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Pep Guardiola: Bayern Munich face tough challenge against strong Mainz

Pep Guardiola has warned his Bayern Munich side that they must be ready for a difficult test at home to Mainz on Wednesday.

Bayern travel to second-placed Borussia Dortmund on Saturday -- but Guardiola has said they must keep their full focus on Martin Schmidt's Mainz, who have enjoyed a strong second half of the season.

Guardiola told his prematch news conference: "Everyone's talking about Dortmund, but we are playing Mainz -- and they are fifth."

He praised Wednesday's Allianz Arena opponents as "a strong team with dynamic players like Yunus Malli, Jhon Cordoba, Pablo De Blasis and Jairo Samperio and a good keeper," and added: "It will be an interesting match."

The coach confirmed that everyone but Javi Martinez, Holger Badstuber and Jerome Boateng would be available for selection.

And after resting Mario Gotze for the win at Wolfsburg, Guardiola said: "Mario has been out injured for four months, but it is getting better every week.

"We have seven players for the attacking positions, and Mario is very professional. He was in peak condition prior to his injury. He will play again -- he is important, and he will be important."

Guardiola also said France international Franck Ribery was returning to his best after long spells on the sidelines last year.

"Franck's one of the most important players in the history of this club," he said. "When someone's around one club for such a long time, he just knows everything.

"He is important for the the fans, and the team. We are all pleased that he is back again."

Asked about the importance of the Dortmund game at the weekend, Guardiola said: "After every weekend now, there'll be one game less to be played. After Dortmund, we'll only have nine match days left. This week is very important.

"Dortmund are a strong team -- but Mainz are strong, too."


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