Manuel Neuer Rumours Answered by Pep Guardiola Ahead of Manchester City Clash

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 02:  Joe Hart of Manchester City swaps tops with Manuel Neuer of Muenchen during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City and FC Bayern Muenchen at Etihad Stadium on October 2, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has issued a firm response to rumours linking goalkeeper Manuel Neuer with a move to Manchester City, and it doesn't look hopeful for the English giants.

Ahead of the pair's Champions League group stage clash on Tuesday evening, the Bayern coach left no room for speculation on the matter. When asked about the chance of his No. 1 making the switch, per Chris Wheeler of the Daily Mail, he simply replied: "Absolutely no chance."

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01:  Pep Guardiola of FC Bayern Muenchen looks on during a training session at Etihad Stadium on October 1, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Given that Bayern's finances are in fine order—Bloomberg's Ben Priechenfried reported a 20 percent rise in revenue in 2013—and that the club currently boast one of, if not the finest squad in the world, FC Hollywood aren't in a position where they need to sell, either.

A drop in form from Joe Hart has meant that the English stopper has dropped to the bench in recent outings, with Romanian giant Costel Pantilimon taking his place in Manuel Pellegrini's starting XI.

However, it seems Hart will be handed a European lifeline against Bayern on Tuesday, his manager commenting on the keeping situation as well as his side's chances against Bayern, via Wheeler's report:

For him it’s a very important game, not thinking about the past but thinking about the future. I’m absolutely sure and I trust in him. One of most important things was to qualify for the next round and not have to decide the group here in Munich. 

We have qualified already but it’s important to improve what we did against Bayern at home. We didn’t play well in that game. Tomorrow we’ll try to change the image of the team from that match.

Pellegrini recently became the first manager to succeed in leading City to the knockout stages of the Champions League. The English club and Bayern have already qualified from the group stage.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 27:  Joe Hart of Manchester City kicks down field during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester City and FC Viktoria Plzen at Etihad Stadium on November 27, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Li
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

In order to pull off what seems an impossible feat and finish atop Group D, the Citizens need not only to win on Tuesday but must do so with a three-goal advantage running in their favour.

The last time Bayern conceded three goals at home in a Champions League fixture came against Inter in the 2010/11 season, but Guardiola's team have gone on to bigger and better things in the past two years.

Pellegrini has already left his mark in achieving qualification from the group phase this campaign, but expecting the Chilean to get the required result against the reigning champions of Europe may be asking too much.

In any case, both teams head to the Allianz Arena knowing their place in the round of 16 is safe, but one goalkeeper in home colours will feel a lot more assured about his long-term future than his Manchester City counterpart.