Pep Guardiola hits back at Ottmar Hitzfeld`s Bayern Munich criticism

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola on Friday hit back at criticism levelled at the club by ex-manager Ottmar Hitzfeld that the Bavarian giants are in danger of becoming too Spanish.

AFP| Last Updated: Aug 21, 2015, 21:51 PM IST
Pep Guardiola hits back at Ottmar Hitzfeld`s Bayern Munich criticism

Berlin: Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola on Friday hit back at criticism levelled at the club by ex-manager Ottmar Hitzfeld that the Bavarian giants are in danger of becoming too Spanish.

Hitzfeld, who coached Bayern from 1998-2004 and 2007-08, fell offside with the current Munich boss over comments he has made in magazine Kicker and on Sky television.

As well as Guardiola, the current Bayern squad has five Spanish speakers in Spain`s Xabi Alonso, Thiago Alcantara, Javi Martinez, Juan Berat and Chile`s Arturo Vidal.

Of the 29-man squad, 14 are German natives, while David Alaba is Austrian.

The 66-year-old Hitzfeld wrote in Kicker that the club must "ensure little by little that not too many foreign players are signed" and to make sure "German remains the main language in the team, so not only Spanish is spoken".

And he told Sky Sports, "Players like (Real Madrid`s Toni) Kroos and (Manchester United`s Bastian) Schweinsteiger are gone and Xabi Alonso and Arturo Vidal have replaced them, but it has alienated some of the market and I see that as being a problem.

"I see a trend that we are getting perhaps too many foreign problems and some of the German mentality has been lost".

Guardiola fired back in passionate fashion in a press conference ahead of Bayern`s German league clash at Hoffenheim on Saturday.

He pointed out that under Hitzfeld`s stewardship, there were few Germans in Bayern`s team which won the 2001 Champions League final on a penalty shoot-out.

"Under Ottmar Hitzfeld there were only four German players in the Champions League final," said the 44-year-old Guardiola with his side bidding to become the first team to win four straight Bundesliga titles this season.

"I have no German mentality -- I am Catalan.

"I am learning, I do my best for the club to try and repeat the triple we won under Jupp Heynckes (in 2013)."

Guardiola had four German players -- Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Mueller -- in his starting line-up for Bayern`s 5-0 drubbing of Hamburg last Friday on the opening weekend of the season.

In the 2001 Champions League final Guardiola refered to, Oliver Kahn, Thomas Linke, captain Stefan Effenberg and Mehmet Scholl were the four Germans Hitzfeld included in his starting line-up.