It's a meaningless game for FC Bayern Munich in the Champions League, having already clinched 1st place in their group way back in July or August (or so it seems). Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola and media director Markus Hörwick sat down for the customary press conference with the sports media representatives.
FC Bayern Press Conference, December 9th, 2014
Here are the questions and answers (my interjections in italics):
On why Bayern should give their best effort on Wednesday, despite already having clinched the group - Because, it's our job. We are here to play, for us, and out of respect for our opponent, CSKA Moscow, as well as AS Roma and Manchester City. We have to play to win.
On whether Pep expects Moscow to play offensively, since they need to at least tie to make it to the next round or EL - I haven't talked to my colleague yet (Leonid Slutsky), so I don't know. Normally, it's a counter-attacking team, they have a lot of fast players. That's what I expect to see tomorrow.
On resting players who have played a lot so far - A few players who didn't get in the last game might play tomorrow, but I will have to see the last training and gauge everyone's conditioning. Yesterday, two, three, four players were still a little tired after our strong game against Bayern Leverkusen. I don't know how many, but there will be some new players.
On whether Bastian Schweinsteiger is capable of starting - Normally, I don't talk before the game about which players will start. Sometimes, I will say that a certain player will start, but I prefer not to tell the CSKA Moscow coach who will be in the lineup. (The reporter tries again on whether Basti is ready) Yes, everyone is healthy (note: he said this before the final practice, which Shaqiri could not join, due to a strained groin).
On whether he is cold, when he takes off his coat and walks around the sideline, in close to freezing temperatures - The seats on the bench are heated. I sit for 5 minutes, then I walk around. When I get cold, I go sit down again. Back and forth, back and forth. It all depends on the game, I am more active when it's an important game.
On whether Pep notices when he drifts out of the technical area during games - (This is the same reporter as the last question, he seems fascinated by Pep's movements during the game) In the heat of the moment, I don't notice where I am. I need to improve on that, I hope I can in the future. When it happens, I don't notice. I need to talk to the players. They don't hear me, which is good for them, so sometimes I have to come closer.
On the secret to why the defense is playing so well, only allowing 3 goals against in the BL - Truthfully, we've only allowed 3 goals, but Manuel Neuer has stopped three or four one-on-one chances so far, so we could have allowed more. The reason for it is that we play with an 11 player defensive mentality. In the last 2 games, we played with 5 forwards, but we didn't allow a lot of opportunities, not just in Berlin, but also against Leverkusen. We all play forward, building up play, and when we allow less chances, less counter attacks, it's a team effort. And, our possession numbers are better than our opponents. If you have the ball, you're assured of not getting scored on.
On whether Karl Heinz Rummenigge was angry about not getting the 1 million Euro prize money against Manchester City - Rummenigge knows that we play every game to win. We don't play for the prize money, we play for fun, to win the game, for our fans. Of course, it's important. When we win and make money, it's good for the club, but I don't say that we need to win for the money. We have to control Moscow's players, and play a good game. It's a completely different game than against Leverkusen. We will have to control their counters, that's the most important part. Sure, if we win, that's good, 3 more points. It's good for our confidence for our last three BL games, especially in Augsburg.
On why Rafinha is playing instead of youngster Pierre Emile Hojbjerg - You have to remember, Rafinha is a right full back, and even though Pierre played there in a 3-man defense, he is a midfielder. He is still very young, but when he plays, he plays well. I am very satisfied with him. I'm also happy with all the other players that usually don't play. They train very well, and nobody complains (Pep, have you read the newspapers in the last few months?) His performance is not the reason he doesn't play. I have to make the decision, and sometimes he plays, sometimes he doesn't.
On what is different between last season's and this season's CSKA Moscow teams - (This and the next two questions were asked by Russian journalists) It's the same coach, the same ideas. The one difference, I don't know if it's a big or a small one, but Alan Dzagoev was not able to play the last three games against us. He's available tomorrow, and he's a great player. Last year, we were both fighting for points, and this season, they're fighting for the points, we're not. But, this team has heart, they had one point after the first three games, and everyone thought they were out. They won in Manchester. They fought to the end against Man City at home (2-2 final score) and against AS Roma. They have a chance, so they will try their hardest.
On whether adding Roman Eremenko and Bebars Natcho has improved the team - (Pep seems to be a little confused about the players named, but he recovers well) Eremenko links up well with Doumbia, Musa, Tosic. We have to be careful in our transition defense. He's a big talent, makes good passes to the forwards, but the playing style is the same as last season (no word on whether he thinks Natcho is a good player).
On whether the Bayern players will get to sleep at home - (Typically, even for home games, the team goes to a hotel before a game) Yes, they can sleep at home tonight.
On whether Pep is already thinking about the next game against Augsburg when setting his lineup - For coaches, the next game is always the most important. We always prepare for the next game, out of respect for the opponent. Our fans won't go to the Allianz Arena tomorrow, and think about Augsburg. They want to see a good game, and that's our assignment. But, we have Freiburg three days after Augsburg, and then three days later, Mainz. It's a very short time for 3 games, so, yes, I will rotate.
On whether he's thinking about Man City getting knocked out in the event that Moscow wins - No. Our opponent knows that we will play to win tomorrow. We will play our game, no matter who starts, and the rest depends on the other teams.
Disclaimer - Due to the nature of having a coach whose native language is not German, the translation of the quotes is not exactly word for word, but includes some interpretation on the part of the author of this article, in order to more accurately portray what the coach is intending to say. There is some necessary guesswork involved.