Pep Guardiola had Bayern Munich staff measure Atletico Madrid's pitch

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Football News

In order for his players to carry out their slick style of passing, Pep Guardiola likes to ensure the grass on all pitches is short and crisp.

The sight of him and Xavi Hernandez surveying the turf before a Barcelona game was a regular one.

And as Bayern Munich prepared to take on Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon in the Champions League semi-final, he cast his eye over the grass. And he was far from happy with what he saw.


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Guardiola ordered a member of staff to measure the grass. Yes, a poor female attendant went onto the pitch with a ruler to ensure it didn’t exceed the 30mm maximum length. Watch the video here.

That shows just how far the Munich boss will go in pursuit of success.

Although it doesn’t appear to have paid off. Saul Niguez proved that there are no problems with the pitch in the 11th minute when he danced past three Bayern defenders before scoring against Manuel Neuer.

The two teams are meeting in the first leg of their semi-final clash, with Diego Simeone’s side leading 1-0. The La Liga side have made a comfortable start to proceedings despite being underdogs.

Saul's goal

Guardiola knows Atletico's talent

Guardiola pulled no punches in his assessment of tonight’s opposition - he knows Atletico Madrid aren’t a team to be taken lightly. They have, after all, knocked Barcelona out of the tournament.

"Atletico's achievement is being compared with Madrid and Barcelona," said Guardiola, per Marca. "That is Simeone's trophy.

“We expect a very tough and complex tie, and we'll try to play well to reach the final.”

The last time Guardiola faced Madrid was in 2011-12, when a late Lionel Messi free-kick secured all three points for the Catalan side. Yet he knows exactly why they’ve been able to compete with the rest of Europe’s elite.

"I've not played against [Atletico] in five years, so you know them more than me," Guardiola added. "They do much more than defend.

"Koke is a great example of their strategy, with a good defensive structure, closing down well, and quick on the counter.

"They've spent three or four years fighting for cups, competing in the league, and reaching European finals."

Guardiola's legacy

There are many who believe Guardiola’s legacy will take a hit if he is unable to win the Champions League this season.

In his two seasons in Germany, his Bayern team has been knocked out of the tournament at the semi-final stage. For a manager with such a glowing reputation, that’s a disappointing return given the talent at his disposal.

The former Barca boss will join Manchester City in the summer, meaning it’s now or never for him to land the one they all want at the Allianz Arena.

"In three years we have reached three semi-finals," continued Guardiola. "From what I've read, if we don't win the Champions League, my stay here won't have been a success, and I'd have to agree.

"I believe I've become a better coach, a better person, more relaxed and I've had a great time."

Will Bayern reach the final? Have your say in the comments section below!

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Robert Lewandowski
Mario Gotze
UEFA Champions League
Fernando Torres
Bayern Munich

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