Guardiola leads Bayern to win over Barcelona

Lionel Messi. Picture: Getty
Lionel Messi. Picture: Getty
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New coach Pep Guardiola shuffled the cards at Bayern Munich as the treble winners beat his former club Barcelona 2-0 in a friendly in Germany last night.

The Spaniard, who won 14 of 19 possible titles in four years at Barcelona, made sweeping role changes as he worked his way into the new job after the Bavarians won the Champions League and domestic league and cup double last season under Jupp Heynckes.

Against a second-string Barcelona, missing new coach Gerardo Martino and big signing Neymar as well as midfielders Xavi and Andres Iniesta among others, Guardiola started the game without a striker. Captain Philipp Lahm was pushed forward into an offensive midfield role after years of playing at right-back, and recent signing and former Barcelona talent Thiago Alcantara moved straight into midfield. The move paid off in the 15th minute when the diminutive Germany international headed in a smooth Franck Ribery cross.

Bayern were the sharper team in the first half, with their impressive depth on full display. With each team in pre-season training, both coaches made many changes in the second half with the game losing its pace.

Mario Mandzukic, who came on as a substitute, tapped in a late goal to finish the game. On Tuesday, Barcelona hired Argentine Gerardo Martino, known as a disciple of the club’s possession-based style that Guardiola applied successfully, to replace Tito Vilanova.

Vilanova, 44, stepped down last week to continue treatment for throat cancer after leading Barca to the La Liga title in his first season since taking over from Guardiola.