eActually, Pep Guardiola could not have done much better before returning to Germany. The team manager of Manchester City is back with the English football champions at the head of the Premier League. His intimate enemy Jose Mourinho threatens the city rivals United out. "Problem child" Leroy Sane is back on track. Ilkay Gündogan left the Erdogan debate behind.
Nevertheless Guardiola is on Tuesday in Sinsheim (18.55 clock in the F.A.Z. Liveticker for Champions League and Sky) under great pressure. The reason for this is the surprising false start of the Skyblues in the Champions League against Olympique Lyon (1: 2). Should City not win at Bundesliga club TSG Hoffenheim, the alarm bells would be on the island. After all, only the title win in the premier class counts for the billionaire squad this season.
That City is under pressure in Kraichgau, fits Guardiola not at all in the junk. The game under these conditions comes for the former coach of Bayern Munich at the wrong time. After all, England is already looking forward to the coming Sunday. Then City must play in the top match in tied second-placed FC Liverpool.
Although Guardiola is a luxury squad available, but the coach can spare his top stars on Tuesday not for the meeting on Sunday in the Reds of team manager Jürgen Klopp. Too important is the game in Sinsheim with a view to the group F table. Guardiola had to remind the journalists, who after the previous win against Brighton and Hove Albion (2: 0) already asked exclusively for Liverpool.
Without De Bruyne, but with Sané
"Of course, Anfield is about a lot. But first it is for us against Hoffenheim. This will be a very important game for us. That's like a finale for us. Only then will we prepare for Liverpool, "said the 47-year-old, whose personal selection is also limited by injury problems. Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is out and Sergio Agüero and Benjamin Mendy are in question.
After all, Guardiola can fall back on his most important man – on himself. The defeat against Lyon, the coach, who has won with Bayern all his three-point games at TSG, from the stands to pursue. The Catalan was banned because of fierce protests after the quarter-final-off against Liverpool last season. In Sinsheim Guardiola, who had not yet to deal with the Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann during his time in Munich, returns to the bank.
From the sidelines Guardiola ("I have great respect for Julian, he has great quality") last saw a resurgent sane. After the German international had to watch in the first four games of the season, since then in three games a hit and three assists for Sane book. According to Guardiola, the 22-year-old has overcome his low after the dismantling of coach Joachim Loew before the World Cup: "Leroy has played really well in the past games."