On Friday night, the Bundesliga returns as Bayern Munich travel to Hamburg. Pep Guardiola will be able to welcome back two of his biggest names. The Spanish coach also had kind words for HSV head coach Bruno Labbadia.
Pep Guardiola has confirmed that both Arjen Robben and David Alaba, who missed the end of the first half of the season through injury, are available to play against Hamburg in the opening match of the second half of the season on Friday.
"Arjen and David are both fit, but are both likely to start from the bench," Guardiola told a press conference on Friday.
Guardiola confirmed that Rafinha, who was injured during the friendly defeat to second-division German side Karlsruhe, is still out. The Spanish coach also explained that Medhi Benatia, Mario Götze and Franck Ribery were all recovering well from their long-term injuries.
Question marks already
Bayern Munich returned to Germany last week and faultered against Karlsruhe, losing 2-1, and Guardiola admitted that he is unsure of his team's form heading into the Bundesliga's restart.
"I don't know at which level my team is playing at right now, we will need three or four games before I know that," Guardiola said. "I probably won't even know after the game in Hamburg."
Guardiola also spoke about Bayern's nearest rivals for a fourth consecutive Bundesliga title, Borussia Dortmund, who will bring in the new year with a trip to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday.
"Borussia Dortmund are one of the five best team in Europe right now," Guardiola said. "I didn't expect them to be where they are. The team, the coach, it's all great."
One last hurdle
The Spanish coach, who announced that he will leave Bayern Munich at the end of his current contract in June, told the press conference that he knows his three-year tenure in Munich will be judged on whether he can repeat the club's treble-winning season in 2013 under Jupp Heynckes.
"I can live with that. Perhaps we will win the Champions League," the 45-year old explained. "Jupp Heynckes and Ottmar Hitzfeld (who lead Bayern to the Champions League title in 2001) will always be more important to the club than me.
"They are German and were here longer than me. I know the pressure from my time at Barcelona, so I can live with it."