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Pep Guardiola starts the European mission

Pep Guardiola says he is relishing the task of trying to help Bayern Munich become the first side to successfully defend the Uefa Champions League title.

The Bavarians begin the defence of their European crown with the visit of CSKA Moscow to the Allianz Arena in Group D on Tuesday.

AC Milan joined an elite band of only eight teams, including Bayern, to win back-to-back trophies in 1989 and 1990 when the competition was in its former guise of the European Cup.

In 23 years no team has retained the Champions League trophy but new coach Guardiola, a two-time competition winner with Barcelona, says he is looking forward to the challenge.

He said: "I like the Champions League - it is a very important competition, but also very difficult. So many teams are in contention to win it this year. I am proud to undertake this challenge with my new team."

Last season Bayern swept all before them when winning the Treble under the stewardship of Jupp Heynckes and Guardiola is convinced the current squad has the desire to challenge again.

The 42-year-old added: "Bayern won everything playing extraordinary football last season. This season we have done well, mostly in the second halves of games. I know the team very well. The players always try to do exactly what I want them to do. If they don't do what I want, it's my fault. We stand together and the players want to play my type of football."

Guardiola is hopeful that Bastian Schweinsteiger will recover from an ankle injury but he is without Thiago Alcantara (ankle), Javi Martinez (groin) and Mario Gotze (ankle).

Bayern Munich can be backed at 1.18 in the 90 minutes market and the draw is on offer at 8.50, while victory for Leonid Slutsky's visitors is priced 2.25.

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