Guardiola: Man City Will Advance to Last 16

Pep Guardiola has insisted Manchester City will become one of the favourites to win the European Cup… if they break their group stage hoodoo.

New Bayern Munich coach Guardiola was speaking before his side’s trip to the Etihad on Wednesday.

And the former Barcelona boss is adamant that, after two years of painful falls at the first hurdle in Europe’s premier competition, the Mancunian Blues will reach February’s knockout rounds.

“I bet you this year will be the first time they qualify for the next stage. I have a strong feeling they will do that, I am 100 per cent confident,” he emphatically stated.

“And in my view, if they qualify, then Manchester City will be one of the toughest, toughest teams in the next round. They are one of the biggest teams in Europe, and they have made big steps forward.

“It can be like Dortmund. Last year was the first time they qualified through the group stage, and they were strong enough to go to the final. It can be the same for City.”

Guardiola was widely tipped to replace Roberto Mancini when it became apparent the job of City manager would become available in the summer.

But while he diplomatically ducked the question of whether he was ever approached to assume control at the Etihad, he did reveal his admiration for a club many have dismissed as a vanity project for an oil-rich sheikh.

“The moment I received a call from Bayern, I decided to go there. I am happy to be at my club, and didn’t think of any other,” he explained.

“But Manchester City have an incredible squad who play in the right way, and they have played very well so far.

“Tomorrow will be a big test for us.”

Striker Sergio Aguero will return to the City side after recovering from injury.

Midfielder David Silva is likely to start on the bench, after finally recovering from a hamstring problem.
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich: Probable teams

Manchester City Hart; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy; Fernandinho, Toure, Milner; Navas, Dzeko, Aguero.

Bayern Munich Neuer; Rafinha, Dante, Boateng, Alaba; Schweinsteiger, Lahm, Kroos; Robben, Mandzukic, Ribery.

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