BERLIN, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola warned his players to minimise the risk of counter-attacks through teamwork against Schalke 04 on Tuesday or risk another heavy defeat.
Champions Bayern were crushed 4-1 by second-placed VfL Wolfsburg who were lethal with quick breaks on Friday when the Munich side suffered their first league defeat of the season which cut their lead to eight points.
In the previous 17 league games Bayern had conceded only four goals.
"If we allow our opponents to run, if we allow them to counter-attack then we are finished," Guardiola told reporters. "The ball is the fastest player in the world.
"It is up to the entire team to stop that. We did it well in 17 games and we did not do it well in one."
Guardiola backed his central defenders Dante and Jerome Boateng, saying they "were left alone" against Wolfsburg.
"If we don't stop those actions (breaks) then it could happen again."
The Bavarians, however, will still be the overwhelming favourites when they host fellow Champions League club Schalke, who are fourth.
"We will play better," Guardiola said. "The reason for our loss was tactics. The players will understand that quickly and then we will successfully defend our league title."
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann, editing by Ed Osmond