Sorry, Liverpool - Guardiola backing Bayern old boys
Pep Guardiola does not want to see English domination of the Champions League quarter-final places continue with Liverpool beating Bayern Munich.
City dispatched Bundesliga opposition in resounding fashion on Tuesday, Sergio Aguero's brace setting in motion a 7-0 demolition of Schalke – the 10-2 overall scoreline standing as the second biggest aggregate margin in the competition's history.
The Premier League champions join Tottenham and Manchester United as three of the six confirmed quarter-finalists, with Liverpool locked at 0-0 with Bayern heading into their Wednesday encounter at the Allianz Arena.
But the nip-and-tuck title race being fought domestically with Jurgen Klopp's men has not engendered a level of solidary that will allow Guardiola to cast aside his three Bundesliga-winning seasons in charge of Bayern.
"I am sorry for the English people, I want Bayern to go through," City manager Guardiola told a post-match news conference.
"I am part of this club, I had an incredible three years. I love Munich and have a lot of friends there.
"It is a demanding game for both but I feel I like Bayern Munich and hopefully they can go through.
"In terms of what happened with Spanish teams and German teams, arriving many times in the finals, this season it is a surprise.
"Hopefully Barcelona tomorrow can go through [against Lyon] and reach the quarter-finals. For English football it is nice that there are three teams in the quarter finals and Liverpool maybe."
Runners-up last term, Schalke are languishing four points above the Bundesliga relegation zone this time around and Domenico Tedesco saw his side's lack of form and confidence brutally exposed.
We were solid and we didn't concede chances. The second half was incredible. I am incredibly happy to be in the quarter-final draw.— PepTeam (@PepTeam) March 12, 2019
Estuvimos sólidos y no concedimos ocasiones. La segunda parte fue increíble. Estoy inmensamente feliz de estar en cuartos.#cityvs04 #mancity pic.twitter.com/LaKluAMBKj
Nevertheless, it was a statement win for City in a tournament where they have often flattered to deceive.
"As a club we are a teenager [in the Champions League] because the best success in our history is one semi-final," Guardiola said, returning to a pre-match analogy.
"When you compare to Liverpool, Barcelona and Bayern Munich… our best success is one semi-final.
"But the teenagers have passion, they have desire, they are not scared and have good things."
But Guardiola, as he reflected upon Juventus' astonishing Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired comeback to unseat Atletico Madrid in Turin, knows tougher challenges away for a team still in contention for an unprecedented quadruple.
"Thank you so much for your confidence in me. I won two [Champions Leagues] but I lost seven. I'm not Real Madrid," he added.
"Madrid are out but, still, look at Juventus. This guy, Cristiano Ronaldo… he goes there to win the Champions League
"Two times they have lost [in the final recently], they get Cristiano to go there."They have all the pressure on his shoulders and he scores three goals against Atletico Madrid. That is the type of teams we have to face."