Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola believes Barcelona are the best team in the world right now and is looking forward to returning “home” to face his former club in the Champions League semi-finals next month.
Earlier today, Bayern were drawn against Barcelona, meaning Guardiola will face his former team for the first time since leaving the Catalan side in 2012.
Guardiola, who began his playing career in Barcelona’s youth system, led the club to three La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys and two Champions League titles in four seasons before deciding to take a year sabbatical from football.
Speaking during his weekly pre-match press conference, Guardiola shared his thoughts on the upcoming Champions League semi-final and his team’s chances of progressing to the final in Berlin.
“Just like us, they are a great team,” Guardiola said. “We need to look at how we organize ourselves for these games.
“If we make the same mistakes that we made in the start of the game against FC Porto, then Barcelona will be the team that make the final.
Barcelona are currently on a thirteen match unbeaten streak in all competitions, have advanced to the Copa del Rey final and lead La Liga by two points over Real Madrid.
Guardiola acknowledged the form of his former club and praised the leadership of his counterpart Luis Enrique.
“I believe Barcelona are the best team in the world at the moment,” the Bayern coach added.
“Naturally, it’s special. I’m from Barcelona. That’s all I need to say. I’m here now thanks to my time at Barcelona. There were three options that the draw could have thrown up but it’s a special tie for many of us here, Thiago [Alcantara], the staff…a lifetime at Barcelona.
“[Enrique] has got the attributes to be a great coach and could win the treble this season. I’m very pleased for him.”
Despite a staggering injury toll, Guardiola has guided Bayern Munich to the brink of a treble of his own. The Bavarians have reached the semi-finals of the German Cup and Champions League, and are poised to win their 24th Bundesliga title.
Bayern will host Hertha tomorrow in the Bundesliga before preparing for the first leg of their German Cup semi-final against Borussia Dormund next Tuesday.