Will Pep Guardiola succeed in FC Bayern München?
Pep Guardiola will take over FC Bayern at the beginning of the 2013-14 season.
German football is rather traditional. Swiss, Dutch and German coaches tend to hold most of the top jobs in the Bundesliga. However, this time, FC Bayern has decided to hire a Spaniard as coach after signing one of the most talented defensive minded Spanish players in the previous summer in Javier Martinez.
Pep Guardiola is truly a special coach. He won numerous trophies in his spell at Barcelona. However, FC Bayern is an incredibly special club. They are run much differently than most clubs in the world. Most importantly, they are run by a group of their former world class players.
Bayern will have to adapt to Guardiola. Guardiola will have to adapt to Bayern.
The general opinion is that Bayern is the best club for the Spaniard as it is the most similar to Barcelona. Louis Van Gaal, in his time at the club, modeled Bayern’s playing style after that of the Catalan giants. However, there are subtle differences between the two.
Bayern is much more physical than the Catalans. Bayern has a presence about them which the Catalans do not. Bayern presses incessantly; Barcelona does the same but the way in which they do so is slightly different. However, these are the differences only in the playing styles of the two.
One has to know how to keep President Uli Hoeness, Chairman Karl Heinz Rummenigge and Honorary President Franz Beckenbauer happy if they are at Bayern. Hoeness is the most difficult of the trio. Add in a fourth difficult personality in sporting director Matthias Sammer and the job becomes much more difficult.
Also, the role of the coach is different than the role of the manager. A manager’s best definition would perhaps be a coach and a sporting director combined into one role. However, the coach only manages the team. He does not necessarily partake in all the important decision. Heynckes knew how to play his cards as he is a friend of Hoeness’. He knows how to play this role well. Guardiola must learn to do the same.
Guardiola in his time at Barcelona seemed like a coach who liked to make his own decisions. Players who he did not reportedly like were not part of the club for too long. However, in Bayern, he will not be able to get rid of a player if he does not want him. Arjen Robben could turn out to be one of his biggest problems at the club for example.
Robben’s attitude issues have been well managed by Heynckes. Heynckes brought out the best in Franck Ribery. He ensured that Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller reached their best forms this season. He improved an incredibly leaky Bayern defence and turned it into the Bundesliga’s best in 2011.
Guardiola will not be able to spend freely to bring in the players he wants as he was allowed to do in Barcelona at times. It is Bayern’s needs he will have to comply with at the end of the day. He has to be able to convince Hoeness of a certain player’s abilities before bringing him in.
Guardiola must learn how to do deal with the German media as well. Incidents such as the recent one with Cristiano Ronaldo where he didn’t shake the Portuguese’s hand will not be taken lightly. He will have to answer to the media. Each of his moves will be scrutinized.
Overall, considering that Guardiola has Barca flowing through his veins, this decision is almost a strange one for Bayern. Amongst Bayern’s current options would be Lucien Favre, Mirko Slomka, Thomas Tuchel and of course Thorsten Fink. Bayern needed somebody with more pedigree and hence, this could possibly be a great move.
However, if infighting occurs, all hell will break loose in Munich. Pep knows surely that he is walking into an extremely difficult job, one that many established managers did not survive. This is what Borussia Dortmund’s Hans Joachim Watzke had to say:
“Huge compliments to Bayern for this coup. You cannot begrudge them this. The league is doing really well. The whole world sees that, as we are able to get such a good coach in Germany.”
However, Watzke did add a bit of a warning at the end of his statement:
“The pressure on Bayern to succeed will not be any less.”
Guardiola must succeed; he will not be presented with a settling-in year as such. He brought success to Barca in his first season in charge and will have to do the same in Munich. Pep will surely be glad that his main rival’s coach will be a nice man with a small beard rather than Jose Mourinho in Jürgen Klopp. He will also be glad to know that Bayern did beat Mourinho’s side last season in the Champions League and that they are Real Madrid’s “La Bestia Negra.”
Finally, two possible outcomes could come out of this. Firstly, he could end up like Jürgen Klinsmann and be dumped out unceremoniously by April 2014. Secondly, he could become one of the most successful coaches in the club’s history like a certain Otmar Hitzfeld. Pep will have to win over the fans too; the majority of the fans liked Heynckes. This is will become more difficult if Heynckes retires with the treble to his name this season.
Guardiola has seemingly kicked off his time at Bayern perfectly already; he has earned Hoeness’ admiration! This is what Hoeness said:
“Only a coach of Pep Guardiola's calibre would be brought into consideration to replace Jupp Heynckes.”
Guardiola has decided to take the big job. Now, he must find a way to keep everybody happy and win titles at a club where nothing but success on and off the pitch matters.
Welcome Pep Guardiola to FC Bayern München!