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Thursday 17 August 2017

Bayern revival shows Pep is no lame duck

'Guardiola (p) has somehow kept these players playing for him even though they know he will be gone in a few months' Photo: Reuters
'Guardiola (p) has somehow kept these players playing for him even though they know he will be gone in a few months' Photo: Reuters

There was a moment during Bayern Munich's Champions League win over Juventus that I thought Pep Guardiola was in deep, deep trouble.

Trailing 2-0 on the night to a Juventus team in full flow, it struck me that the lame duck tag which has been something of a fashion in the Premier League, could easily be attached to Guardiola.

His premature announcement that he would quit set off a chain across Europe which ended up on Manuel Pellegrini's desk and it looked to me that the damage caused by that had finally rebounded on Guardiola and Bayern Munich.

Within an hour, I had changed my mind completely. Bayern Munich turned the game around against Juventus and in doing so, established their credentials as possible Champions League winners.

However he has done it, Guardiola has somehow kept these players playing for him even though they know he will be gone in a few months.That's some achievement and great testimony to his ability to manage men.

He's the only one to do it among a group of managers currently in football's waiting room.

Pellegrini managed to drag enough out of his players to get through against Kiev, the easiest draw in the round but he's lost Vincent Kompany again and I don't believe they will get beyond the quarter-finals.

Chelsea have Guus Hiddink minding the shop and they were simply not good enough against PSG.

Which leaves us with Arsene Wenger and Arsenal who gave it a bit of a go against Barcelona on Wednesday night but were never going to have enough to win.

All in all, the line-up of teams left in the competition is an accurate reflection of European football at the moment and that's not good news for the Premier League.

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