Pep Guardiola’s knowledge of Barcelona will not prove decisive

Barcelona manager Luis Enrique does not believe Pep Guardiola’s first-hand knowledge of Barca’s players will be a major factor over the two legs of their Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich.

On Monday, Bayern forward Thomas Müller said Guardiola “knows Barcelona better than anyone” and hinted the manager would provide the German champions with “the recipe” to defeat the La Liga giants.

In four seasons in charge of Barcelona, Guardiola amassed 14 trophies including: three Spanish Super Cups, two Copa del Reys, three successive La Liga titles and two Champions League titles.

As a player, Guardiola made 263 appearances between 1991 and 2000, while earning six league titles and helping the club achieve its first-ever European Cup in 1992.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s first leg at the Camp Nou, Luis Enrique downplayed his counterpart’s first-hand knowledge of the club and its players, saying the tie would be determined by the minor details.

“Pep knows everyone of my players very well, but I don’t think it’s a determining factor for the match,” Enrique said. “This type of game is resolved by minor details.

“We [Guardiola and I] agreed to meet [at the final] in Berlin but that won’t happen now. Whoever wins, we will wish each other luck.

“It will be nice for the players to see Pep again. But they feel the match is more important than to see their former coach. There’s always a time at the end of the game to say ‘hello’.

“We have played against teams that are very different to us and sometimes against teams that are very similar to us. I think this is the most attractive match in Europe, although other people might not think the same.

“My conclusion is that it’s tough to play against us over two legs. If we play as we have done, then we stand a good chance of making it to the final. I am sure Bayern think the same.”

Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu has been ruled out of tomorrow’s Champions League semi-final clash against Bayern Munich after injuring the Achilles tendon in his right leg.

It has not been determined if Mathieu will miss the club’s next league match against Real Sociedad, or if he will be sidelined for next week’s Champions League semi-final return leg at the Allianz Arena.

Fortunately for Barcelona, Jordi Alba resumed training on Monday and took part in a session with the rest of the squad earlier today.

The expectation is the defender will replace Mathieu in Luis Enrique’s starting eleven on Wednesday, with the manager electing for a back-four compromising of Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano and Alba.

Programming note: Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich will be shown LIVE on Wednesday at 2:45pm EST on FOX Sports 1 and FoxSoccer2Go.

 

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