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Sunday 11 December 2016

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola expects strong Zagreb challenge

Coach Pep Guardiola of FC Bayern Munich
Coach Pep Guardiola of FC Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has paid tribute to the Bavarians' first ever Croatian opponents Dinamo Zagreb, who they face in the Champions League tonight.

Never before have Bayern played a competitive game against a Croatian club and Guardiola is not expecting the first to be easy, pointing at Dinamo's recent record as a warning to his side not to underestimate their Group F rivals.

"They've gone 45 games unbeaten so that's a good enough indication of how strong they are," Guardiola said.

"They're a very defensive team; very well organised and they are physically a very strong team, and very aggressive."

Dinamo's 2-1 win over Arsenal in their opening group game - their first Champions League group stage win in 16 fixtures - is further warning that Bayern, who have won nine games in a row this season, must be on full alert at the Allianz Arena.

"Of course their record [of 45 games unbeaten] is impressive, but then it's about time they lost one," said Bayern defender Jerome Boateng, who also met the media on Monday, together with David Alaba.

The Austrian defender gave some insight into his side's preparations for an unknown prospect, saying that they will be "presented with an analysis of them" before training on Monday afternoon, although he has heard and seen enough to know they are "tough opponents."

Arturo Vidal and Sebastian Rode are Guardiola's only doubts, but he has plenty of alternatives, including the fit-again Javi Martinez.

Dinamo arrive in Munich buoyed by their unbeaten record in all competition, in particular that win over Arsenal which has given them hope of reaching the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time at the fifth attempt.

They have enough inside information on the Bundesliga with coach Zoran Mamic a former player of Bochum, Bayer Leverkusen and Greuther Furth while defender Gordon Schildenfeld played for both Duisburg and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Bayern Munich v Dinamo Zagreb live BT Sport Extra (7.45)

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