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June 27, 2017

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Guardiola braced for tricky 2nd season at Bayern

BERLIN -- Bayern Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge stated confidently during the close season that Pep Guardiola, after winning the domestic double in his debut campaign as coach, would never be pushed out.

"Bayern will never sack Pep Guardiola. I can put that in writing today," said Rummenigge of the former Barcelona coach, whose contract at the Allianz Arena runs through to 2016.

However, Guardiola, despite his almost impeccable track record, is aware that there is little margin for error at Germany's biggest club.

He won the Bundesliga, the German Cup, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup in his first season in Bavaria but his team's defense of the Champions League ended in a semi-final humbling at the hands of Real Madrid.

"There are no secrets. If I don't win, then probably another coach comes here next year," he stated.

Bayern are expected to win the domestic double for a third year running, but even then Guardiola knows that his team will probably have to win the Champions League for 2014-15 to be deemed a successful season, especially with the final being played in Berlin.

But his team's preparations for the defense of their Bundesliga crown, starting at home to Wolfsburg on Friday, have hardly been ideal.

The summer has seen Bayern sell Toni Kroos to Real Madrid after negotiations over a new deal stalled, with the club unwilling to bow to the midfielder's wage demands. Croatian striker Mario Mandzukic has gone to Atletico Madrid while veteran Belgian defender Daniel Van Buyten has retired.

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