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SOCCER

Pre-season poser for Guardiola

New Bayern coach watches side slip to 4-2 defeat in German Supercup

Pep Guardiola (l) and Jürgen Klopp on the touchline during the German Supercup Saturday.
Pep Guardiola (l) and Jürgen Klopp on the touchline during the German Supercup Saturday. wolfgang rattay (REUTERS)

Pre-season is a curious rite of passage for soccer clubs, and can involve lengthy tours of far-off lands with a view more to the mechanism of the till than the team, or a more sedate agenda that rarely involves leaving the comfort of home.

Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich has largely opted for the latter, playing a few friendly matches in Germany, while popping over to Italy to face Brescia and a Paulaner XI, which was handed a 13-0 drubbing.

With the Bundesliga to start on August 9, Guardiola has less time than his European peers to prepare his side for the rigors of the season. A limbering-up against his former club, Barcelona, resulted in a 2-0 home win in the Allianz Arena and probably a good deal of Teutonic satisfaction at the prospect of another season of crushing all-comers ahead.

So it came as some surprise that last year’s treble-winners failed to add the German Supercup — in any European a trinket but a signal of intent also — to its haul at the weekend. Bayern’s opponent was Borussia Dortmund — by dint of finishing runner-up in both the league and the German Cup final to the Bavarian giant last season, and on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline in the Champions League final.

If ever there were cause for sporting revenge, that would just about do it. Dortmund ran out 4-2 victors in Guardiola’s first official game in charge and Jürgen Klopp erred on the side of not poking the bear with a stick, having relieved it of its honey: “Bayern are not our rivals this season [as they are in a league of their own]. We will compete with the other 16 teams but when we face Bayern we will always want to beat them,” said the Dortmund coach.

“They won and I am not here to analyze the game,” noted Guardiola. “I am satisfied with our performance. We did not lose because of the mistakes. We have a week, 10 days before the Bundelsiga starts. We lost 4-2 but I do not have the feeling that they are that much better. We will now correct our small mistakes.”

Real Madrid, meanwhile, beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in preparation for the grandly named Guinness International Champions Cup, which takes place in venues across the USA but actually kicked off on Saturday in Mestalla, where Milan beat Valencia 2-1.

The mini-tournament is another attempt to convince Americans to embrace the beautiful game and has a cast to match its ambitions: Chelsea, Everton, Juventus, Inter and LA Galaxy complete the draw.

Barcelona convened for its first training session on Monday with its Confederations Cup players, including Neymar, freshly available. On Saturday, Gerardo Martino was a spectator as his new team dismantled Norwegian top-tier side Valerenga 7-0 in Oslo. Santos, Neymar’s former club, visits Camp Nou on Friday before the serious business of shifting shirts in Asia gets underway with matches against Thailand in Bangkok and a Malaysia XI in Kuala Lumpur. The Spanish season begins on August 17.

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
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