When Pep Guardiola was announced as the new coach of Bayern Munich midway through the 2012/13 season, many thought this was a great appointment and that he would only take Bayern forward as a club. However, few people at this stage of the season could predict that Bayern Munich would go on to dominate both on the European and Domestic stages and win the unprecedented treble in the process, all under Jupp Heynckes.
The success that Heynckes brought to Bayern, being the first German team to win the Bundesliga, the European Cup and the German Cup has now left people wondering; can Guardiola really improve Bayern from last season?
The statistics from last season are astonishing, Bayern broke numerous records on the way to the treble. This included a record 91 points gained, the fewest goals conceded with 18. Based on the statistics and the record Bayern now hold, it will be exceptionally difficult for Pep Guardiola to replicate or even better the previous season.
Under Heynckes, the players learnt a harsh lesson from the Champions League defeat to Chelsea on home soil. From there, Heynckes developed a new system which the Bayern players became accustomed to involving a high pressing, high defensive line but also getting both Robben and Ribery to defend which they previously didn’t. Under this new system the players flourished and developed a level of trust and respect for Heynckes. More importantly they demolished Guardiola’s beloved Barcelona 7-0 over 2 legs. This raises the question. Should Bayern change to Barcelona’s “tika-taka” passing style of play, when they brushed aside Barcelona who played the exact same type of football? Granted that result may not happen again, but teams have in recent years been able to figure out how to defend and counter against this style of play. The prime example being Mourinho’s, Real Madrid.
On the other hand, under Pep Guardiola, Bayern do have a coach of the highest pedigree. He himself was a record breaker at Barcelona achieving 14 titles in 4 years, including 2 UEFA Champions League’s which played a massive part to Bayern wanting him as their manager. He also helped nurture young talent such as Busquets, Pedro and even Messi to an extent. This talent of being able to nurture young talent, combined with Bayern’s exceptional squad should work well; this is because at Bayern he will have the chance to help develop young players such as Shaqiri, Götze, and Barcelona old boy Thiago.
At Bayern he also has a very talented squad to work with, Bayern has tremendous depth and also a winning mentality which is vital. With the acquisitions of Götze, Thiago and Lewandowski next year already guaranteed this current crop of players is only going from strength to strength. Although the Bundesliga is vastly different to La Liga, Guardiola is an exceptional manager who should adapt to the league relatively quickly. He also has the luxury of managing one of the “Bigger Teams” in the Bundesliga, as he was able to do in La Liga with Barcelona.
Only time will tell if Guardiola will be able to better what Heynckes did, but one thing for certain is that we are in for a very interesting season of football.