Pek Guardiola’s new-look Bayern ready for first test

Pek Guardiola’s new-look Bayern ready for first test

BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Pek Guardiola’s new-look Bayern ready for first test

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Tom Starke hugs Pep Guardiola after unintentionally hitting the Catalan coach during a photo shooting session.

New-look Bayern Munich faces its first real tests under coach Pep Guardiola this weekend as the European champion play a tournament of Bundesliga teams, then faces Spanish giants Barcelona next week.

Having won all six of their low-key pre-season friendlies so far, Bayern faces tougher tests at this weekend’s Telekom Cup at Mönchengladbach’s ground where the hosts, Hamburg and main Bundesliga rivals Borussia Dortmund are involved.

Bayern could meet Dortmund in the final on July 21 in a repeat of the Champions League showpiece at Wembley in May when the Bavarians ran out 2-1 winners, before welcoming Barcelona in a friendly at Munich’s Allianz Arena on July 24.

Key changes

Guardiola took charge on June 24, saying he would adapt “100 percent” to the players and promising to change “only a few little things” before their pre-season training camp in Italy. Four weeks later, he has switched up key positions and introduced a new 4-1-4-1 system.

Captain Philipp Lahm, a Bayern institute at right-back, now finds himself in a midfield role while France winger Franck Ribery has been moved up front into the ‘false nine’ role Lionel Messi occupies at Barcelona.

Guardiola has hinted at breaking up the defensive midfield partnership between Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Martinez could play at center back and Schweinsteiger in an attacking midfield role, Guardiola has said, while striker Mario Mandzukic has all the attributes of a defender, the Catalan says.