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Manchester United absence a lesson for Euro giants: Pep Guardiola

By Andy Hampson

Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola believes the absence of Manchester United from this season's Champions League serves as a warning to all 'big' clubs.

United are sitting out the elite competition for the first time since 1995 after a dismal last season in which they finished seventh in the Barclays Premier League and failed to qualify for Europe altogether.

Bayern are another of the Champions League's mainstays.

Their recent record includes winning the trophy in 2013 and final appearances in 2010 and 2012.

They were semi-finalists again last season.

Yet Guardiola is aware that can count for little if standards are not maintained in the Bundesliga.

Asked about United, Guardiola said: "It is a good lesson for the big clubs if we think we are unbeatable, that we are so strong.

"Every year we need to make the good things or maybe next season you could be out.

"That is why football is magnificent. Every single week you have to be ready.

"The local competition – the Premier League or the Bundesliga – is the most important because that shows you every week you are ready."

Guardiola, the former Barcelona boss, was speaking at a press conference at the Allianz Arena to preview his side's opening Champions League Group E game against Manchester City.

The German giants have been drawn in the same group as the Premier League winners in three of the past four seasons.

City, now with two Premier League titles to their name, are a real threat and Guardiola believes they are capable of winning the Champions League crown.

He said: "City won (here) with (Vincent) Kompany, (Yaya) Toure, (David) Silva, (Edin) Dzeko last year – fantastic players.

"They needed to win here to learn something, to learn they are able to win the Champions League.

"Last season they were able to win the Champions League and this year they are ready to win the Champions League, like eight, nine or 10 teams more who can win this trophy. We would like to be one of those teams."

Guardiola will be without attacking midfielder Franck Ribery and fellow dangerman Arjen Robben is also a doubt.

Defender Holger Badstuber tore a thigh muscle in Saturday's 2-0 win and is unavailable.

Striker Robert Lewandowski, Bayern's headline summer capture from Borussia Dortmund, is also under pressure to score his first goal for the club at home.

But captain Philipp Lahm said: "He is a great player and he has scored a lot of goals in the Champions League.

"The season is still young and we all need our rhythm. He is really going to do well here. He has a lot of quality."

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