Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola said on Friday he was happy to have drawn his former club Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals and expected the clash to be a special experience for him.
The Spaniard, a long-time Barca player, won 14 trophies in a four-year spell as head coach at the Nou Camp from 2008, including two Champions League titles.
Bayern midfielder Thiago Alcantara, lured to Bayern by Guardiola last season, is also a Barcelona youth product.
“Everyone understands how special this game is for me, for Thiago and my staff,” Guardiola, who joined Bayern in 2013 after taking a year out, told reporters.
“Barcelona was our life. When you are in a semi-final then you will always face a big team. What can I say? Barcelona is my home.”
Bayern, who are chasing a repeat of their 2013 treble, are closing in on the Bundesliga title and are through to the last four of the German Cup as well.
Guardiola has said a domestic double this season would not be enough for the Bavarians.
“It will be a special game. We have to analyse Barcelona,” he said, heaping praise on coach Luis Enrique, a former team mate.
“Barcelona are the best team at the moment. I am not surprised. He (Luis Enrique) has a lot of quality. He is a great guy and I am happy I will be facing him.”
Barcelona last won the Champions League in 2011 under Guardiola, while Bayern claimed their fifth European crown in 2013, before the Spanish coach took charge, after crushing the Spaniards 7-0 in the semi-finals.
“Now they have brought in Neymar, (Luis) Suarez. They have a new coach,” said Guardiola. “Other than that they play still the same, with the same mentality.”