How can you improve on perfection? After an unprecedented treble under Jupp Heynckes, former Barcelona master tactician Pep Guardiola was tasked with taking an all-conquering Bayern Munich team to the next level.
How could supercoach Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola improve the already amazing Bayern football machine?
Premier Sports Memorabilia finds out how Pep did the impossible:
1. Won the Super Cup
After qualifying for Europe’s glamorous version of the community shield, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich won the UEFA Super Cup on penalties after ending normal time with a 2-2 stalemate against Chelsea. Considering that this was Munich’s first triumph in the competition, it clearly stands out as Guardiola’s immediate impact on the side.
2. Team Squad
Since taking over last summer, Pep inherited a star-studded squad that needed no real replacements. Nonetheless, consistent with his philosophy, the Spaniard brought in Thiago Alcantara and Mario Gotze as long-term recruits and capable stand-ins for the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger, allowing for more squad flexibility and depth.
3. Passing Perfection
Barcelona were famed for their ‘tiki-taka’ passing style under Guardiola and the tactician implemented that ‘passing carousel’ with uncommon ease at the Allianz Arena resulting in some sensational games over the past few months.
4. Breaking Hamburg’s 30-year-old record
Breaking records are no mean feat for a manager of Pep’s caliber. But it’s always special to shatter long-standing statistics and that exactly what Munich after they went 36 games unbeaten in the Bundesliga; shattering Hamburg’s 30-year-old record in the process.
5. Smashing Arsenal’s record of scoring in 55 consecutive matches
Arsenal held a 13-year-old record of scoring in over 55 consecutive league matches, but the 2013 UEFA Champions League winners broke that too after demolishing Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0 on Sunday.
6. Using Lahm as a defensive midfielder
Managers burdened with enormous pressure to perform will rarely make risky decisions that could land them in hot water. However, Pep made a game-changing decision to play Philip Lahm as a defensive midfielder this term and the plan has worked perfectly with the full-back oozing quality in the middle of the park.
7. Fluid and adaptable formation
Under Jupp Heynckes, Bayern resorted to their traditional 4-2-3-1 formation with a compact midfield ensuring moves through the center. But Guardiola has opted for a more brave approach with 4-1-4-1, resulting in much more fluid attacks and wing play from the flanks.
8. Look like favorites to retain the UEFA Champions League
After topping their UEFA Champions League and beating the likes of Manchester City along the way, the Bavarians face a resilient Arsenal side in the round of 16 but are expected to continue their winning ways and have a real shot at retaining their crown.
Munich’s consistency and ability to maintain their superior performances week-in, week-out has been Guardiola’s hallmark feature this season. And if the German giants can continue that till the end of the season there is simply no stopping their glorious era that has seen them grab trophy after trophy.
10. Seamless transition
This is perhaps the most important point when it comes to Guardiola’s tenure with the reigning Bundesliga champions. As seen with Manchester United, a winning squad does not always work well with a new manager, but Pep Guardiola’s immaculate attention to detail, quality signings in the summer and a penchant for playing beautiful football has made Bayern Munich tick. And subsequently, the Reds are favorites for every competition they are competing in and have earned numerous plaudits for their conquests this season.
What is next for Pep Guardiola and Bayern?
So do you think Pep has done a good job moulding his Bayern team into a tika taka passing machine? Can he win another treble and improve the team again next season with Robert Lewandowski already signed? Sound off below in the comments section for your chance to win a $50 Premier Sports Memorabilia gift voucher.