Berlin - Bayern Munich's flagging stars admit they are relishing
the chance to rest during the forthcoming winter break when they discover
whether Pep Guardiola will stay or go at the end of the season.
Guardiola's current three-year contract expires next June
and Bayern's head coach has said he will announce "before Christmas"
whether he will extend his stay or leave, having been linked to a host of
Guardiola has stayed tight-lipped, giving no indication
either way as to what he will decide, but Spanish sports daily Marca reported
on Wednesday that Guardiola has already told the Bayern directors that he will
leave at the end of the season.
According to the Madrid-based paper, Guardiola believes both
he and the club would benefit from a change of scenery due to his intense work
ethic that can wear players down.
Last month, Barcelona daily Sport claimed Guardiola had
already given his word to former Barca colleagues Ferran Soriano and Txiki
Begiristain, now Manchester City's chief executive and director of football
respectively, that he will join them at the Etihad next season.
Also read: Bayern will find 'great coach' if Guardiola goes: Lahm
Bayern laboured to a 1-0 German Cup win over Darmstadt on
Tuesday, thanks to a spectacular Xabi Alonso volley, to book their place in the
quarter-finals and keep alive their dreams of winning the treble of Champions
League, Bundesliga and cup titles this season.
The Bavarian giants hold a five-point lead in the German
league ahead of their final game of 2015 at Hanover 96 on Saturday, but the
sense of anticipation is building in the Bayern squad over Guardiola's
"I can't look inside his head and I'm excited about the
decision," said Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has said he will do
all he can to keep the Spaniard in Munich.
On behalf of the squad, Bayern captain Philipp Lahm has
already told Guardiola, who has won 19 titles as coach of either Barcelona or
Bayern, he should extend his stay.
"I have already said all there is to say. What I
believe or think doesn't really matter now," said Lahm.
Darmstadt coach Dirk Schuster says he hopes Guardiola, 44,
remains in Germany's top flight, for the sake of the league.
"He's a world-class coach and it does the Bundesliga
good having him here," said Schuster.
Having laboured to a 2-0 league win over Ingolstadt on
Saturday, Bayern again struggled on Tuesday with several players out injured.
"That wasn't a gala performance, but we can live with
that," said Bayern forward Thomas Mueller.
He said the squad is looking forward to the winter break
which starts on Sunday and lasts until Friday January 22, when Bayern are at
"The state of the players isn't particularly good and
we were able to rotate in the last few weeks, which has shown in the team
performance," he added.
"Of course, we're looking forward to the winter break
and we're finding it a bit hard at the moment."For
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