Bayern Munich were 2-0 down to Juventus and facing an exit from the Champions League when Pep Guardiola delivered one of the most memorable half-time speeches Thomas Muller has ever heard.
The midfielder has revealed that the Bayern boss motivated his players by threatening to cut their balls off if they failed to turn things around.
Guardiola’s fear tactics clearly worked. Bayern took the game to extra-time through second-half goals from Robert Lewandowski and Muller, before the Bavarians booked their place in the last-eight when Thiago Alcantara and Kingsley Coman scored in extra-time.
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But the first half was a train wreck for the German club. Germany and Bayern Munich legend Franz Beckenbauer speculated that Guardiola might ‘neuter’ his players at the interval after Paul Pogba and Juan Cuadrado put Juve 2-0 up inside half an hour and even.
And after the game, Muller revealed how Beckenbauer’s prediction nearly came true.
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“Yeah, very similar,” the 26-year-old joked after the game, per Goal. “He didn't say ‘neuter’, but he said he will cut our balls.”
It’s the perfect motivational tool, and one that managers across the world might consider using.
Bayern are in the pot for the last-eight with Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Wolfsburg, Benfica, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid, and Guardiola's former club Barcelona.
Guardiola doesn't care who Bayern face
The 45-year-old admitted after the game that he isn’t bothered who Bayern are drawn against.
“If you want to reach the semi-finals then you have to be ready to beat any opponent," Guardiola said, per the BBC.
“But we are there. We made it. A minute later and we would have been out."
There is pressure on the Catalan to win the Champions League this season given that he is yet to lift the coveted trophy during his time in Germany.
And, with Guardiola set to move to Manchester City in the summer, it’s now or never for the former Barcelona midfielder.
Could Guardiola's Bayern tenure be a failure?
Muller, though, doesn’t think Guardiola’s tenure at the Allianz Arena will be considered a failure if he fails to win the European Cup.
“No, not at all,” he replied when asked by Goal. “If you take this approach, every coach who didn't win the Champions League with Bayern would have failed.
“You have to be careful. In more than 100 years of history with Bayern we won the treble only once - one must not take that for granted. All the other top international clubs are not consistent winners [of the Champions League]. No team has ever managed to defend the Champions League title.
“There is not pressure [to win the Champions League]. You cannot plan for the Champions League, the competitors are always overwhelming. It is a big new challenge every year. Of course the club and players have certain ambitions and clear targets but winning the title is not a must.”
Good luck telling the Bayern faithful that.
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