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Football | Germany

Bayern seek to adjust under Guardiola

Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm has said the European champions need time to adjust to life under new coach Pep Guardiola as the Spaniard put the Champions League winners through their paces.

Guardiola replaced Jupp Heynckes, who led Bayern to the treble of European, cup and league titles last season, and held public training sessions at Munich's Allianz Arena, attended by around 17,000 fans on Wednesday and Thursday.

"We need time to get used to Guardiola, but that won't take long," Lahm told German daily Bild after the team were also put through fitness testing at Munich's Olympic Stadium.

"We are all paying close attention to what's happening.

"Pre-season is long enough to get used to each other. I am not worried about that."

Guardiola has introduced one rule already: the players must meet for breakfast an hour before training, but Lahm says the new coach has made a good impression.

"He is communicating all the time and does a lot of talking. He wants us to understand him as soon as possible. Plenty of things will change," said Lahm.

"I have already experienced a lot of coach swaps, though, so this is nothing out of the ordinary for me. It's just part of the job." Guardiola will take Bayern to north Italy for a training camp next week with the new Bundesliga season to begin on August 9. France wing Franck Ribery, who signed a contract extension until 2017 on Friday, has revealed Guardiola has asked him to play in the play-maker Number 10 role next season.

Although Ribery refused to move in from the wing when asked by former Munich coach Louis van Gaal, the 30-year-old hinted he may do so for Guardiola. "He asked me which position I prefer to play and if I could possibly play on the 10," Ribery told French newspaper L'Equipe.

"I answered that I am flexible in attack. He has many ideas."

Ribery has said he hopes Bayern can "win one or two titles in the next few years and defend them" under Guardiola. "You feel straight away what he wants to do.

"We will improve both me personally and the team as a whole." After Bayern broke or equalled 25 Bundesliga records, Guardiola has vowed to continue the success of Munich's treble-winning season and Ribery said they could be even better.

Having spent six months learning German, Guardiola already has a good grasp of the language, which has already given him an advantage over previous foreign Bundesliga coaches, according to Swiss boss Ottmar Hitzfeld.

Hitzfeld pointed to the examples of Italy's Giovanni Trapattoni, who coached Bayern during two stints in the 1990s, and Nevio Scala, who coached Borussia Dortmund for a season between 1997-98.

"That he already speaks German, speaks volumes for his character," said ex-Bayern coach Hitzfeld. "It is also a huge advantage, in order to be able to talk to players directly, but also understand the media.

"Others, such as Trapattoni or Scala failed because they did not speak the language."

Guardiola inherits a squad which will be boosted by the signing of Mario Goetze from rivals Borussia Dortmund, but ex-Germany goalkeeper Jens Lehmann said the Bundesliga will not offer the Spaniard much of a challenge.

"Pep impressive talking fluent German (sic). He will inspire German Football. But he will be disappointed that the Bundesliga won't challenge him," the former Arsenal goalkeeper wrote on his Twitter account.

Lehmann then explained in Bild: "Guardiola will face similar conditions in Bundesliga to Spain.

"There are two financially very, very successful teams. The rest are far behind and there won't be a major challenge from there."

"The only major challenge will come from the Champions League or the Club World Cup."


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