Football Football

Guardiola fears another Euro thrashing

Bayern coach Pep Guardiola reacts after Barcelona score at Camp Nou, Spain
Bayern coach Pep Guardiola reacts after Barcelona score at Camp Nou, Spain

BERLIN, May 9- Pep Guardiola has warned Bayern Munich not to chase goals against Barcelona on Tuesday and risk another Champions League thrashing after his side suffered their fourth straight defeat on Saturday.

Ten-man Bayern conceded another morale-sapping reversal by losing 1-0 to Augsburg in the Bundesliga ahead of their mission-impossible European semi-final, second-leg against Barcelona.

Augsburg’s Paraguay striker Raul Bobadilla followed on from Barcelona’s Lionel Messi by inflicting more misery on German champions Bayern on Saturday.

Bayern face an uphill task having been routed 3-0 in Barcelona last Wednesday, when Messi scored twice, which followed defeats to Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup semi-final and a league defeat at Bayer Leverkusen.

But Guardiola says his side risks a repeat of last season’s 4-0 home semi-final defeat to Real Madrid, having lost the away leg 1-0, if they chase goals and leave space at the back for Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez to attack.

“If we only focus on scoring goals on Tuesday we will lose like we did against Real Madrid last year,” said Guardiola.

“We have to stay calm, control our game and see what happens.

“We have to try and win the game on Tuesday.”

The Augsburg defeat saw Bayern reach two unwanted milestones as it is 24 years since they lost four games in a row and 15 years since they failed to score for three consecutive matches.

But Bayern are still praying for a footballing miracle with Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger suggesting: “Sometimes unbelievable things happen in football and we hope we’re going to catch one of those days”.

But even the club’s honorary president Franz Beckenbauer, normally an eternal optimist when it comes to Bayern, is sceptical.

“I have my doubts that we can turn it around,” said the 69-year-old.

“We’ll need to put the Spaniards under pressure, get an early goal and perhaps then something can happen.”

Guardiola named a near full-strength team against Augsburg, resting only Xabi Alonso and Manuel Neuer.

But the German giants played nearly 80 minutes with ten men in Munich after reserve goalkeeper Pepe Reina was shown a straight red card.

Germany goalkeeper Neuer came on to face a penalty after Reina was sent off with just 13 minutes gone for fouling Bobadilla.

Dutch defender Paul Verhaegh hit the post with the resulting spot-kick having beaten the diving Neuer as the visitors squandered their best chance of the game.

– Injuries taking a toll –

“It’s not easy, after the defeat to Barcelona, to play 80 minutes with a man down,” added Guardiola, who is still missing injured wingers Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben.

“We haven’t got any more wingers, so our wing-backs have to attack as well.

“Despite of everything, I am proud of the players.”

Bayern’s best early chance fell to Mario Goetze who hit the Augsburg post.

Then striker Robert Lewandowski clattered the crossbar late in the first-half, but the German champions again failed to finish their chances.

Augsburg grabbed the winner when Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hoejbjerg, on loan from Bayern, put in a cross which Bobadilla deftly back-heeled past Neuer on 71 minutes for the killer blow.

Having already wrapped up the league title with four games to spare, Bayern’s dreams of more silverware were left in tatters by the cup defeat to Dortmund and rout in Barcelona.

And they need to make history by becoming the first side to over-turn a 3-0 first-leg deficit in a Champions League semi-final if they are to reach the Berlin final on June 6.