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No let-up from Bayern as City vie for top spot

"Coming second is not an option for us," said FC Bayern München coach Josep Guardiola as his side bid to stave off the challenge of second-placed Manchester City FC.

No let-up from Bayern as City vie for top spot
No let-up from Bayern as City vie for top spot ©UEFA.com

Josep Guardiola urged FC Bayern München to confirm their status as Group D winners when they meet closest pursuers Manchester City FC on matchday six. 

Bayern have posted a record ten consecutive UEFA Champions League victories and will be the only team to emerge from the group stage with maximum points should they overcome a City outfit comprising "incredible players". Guardiola vowed that "coming second is not an option", as Manuel Pellegrini seeks a positive response to the 3-1 home defeat his charges suffered against the holders in October. Should they better the margin of that win, the English side would finish top on the head-to-head rule.

Josep Guardiola, coach
Our first goal was to qualify for the next round, and second to win our group. I am looking forward to a really good game and hope the players understand how important it is. Manchester City have incredible players and are always able to create good chances. If we play our usual game, however, we have a good chance of finishing top. Coming second is not an option.

Records are nice, but there are many things to improve, such as keeping the ball for longer periods. To get 18 points would be a great achievement. Manchester City have many players of great quality. They need to score three goals to come first. If we don't play well, they have the ability to hurt us. We are looking forward to the challenge.

We won our game against Bremen [7-0 on Saturday], but I expect tomorrow will be a lot tighter. They won't give us the space we like between the lines, so we'll have to be at our best.   

Weekend result
Saturday: SV Werder Bremen 0-7 FC Bayern München (Lukimya og 21, Van Buyten 27, Ribéry 38 82, Mandžukić 60, Müller 68, Götze 90)
Neuer; Rafinha, Boateng (Dante 61), Van Buyten, Alaba; Thiago (Pizarro 76), Müller, Götze, Kroos (Kirchhoff 70), Ribéry; Mandžukić.

• Bayern are unbeaten in 40 Bundesliga games and have collected 90 points from their 32 top-flight fixtures of 2013. They have not lost any of the last 79 fixtures (74 victories, five draws) in which they have scored first.

Team news
Arjen Robben is unavailable because of a knee injury, while Philipp Lahm (thigh) and Bastian Schweinsteiger (ankle) missed out against Bremen. However, Franck Ribéry and Claudio Pizarro returned to action and Xherdan Shaqiri was named as a substitute for the first time since early October. Mario Götze picked up a knock in Bremen but Guardiola is optimistic he will be available.

Manchester City
Manuel Pellegrini, coach
It's an important game. We may have already qualified but we still need to improve and make up for our home defeat against Bayern. Joe Hart will play – we have to think about the present rather than the past and I have lots of confidence in his ability. 

We would prefer to finish top of the group, but it's been tough having already played against a very strong Bayern team. They played better than us [in Manchester] and it will be extremely difficult to beat them 3-0 at their stadium. However, we will give everything to make that happen.

Weekend result
Saturday: Southampton FC 1-1 City (Osvaldo 42; Agüero 10)
Pantilimon; Zabaleta, Kompany, Demichelis, Kolarov; Milner (García 62), Touré (Džeko 79), Fernandinho, Nasri; Agüero, Negredo (Navas 62).

• Agüero took his tally to 19 goals in 18 appearances for club and country with the opening strike against Southampton. Pellegrini's side have won just two out of eight away fixtures in the league this season, losing four.

Team news
Matija Nastasić and Stevan Jovetić are sidelined with calf injuries, while Gaël Clichy has not travelled to Munich due to a minor foot problem. Yaya Touré is suspended. 

Match fact
• Bayern's home record against English teams is W10 D5 L2. They went down 2-0 to Arsenal FC in last season's round of 16 but prevailed on away goals having won the first leg 3-1 in London. Bayern also lost the 2012 UEFA Champions League final on penalties to Chelsea FC at their home ground, although technically this counted as a neutral venue for the night.

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