Football

Wins bring relief for Guardiola and hope for Pellegrini

Wins bring relief for Guardiola and hope for Pellegrini
Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic (centre) scoring against CSKA Moscow during their Champions League match in Munich on Tuesday. Photo: Reuters
Published: 4:02 AM, September 19, 2013
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MUNICH — Reigning European champions Bayern Munich delivered the best response to a recent rebuke by one of their top officials by steamrollering past CSKA Moscow 3-0 in their Champions League group opener on Tuesday night (yesterday morning, Singapore time).

Bayern Sports Director Mattias Sammer had criticised the Treble winners for playing “lethargic football”, “going through the motions” and “playing without emotion” during their 2-0 win over Hannover 96 last weekend, but they were anything but against Russian champions CSKA.

Bayern even recorded the first goal of the new Champions League season with David Alaba’s swerving free kick in the fourth minute.

Mario Mandzukic and Arjen Robben then scored the other two goals for the easy win.

When asked what he thought of Sammer’s blast, Robben said: “We showed what we can do today and that should also put an end to the ongoing discussion.”

But Bayern Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge claimed Bayern’s sparkling display had little to do with Sammer’s comments.

“That had nothing to do with Mattias Sammer,” he said. “The team has huge quality, the team has our trust.

“At the end of the day, we know that they can deliver such games. They started where they stopped in London. Namely, with a class game.”

Still, there was no denying that the win — which is also Bayern’s seventh consecutive Champions League victory — brought relief to new coach Pep Guardiola.

The 42-year-old, who won 14 titles in his four years at Barcelona, is under pressure to deliver silverware after Bayern became the first German team last season to capture the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup.

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