On top of European football: Tuchel praises Pep’s City

Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern Munich will face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the Champions League quarter-final

NEW DELHI | Updated: 11 April, 2023 6:33 pm IST
Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City might have lost some of its sheen in recent times, however, Bayern Munich’s head coach Thomas Tuchel feels that it still offers the highest level of football in Europe.

The Bavarian side travel to the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday to face an in-form City side in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final.

Guardiola’s City are in red-hot form, winning their last seven games across the tournaments. While they are in the later stages of the Champions League and FA Cup, City will need a miracle to upstage Arsenal in the English Premier League – and their fans are surely praying for one.

Today’s game will only be Tuchel’s fourth game in charge of Bayern since replacing Julian Nagelsmann. Despite winning the Champions League in the 2019-20 season, the Bundesliga side will head into the match as underdogs to progress.

Praising Guardiola for turning City into a force to be reckoned with, Tuchel, who had seen City up close during his stint at Chelsea, ranked them as one of the finest teams in Europe.

“I think you can clearly see that there are six or seven years of Pep in this team, very offensive with and without the ball, extreme high pressing,” Tuchel said at his pre-match news conference, as reported by Fotmob.com.

“I think that Pep proves everywhere that he gives his teams his own touch. I can learn about football by playing against his teams, it makes me a better coach. It’s unique what he’s doing there. They play much more fluently than in recent years,” Tuchel said.

“It’s the highest level that European football has to offer. They’re showing that in the league too. That makes the task appealing. We have to solve it as a team. Maybe we’ll be a bit of an underdog tomorrow, but we have to have confidence in our abilities,” he added.

City have been spearheaded by striker Erling Haaland, who has netted 44 goals in all competitions this season in just his first campaign in England since joining from Borussia Dortmund.

Tuchel is wary of the threat Haaland and the rest of City’s forwards will pose, “The numbers, the athleticism, the hunger for goals is incredibly impressive.”

“It’s not just him. The game speed is high, they create a lot of chances for Haaland and he has the ambition to score a lot of goals. We will only solve this together,” he added.

Defender Matthijs de Ligt will be one of those tasked with trying to keep Haaland quiet at the Etihad, and he feels it will need a complete team effort to do so.

“I think Manchester City is the strongest team of all,” the Netherlands international said. “They’ve won the Premier League four times in the last five years, and now they’ve also got a striker like Erling Haaland,” de Ligt said.

“It’s important that we organise the defence well, also with the midfielders. We have to put in a top performance to stop a striker like Haaland,” he added.

Bayern will be without one of their own strikers as a knee issue means Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who has scored four Champions League goals this term, will miss out.

Serge Gnabry could be the player Tuchel opts to play up front, with the 49-year-old explaining: “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Serge playing on the nine for us. He has a good finish with both feet, good speed and is good at dribbling.”

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