Pep Guardiola is only in his first season in charge at the Bundesliga giants and already Bayern Munich have won the league at a canter. This has not been purely through the brilliance of Guardiola, but more a mixture of the fantastic ground work that was passed over to him by Jupp Heynckes, and the lack of consistency from the rest of the Bundesliga chasing pack.
Borussia Dortmund’s rise to glory under Jürgen Klopp really rattled the cage of the Bavarians. Dortmund’s back to back titles woke the giant and Heynckes knew he had to bring the Bundesliga trophy back to Bayern. He did that by restoring the hunger and ruthlessness to the Allianz Arena. Subsequently the 2012/13 season was won by Bayern and just for good measure added the German cup and Champions League, completing the treble.
Heynckes then departed and after his sabbatical from the game the former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola was announced. His brief was to continue the dominance of Bayern Munchen through all mediums. The appointment of Guardiola was a somewhat surprising one, on the face of it you could not really see him adding much more to the team.
Guardiola however instantly set out to bring his famous possession football in to practice. Some might say that he has over done it with the team. The way Bayern now try to build play and keep the ball actually takes away from their furious attacking play. Nevertheless Bayern have still managed a considerable 93 goals so far this season.
Guardiola brought in from his former club Thiago Alcântara, a young and impressive midfielder who has since been a star for Bayern Munchen. A shrewd signing but more extraordinary has been the way Guardiola has managed so many midfield players at the club, keeping them motivated and happy to sit on the bench from time to time.
All of this is pretty basic for a manager of Guardiola’s quality. With Dortmund on a lull in the league this season and the chasing pack scrapping for European places, it’s hard to see what will attract Guardiola to stay at Bayern for very long. A league title wrapped up so early in the season, a cup final against Dortmund to look forward to; maybe it’s not so bad that they exited the Champions League to Real Madrid last week.
If Guardiola ended up with the treble in his first season, it wouldn’t be too much of a shock if he only stayed one more season. The question is do Bayern want steady long term success or constant domination, and managers moving on frequently. If they want the latter then the Bayern’s hierarchy needs someone like Sir Alex Fergusson who is loyal to the club. Jürgen Klopp seems set to continue his development of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern need their old rivals to push them harder next season.
Guardiola is a winner and he clearly enjoys building teams into dominant forces, but once he’s done this, how much does it hold his attention? – you would think that if he enjoyed it that much he would have stayed at his beloved Barcelona. Winning everything all the time is always nice but in a league that is not full of title challengers it is sometimes good if there is work to be done. The Bundesliga needs to be more competitive, it possesses teams that play good football, but just needs closer fights for the league and Bayern need this too.