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'Hopefully they can go through' - Guardiola backing Bayern to castle Liverpool

8:47 AM GMT+8 13/03/2019
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Jurgen Klopp's men could make it four Premier League teams in the Champions League quarters, but the Manchester City boss has other ideas

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 Hotspur 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.

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."

Leroy Sane produced the stand-out display at the Etihad Stadium, scoring once and providing three assists.

That included the pass which helped Phil Foden become City's youngest ever goalscorer in Champions League history.

Last season's PFA Young Player of the Year has failed to catch fire this season and has often been overlooked by Guardiola this term.

The German has only started 18 Premier League games this season and Guardiola admits that before he had a hand in four goals he made a poor start to his latest opportunity to impress.

Asked whether the 23-year-old was at the peak of his powers, the City boss said: “No. After the first goal, yes. Before, no. He was not aggressive enough in the first 20 minutes.

“I like when he runs and goes. If he loses the ball, it doesn’t matter. It is the same with Raheem (Sterling) but they are young.

“I know it is tough for Leroy, he doesn’t play every game, but after 20 minutes he was then outstanding for the goal and the assists.

“He is a player we know has incredible qualities. It is difficult to find around the world a player with the qualities he has.”

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."