Following the devastating 0-3 loss to Barcelona at the Camp Nou, after keeping the game scoreless through 75 minutes, FC Bayern are now trying to get through the (for them) meaningless Bundesliga match against FC Augsburg, in order to try to salvage whatever they can in the return leg of the Champions League semifinal. Rotation will be the name of the game on Saturday, in order to rest up the regulars.
Pep Guardiola and media director Markus Hörwick sat down for the customary press conference with the sports media representatives.
FC Bayern Press Conference, May 8th, 2015
Not surprisingly, the reporters didn't really care too much about Saturday's upcoming game, with the Bundesliga title already wrapped up, and accordingly mostly concentrated on Barcelona, and the occurrences around last Wednesday's game.
Here are the highlights of today's questions and answers (my interjections in italics):
On the game against Augsburg - Every game means something, especially for our opponents. Augsburg is playing for a spot in the Europa League (currently in sixth place, with three teams within three points behind them), Freiburg is playing to stay in the Bundesliga (sitting four points out of last place). Last week, Leverkusen were playing for the direct Champions League qualification. Every opponent has something to play for.
On the current injury situation - Everyone is fit. We don't have any additional players ready for tomorrow and Tuesday, but the players that played in Barcelona are ok.
On players being tired in the Barcelona game - We've had this problem for the last three months. I want to rotate, but I can't. We have 13, 14, 15 players, that's it. Of course, we will try to rotate a bit, we'll see who the best players are to play. Rico Strieder (captain of the Bayern II team), who helped us out against Leverkusen, is injured, so he can't play tomorrow. We have a game, at the Allianz Arena, but we will have one eye on Tuesday.
On the decision to sub Thomas Müller - It was my decision. I know players are disappointed when they get subbed, but the coach has to do what's best for the team, not for one player. It was my decision, if the fans and the journalists think it was a mistake, I have to accept that.
On Mario Götze's public apology about his joking around with Marc Andre ter Stegen after the Barcelona game- (Pep appears to not know anything about the subject, and has Hörwick explain the situation to him) So, what's the problem? He doesn't need to apologize for talking to a colleague after the game, that's showing good sportsmanship. I'm sure Mario was disappointed in the result, but ter Stegen is a friend, why can't he go talk to him? It's not an issue for me.
On planning the roster for next season - After Mainz (Bayern's last game of the season, scheduled for May 23rd). After the Mainz game, we will receive the bowl (Meisterschale), we'll celebrate, and then we'll have time to talk about next season. I don't have time to think about that now.
On "only" winning the Bundesliga title - It will have been a great season. The team has won three Bundesliga titles in a row, lost in the DFB Pokal semifinal the way they did, with five or six clear goal scoring chances, and what happened with the referee (missed a blatant hand ball in the box). How many times has Bayern won the triple in its history? Once! OK.
On what Pep thinks of players like Antoine Griezmann, Kevin De Bruyne, or Ilkay Gündogan - After Mainz. I can't talk about it right now. We will analyze and discuss players later, after the Mainz game, after we get our trophy.
On the older players on the roster, and the need to rebuild - There are 34-year old players, that are more fit, more passionate than 25-year olds. We have to analyze every player and their situation, after the Mainz game. We will have plenty of time.
On whether the last 15 minutes of the Barcelona game made him angry - In the second half, we controlled the ball well. We had a little more possession, which means the opponent couldn't attack. We didn't have a lot of goal scoring chances up front, because we're missing our one-on-one type players like David Alaba, Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben for the last three months. We had Thiago in the middle, but he was a little too far away from the penalty box, and he was hurt for a year. After an individual mistake, we know how good Leo is, and three or four minutes later, we allow another goal, that's tough for the team. The third goal was unfortunate. But, in the Champions League, against such an opponent, the level of play is high, it can happen. But, generally, I'm happy with how we did.
On why Mario Götze has been subbed in and out so much this season - He's played a lot for me this season. He is fit, he's not hurt, it's just my decision. We haven't had this discussion over the last few months, because we've had a lot of injuries. Now, people are asking about Müller's sub, and Mario's playing time. I make decisions based on what's best for the team, that's why I'm here.
On Mario Götze's body language - He's one of the best professionals I have met. Some players run all over, go for headers everywhere, Mario is a different type of player. We don't need him for that, we need him for his quality. We have other players for the running, but he always runs anyway. I am very happy with Mario's performances.
On signing an extension - It's still too early (Pep has already answered this question a few times before). After the Mainz game, when you guys are on vacation, we will talk about it.
On how to get the players to focus on Augsburg before the return leg against Barcelona - It's not easy. We play to reach a goal, and we don't have that anymore. Sure, we can set the record for the least amount of goals allowed (currently allowing 15 goals this season, the record is 18, set by Bayern in 2012/13, during Jupp Heynckes' last season), but that's a minor goal, compared to the Barcelona game. In my time in Barcelona, when we would clinch the league title, we wouldn't win as much, because we were focusing on the Champions League, that's normal.
On whether making the CL final is still even possible - We still have 90 minutes, we have to play. I'm realistic, it's not easy, 3-0 against Barcelona is not easy. But, I am a fighter, I want to try, but it won't be easy.
On whether he has exchanged ideas with FC Bayern women's coach Thomas Wörle - (The FC Bayern women's team has a chance to win the first championship since 1976, and their coach was holding a press conference right after Pep's) I met him once at the beginning of the season. We discussed some ideas, but he didn't follow them, for that reason he won.
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.