickly establishing a 2-0 lead. Thiago Alcantara’s goal seemed to put Bayern back in charge, but Jackson Martinez’s second-half strike means that Guardiola’s side must score at least twice to progress. 

That is no easy task, especially with Arjen Robben still out and Franck Ribery unlikely to be fit in time to feature. With those two missing, Guardiola has been forced to recalibrate his side with no real width – which is lucky for Porto, for whom full-backs Danilo and Alex Sandro are both suspended this week.

“I know which club I am at and know that being champions and cup winners is not enough,” Guardiola admitted on Monday. “Only the treble is enough.” He faces his biggest hurdle yet in the quest for that feat on Tuesday.