Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has admitted that he has only eight fit players to choose from ahead of their Supercup clash against fierce rivals, Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.
The Spaniard, who is under an intolerable amount of pressure to ensure that Bayern come out of every competition they enter as winners looks like he has already condemned defeat for a second time in a row in this fixture against the Black and Yellows.
Guardiola, in what was his first competitive fixture as Bayern Munich manager lost the Supercup to Borussia Dortmund following a 4-2 defeat, but despite this blip, has since gone on to win four trophies with the German champions including the DFB Pokal and the FIFA Club World Cup.
Club chairman, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge who just over a week ago publicly stated that Guardiola’s job at Bayern was safe even if he failed to win a major trophy at the club next season has added fuel to the fire by insisting that the Supercup is there’s to lose.
Return to winning ways
However, the former Barcelona manager who is desperate to return to winning ways having being humbled 2-1 in a glittery pre-season fixture against an MLS All Star side, has stated that his players look less fit then they were this time last year.
He told Bild.de: “Last year, before our Supercup fixture our players were far more fit, this time it isn’t the case. We only have eight or nine fully fit players, the rest are not.”
Whilst the majority of the first team squad reported back for pre-season training in early July, six players including the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philipp Lahm who experienced World Cup victory with Germany were given an extra three weeks off to recover ahead of the new season.
World Cup hangover
Although Guardiola feels that the six World Cup winners have responded well to the task of pre-season training, the former Barcelona manager will make a late decision on how long each individual will feature against Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.
He went on to say: “The World Champions have trained well, but they need time. I am pleased to have the six World Champions. I will make a decision after training and will then tell the players how long I would like them to play.”
Although his squad might be short of overall match fitness and despite seemingly throwing in the towel, Guardiola has highlighted the importance of this fixture and has admitted that no one is going to take this traditional Bundesliga curtain-raiser lightly.
No friendly match
He said: “This is no friendly, this is a final. We are going to go all out to win.”
Whilst goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has also voiced the same words of his manager by adding: “The Supercup is always important; we are playing for another title.”
The 43-year-old has also ended any speculation of Bayern signing Borussia Dortmund midfielder, Marco Reus this summer, by admitting that he already has enough attacking options in what he believes is a finely tuned and balanced squad.
He said: “We already have eight strikers. I don’t need any new players, I am happy with my current squad.”