It is a truly effulgent story: Pep Guardiola will take over the prestigious reigns of Germany’s finest football club Bayern Munich in the summer. The news filtered through on Wednesday and as anticipated sent waves of intrigue and excitement across the football spectrum. Having been inevitably linked with a catalogue of high profile clubs, particularly in Europe, it came as a slight surprise that Germany was Pep’s destination.
The raucousness and intensity of the Bundesliga is somewhat incongruous to that of the Spanish game – where Pep spent most of his playing and managing days. He left Barcelona last season, after securing 14 illustrious titles, and took a year off to allegedly improve his tactical nous and help his development as a coach. At Barca, he had fabulous support from both fans and players and indeed this was instrumental to his success. Spain offers a different style and ideology, though, and it will be interesting to see how Guardiola adapts.
But perhaps this move will have impacts further than just Bayern – who will undoubtedly benefit from a fresh philosophy – and will also have huge effects on the Bundesliga raising the acknowledgement and status of the league. Pep’s move will unequivocally lure a lot more fans into German football; they will follow his progress and subsequently follow the division’s progress. It’s surely a win-win situation.
He replaces 67-year-old Jupp Heynckes, who reportedly told the club’s hierarchy he intended to leave at the end of the current campaign when his contract expires. Heynckes will end his third stint as Bayern boss having re-joined for the third time in the summer of 2011. And he has done a extremely adequate job: leading Bayern to the Champions League final last season – where the team suffered defeat to Chelsea on penalties – and the side currently operate first spot in the league table, nine points clear at the top.
Guardiola enters a stable, prosperous environment where top quality players and a truly magnificent set of supporters are at his disposal. Everyone is firmly aware of the global recognition of Bayern Munich and the notion of its winning routes – and Pep will have to sustain the success. There is no doubt he will do so, though, after all he isn’t labelled ‘one of the most successful coaches in the football world’ for nothing.
I touched on the standard of the squad; Bayern really do have a scintillating setup. In-between the sticks stands arguably one of the world’s most glorious of goalkeepers in Manuel Neuer, skipper and iconic defensive figure Phillip Lahm still stands strong, whilst the offensive department of the team oozes with class. If Pep can blend his attacking managerial instinct with the savvy footwork of Arjen Robben, sumptuously dexterous skills of Franck Ribery and robust frame of leading frontman Mario Gomez – then expect absolute chaos.
Sure, the Spaniard will undeniably need doses of auspiciousness in his time at the club; the fans must be patient and realise the transition will take time. A magic wand can’t just be waved and all the mechanisms of the club fortuitously change. A realistic viewpoint is needed.
But whatever does happen, it will be fascinating to observe just how Pep – the first Spanish manager to take charge of Bayern since 1965- functions under unfamiliar surroundings and if the same sort of success can be earned like at Barca.
And there is absolutely no doubt he will be made welcome by everyone involved with Bayern Munich, as both he and the club begin a new era. Rather fittingly, the last word should go to Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge who sums up Guardiola’s importance perfectly.
We are very pleased that we have managed to convince the football expert Pep Guardiola, who was coveted and contacted by many top clubs, to come to Bayern Munich.
He is one of the most successful coaches in the world and we are sure that he can make not just Bayern, but all of German football shine.
For more thoughts on Guardiola’s appointment at Bayern, check out this week’s podcast.