Guardiola: Dortmund can win remaining matches

PEP Guardiola has backed Borussia Dortmund to win their remaining nine Bundesliga matches and push Bayern Munich as far as possible in the title race.

Bayern opened up a temporary eight-point advantage over Dortmund at the top of the table with an emphatic 5-0 win over Werder Bremen on Saturday.

Thomas Tuchel’s side host Mainz – who beat the defending champions 2-1 at the Allianz Arena on March 2 – on Sunday and Guardiola has backed them to take maximum points from their remaining fixtures and pile the pressure on his team.

The Spaniard added that he is focused on claiming a fourth successive Bundesliga title over any other silverware this season, with Bayern still in the Champions League and through to the DFB-Pokal semi-final.

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“We can’t lose any. I think Dortmund can win nine games in a row, so we need to make sure we win,” said Guardiola.

“When you win 5-0, people think it’s easy, but the players knew they had to work hard. We started the game very well and we didn’t give them many chances to counter-attack. We know what it is like to play these games and we need to win the games we have.

“I am not only coach, I am also a fan. The spectators deserve to see a good game. A big compliment to the players.

“My favourite title for this year is the Bundesliga.”

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Mario Gotze made a goalscoring return in his first Bayern start since October 4 and Guardiola also took the time to praise his display.

“It was not easy for him after four and a half months [out]. Of course, he needs time. He has played well. We had the best starting line-up that was possible today,” he added.

Bayern take on Juventus in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday with the aggregate score level at 2-2.

When asked whether he was worried it could be his last European match at the helm of the Bavarian giants, Guardiola responded: “Maybe so, but normally I always think positively. In the case it does happen, then big compliments to Juventus.

“I have great confidence in my players. We have to be smart against Juve, we need the fans from the first minute until the last.