Guardiola must be having nightmares
The best moment to join a football club as a coach or as a player is just after a disastrous season. This is because it could only get better and you can be associated with success.
The worst moment, no matter whom you are as a coach or player, is definitely after a record breaking season.
Josep Guardiola is set to replace Jupp Heynckes at the helm of Bayern Munich in the summer and he must be asking himself, what will there be left for him to improve on?
In 2010, Jose Mourinho won the treble in Italy with Inter Milan (the European Champions League, Italian Cup and the Super Cup). He was succeeded by another big name coach in Raphael Benitez, Champions League winner with Liverpool (now manager of Chelsea). He barely lasted six months before he was shown the exit. Everything that could go wrong went wrong at Inter Milan. Hard to succeed success.
Bayern Munich practically demolished Guardiola's ex-team Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg champions league semifinals encounter and boy how impressive they looked.
Every corner you look now in Europe, critics are asking: Does Bayern Munich still need Guardiola as they look set to win the elusive Champions League? One of the major reasons they signed him on was to bring the Holy Grail (the Champions League) back to Munich?
Here is where Bayern stand at the moment :
- Fastest crowned champions of any league in Europe this year and a record in Germany's history when they won the league title on 6 April 2013 with six games left to play.
- 30 league games played, 26 victories, one loss, two draws.
- 2013 finalists in the German cup.
- Semifinalists in the Champions League, one foot in the finals and clear favourites to win it.
- The most dominant and attractive team of the 2012/2013 Champions League season.
- People in Germany are already calling them the best Bayern team ever.
It goes on and on and they could end up winning the treble next May. Does Bayern Munich still need Guardiola?
This is by far the strongest group of players ever assembled in Bayern Munich's history.
It is the usual scenario in recent years for Bayern to win the double in Germany. Former trainer Felix Magath was sacked after winning the double in 2007 and losing out in the Champions League. Tells you how important European domination is to Bayern.
Should Bayern Munich go ahead and win the Champions League, many feel only a repeat of that feat of a treble can soothe the fans and not put Guardiola's stay in jeopardy. Do you?
Of course, if they achieve all the above, life could be difficult for Guardiola because from day one he will be compared with his predecessor. That will be coupled with the fact that some critics, led by Jose Mourinho, have often taunted him as not being a good enough coach outside the Barcelona outfit and this definitely increases the pressure on him.
In football there is always something to better and a different way of winning in style.
When Luis Aragones took Spain to its first major title, the European championships in 2008, most thought his successor, Vicente del Bosque was doomed when he took over. Not only did he go better and win the elusive and most prestigious World Cup trophy in South Africa 2010 but also became the first coach to guide any team to the World Cup and European championships title when Spain won the Euros in 2012.
Some in Europe and the world in general today have forgotten who Aragones is! That is the unfortunate thing about football. You are easily forgotten. The past is good but the present and the future is even more important.
Guardiola has to set his own goals. For example, no team has been able to win the Champions League back-to-back and doing that should be a beautiful objective.
That said, I feel it shows some lack of class and respect, for this legendary great soccer personality, Guardiola, to be questioned. This is the person who won 14 titles in four years as coach of arguably the best ever team in modern football, Barcelona.
He is meticulous, hard-working and modern and I wonder if Munich should no longer employ any other coach, short of Heynckes, just because he is having the season of his life as a manager?
Rarely is the flashiest team the winner of the Champions League but more often it is the team that defends better. Bayern Munich are not Champions League winners yet. Last year they lost the league and three finals and they were almost eliminated by relatively 'modest' Arsenal in the round of 16 just weeks ago, thanks to complacency.
However, we must admit that this Munich outfit of this season is impressive to say the least. They have played as the best Bayern team I have seen in years. Unlike past German teams, they are not only physical but artistic, creative and pleasant on the eyes.
No matter what happens, all eyes will and should be on Guardiola come next season. He deserves this.
Munich needs Guardiola. The ultimate goal of Bayern Munich is not just to win the Champions League this year but to dominate European and World football the way Barcelona have done in the last five years.
The goal is to make the Bayern Munich brand a global brand. Financially, such a domination is huge and the Germans are aiming to grab a hold of it. Who else can Bayern turn to, other than the meticulous, relatively young but experienced coach: Pep Guardiola.