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Kovac pays homage to Guardiola ahead of Bayern-City clash; Javi Martinez out

Both managers have praised the opposition ahead of the ICC contest between Bayern Munich and Manchester City in Miami. Bayern midfielder Javi Martinez will not be risked in the game.

Eintracht Frankfurt Cup Gala - DFB Cup Final 2018 Photo by Andreas Wolf - Pool/Getty Images

As Bayern prepare to face Manchester City in a mouth-watering International Champions Cup match-up later this evening, both managers spoke to the press regarding their level of respect for one another. Niko Kovac, settling into his first preseason with Munich, was quite complimentary of Pep Guardiola, a coach who knows the pressure of managing Bayern all to well, of course.

”I won’t presume to claim that I will be more successful than him. I still have much, much to accomplish to even approach Pep Guardiola,” claims Kovac (TZ), before adding, “For me, personally, he is the best coach in the world.”

The former Eintracht Frankfurt head coach isn’t alone in his opinion that Guardiola is superior to his managerial counterparts, and the Croat has some experience of working alongside him, having been invited to one of Guardiola’s training camps in Qatar when the Spaniard was in charge of Bayern.

“It was a pleasure and an honor for me at the time,” Kovac said.

Guardiola, meanwhile, reaffirms he has no regrets about his time in Germany, despite the club’s shortcomings in the Champions League during his reign. Bayern reached three consecutive semi-finals under Pep’s tutelage but failed to capture the prestigious trophy, and some view it as a knock on the former Barcelona’s man tenure in Bavaria.

“I regret nothing and will never say anything bad about Bayern. We came very close in the Champions League. But when I look back on my time, [with Bayern] it’s always positive,” argues Guardiola as he claims he remembers his time there fondly, “It was a dream and an important part of my life.”

Javi Martinez out

The back-and-forth between the managers wasn’t the only interesting tidbit from the press conference as Kovac also provided an injury update on the recently absent Javi Martinez.

”Javi is feeling better,” confirmed Kovac before clarifying that he’s unlikely to return for the contest at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. “We won’t take any risks with him,” Kovac concluded