Guardiola and Bayern chase third Club World Cup title
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Pep Guardiola and Bayern Munich begin their pursuit of another trophy when the European champions face Guangzhou Evergrande, the Asian champions, on Tuesday in Agadir, Morocco, in the second semifinal of the Club World Cup.
Guardiola, the Bayern coach, says that becoming the first coach to win three Club World Cups isn't particularly motivating.
Guardiola won the competition in 2009 and 2011 with Barcelona. He said that winning this time would be continuing the work of Jupp Heynkes, who was the Bayern coach when the club won the Champions League, the German Bundesliga and the German Cup last season.
“Jupp did a good job and that is why I am here. It's not particularly special,” Guardiola said Tuesday from the Agadir Stadium. “I would like to win for the players, who won everything last year. And I would like to win for Bayern.”
Guardiola has led Bayern to a near perfect season since replacing Heynkes. Bayern won the UEFA Super Cup title and could add the first Club World Cup to its trophy case after the Germans twice won the predecessor Intercontinental Cup in 1976 and 2001.
He said that coming up against Marcello Lippi, the veteran coach of Guangzhou Evergrande, would pose a challenge.
“Normally, before this game, people think Bayern is favourite but against an Italian that changes,'' Guardiola said. ``When they are not favourites, in that moment they are so, so dangerous. We have to prepare as well as possible.”
Lippi said his team would be realistic and play to its defensive strengths against the possession-minded Germans.
The 65-year-old Lippi's illustrious career began at Juventus, which he led to an Intercontinental title in 1996, a Champions League and five Serie A titles before winning the 2006 World Cup with Italy.
Lippi said he was looking forward to trading tactical blows with Guardiola, whose numerous successes were achieved differently.
“He started at a young age with a very good team which he turned into the best team in the history of football; he had the capacity to do this and Barcelona conquered everything at club level. His philosophy also brought success to Spain's national team,” Lippi said. “I, on the other hand, started low and worked my way up to achieve the great things I did.”
Guardiola, 42, said friends in China had scouted Guangzhou. The little information he has accumulated will keep him wary of the Asian champion's attack, which features South American players Muriqui, Elkeson, Dario Conca, and former Celtic midfielder Zheng Zhi.
He said the semi-final “is more difficult than the final, you have to prepare and know them as best possible. Today I will put in the heads of my players the quality of our opponents,” Guardiola said. “They have an argument. They are here because they are a good, good team.”
The winner of Tuesday's game will face either South American champion Atletico Mineiro of Brazil or host club Raja Casablanca, who play in Marrakech on Wednesday.
The final is on Saturday in Marrakech.
(FRANCE 24 with AP)