Pep Guardiola's first game as Bayern Munich coach is set to be a benefit friendly at cash-strapped side Hansa Rostock, the German third division side announced on Thursday. Guardiola takes over from current Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes on 1 July and a fortnight later will take the Bavarian giants to Rostock's Ostseestadion on 14 July to help the home side raise some much-needed cash.
After winning 14 titles in four years as Barcelona coach, there will be a huge amount of media interest in Guardiola's reign as Bayern coach which will start in earnest at the former East German city on the Baltic coast. Having dropped down the leagues after being relegated from the Bundesliga in 2008, Rostock hit financial problems this season with a deficit of €6.58m to make up - and Bayern's visit will be a huge help.
"The willingness of this world-famous club to support us is phenomenal," enthused Hansa CEO Michael Dahlmann, with their game expected to be a 29,000-capacity sell-out. "Bayern Munich has managed to stay a family club with a heart despite its size. We take our hats off to them and sincerely thank them for their help."
Bayern have agreed to take no revenue from the benefit match with Spanish giants Barcelona to be Pep Guardiola's first home match in a friendly at the Allianz Arena on 24 July. Munich, who have a 20-point lead in the Bundesliga, can be confirmed as German league champions on Saturday if they win at Eintracht Frankfurt.