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Match 16
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Match 15
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6:00 PM UTC
Match 17
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12:00 PM UTC Jun 20, 2018
Match 19
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Saudi Arabia
3:00 PM UTC Jun 20, 2018
Match 18
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6:00 PM UTC Jun 20, 2018
Match 20
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 By Mark Lovell

Bayern Munich boss Carlo Ancelotti brandishes China speculation 'a joke'

MUNICH -- Carlo Ancelotti has said speculation he is planning to take a job in China is "a joke" as he set his sights on Champions League glory with Bayern Munich.

Former Bayern winger Mario Basler told Sport1 he had heard from a "very trustworthy source" that the 58-year-old had a pre-contract agreement in place to join a Chinese Super League.

"A few days ago, I heard that Carlo Ancelotti has already signed a contract for a club abroad starting in the winter," Basler said. "Apparently he's already signed a pre-contract at the place where the most money is -- in China."

He added: "It might not be true but this is what I've been told."

However, Ancelotti dismissed Basler's comments at his news conference ahead of Bayern's opening Champions League fixture this season against Anderlecht.

"I am supposed to be here to speak about serious things. This is a joke," he said. "You have to ask Basler if he is so convinced. I think it is a joke. You know the problem is few people understand it's a joke -- a lot of people have taken it seriously."

Meanwhile, Ancelotti confirmed Jerome Boateng will return to the Bayern squad for the first time this season.

Carlo Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti is preparing his Bayern Munich side for their game against Anderlecht.

The Germany international has not played since suffering a muscle injury in the final game of last season against Freiburg.

However, Ancelotti also said David Alaba, Juan Bernat and Arturo Vidal are all unavailable for the game against the Belgian champions.

Ancelotti has led both Real Madrid and AC Milan to Champions League success in the past.

He feels the competition will be more difficult for his side to win this season and was happy to hand over the tag of favourites to Madrid as his former club seek a third consecutive Champions League title.

"There's lots of competitive teams, not just Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern," he said. "Manchester United weren't there last year and you also have Liverpool and Chelsea. It will be a more complicated competition for everyone to win. But Real have won the last two seasons so they have to be favourite."

Bayern captain Manuel Neuer added at the news conference: "It's important for us to start well in the group [against Anderlecht], especially at home. We have to be dominant, move the ball around quickly, create goal-scoring opportunities and take the lead."

Bayern are seeking to win their opening Champions League match of the season for the 14th straight time.

Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.


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