Guardiola expecting 'huge' Real challenge
By Football News
Pep Guardiola is expecting a "huge challenge" when Bayern Munich face Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League semi-final.
Friday's draw in Nyon saw the European giants paired against each other, with the first leg in Madrid on April 23 before the return in Munich six days later.
Both sides are chasing what would be a historic victory in the final, with Real aiming to win Europe's premier club competition for the 10th time, and current holders Bayern out to become the first team to defend the trophy since the competition's inception in 1992.
The two met at the same stage two years ago, Bayern prevailing on penalties after a 3-3 aggregate scoreline, only for Bayern to lose the final in their own stadium, also on penalties, to Chelsea.
It will be the first time Bayern coach Guardiola has encountered Real since he managed their arch-rivals Barcelona in a four-year spell that yielded three La Liga titles and two Champions League wins.
"The draw is the draw," said Guardiola on Friday. "Real Madrid are a tough group but we're looking forward to it. I know their team well.
"They have a great team and a great coach, so it will be a huge challenge for us."
Real have been hit by the news that Cristiano Ronaldo has suffered a thigh strain, but Guardiola expects the Portuguese forward to be available for the tie.
"I believe he will play against us," he said. "We will prepare for the game believing that he will be in the team.
"We watched their game against (Borussia) Dortmund and will watch them them in the cup against Barcelona (Real meet Barca in the Copa del Rey final on Wednesday). We'll analyse everything."