Bayern Munich Wins It All, But Why Does It Still Feel Like Failure?
Yesterday as I watched live, Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola beat Borussia Dortmund to win the German Cup in Berlin, its 7th Title in the coach’s 3 year’s reign (totaling 21 titles in an 8 years coaching career) I could not help but marvel at the negative phenomenon that plagues our sport of football at times.
How on earth does a coach who after winning repeatedly all that is winnable in Germany in the last three years, be sent off as an unwanted child, a brilliant but unloved CEO and to some extreme individuals, be called a Failure?
That is the plight that is being faced by Pep Guardiola in Germany amongst the Munich fans, as he leaves Legendary Bayern Munich for Manchester City.
In his 3 year reign at Bayern Munich, He won 3 league titles (1 every season) 2 German FA cups,1 UEFA Super Cup and 1 World FIFA Club cup, and also reached the semifinals of the Prestigious and lucrative Champions league on every occasion,
On the 16th of January 2013 Josep Guardiola was announced by Bayern Munich as its next Coach. This was to replace the then 68 year old retiring Jupp Heynckes. He had earlier coached Barcelona.
Coming Off a self-imposed 1 year sabbatical after Barcelona,Where in a 4 years reign he won 14 titles! He was therefore the most sought after coach after the Barcelona spell in the world.
On his announcement as Coach, many were initially euphoric only to become a bit shaken as the coach he was about to replace, Jupp Heynckes, went on to do the unthinkable in his last six months in charge : win everything including the Elusive Champions league. Bayern Munich saw the indigenous Heynckes off with a Treble (National league, FA cup and the UEFA Champions league)
It is spring 2016, Guardiola is leaving Munich. Manchester City have named Guardiola as their next coach from the 2016-2017 season, to replace Manuel Pellegrini .Many in the German society have tagged him a failure and his reign has been accompanied by criticisms, disagreements and sometimes feuds with some club officials, notably Legendary Franz Beckenbauer. How can this possible did I hear you say?
Bayern Munich is the absolute top team in Germany, coming second is not an option and coaches have been known to be fired here even after winning the double (League and Cup) e.g. Felix Maggath. This is because in the Bayern culture it is not just enough to win but it has to be done in a defining manner!
This was one major reason why the recruitment of Guardiola in 2013 was in line to the clubs working philosophy. This Is a coach who had repeatedly won everything in club football with Barcelona playing in a spectacular manner, has personality enough to walk away from Barcelona to go on a sabbatical,speaks English,Spanish and German to the delight of the Germans so it was supposed to be a match made in heaven.
With Guardiola, Munich not only won games, but in contrast to the Heynckes era they dominated the opponents from beginning to end of every game, even when they lost!
They won the German Bundesliga on each occasion weeks and once months before it ended and averaged 65% ball possession against all opponents and the fierce opposition from title rivals Bvb Dortmund under Jurgen Kloppe or later Thomas Turchel was finally tamed!
Bayern tactically were simply extraordinary, switching formations from 4-3-3 to 3-5-2 and sometimes 2-4-4 and the opponents still struggled against them.
Each year they got to the Semifinals of the Champions league losing to Eventual winners, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Now Athletico Madrid but playing some breath taking football.
With all these most clubs in the world would build a statue for the departing coach but not Bayern Munich!
Guardiola is considered to not have been a full success because he never won the UEFA champions league title!
Some fans feel though he loved the team and did his job in an exceptional manner he was not really in love with the fans or the club itself.
Many criticized his possession obsessed football because they felt it became stale, boring and was one dimensional to the point where then club president, Franz Beckenbauer, publicly criticized lack of shooting at goal as against wanting to pass the ball into the net to score.
Personally I feel you never know how great or bad your wife is until she leaves you!
In as much as there is some credibility in the criticisms meted out to Guardiola, modesty and contention in life is a virtue that keeps the very best at the top. Once you lose it, you start to fall!
Calling a coach a failure for not winning the champions league in 3 years whilst raking in every year as much as over 50 million Euros prize money, from champions league semifinals berths is rather hash and unfair.
A coach who went all the way to learn and speak German fluently in 4 months to adapt to the German lifestyle particularly the Munich fans cannot be fully termed as not loving the club?
Carlo Ancellotti, ex Real Madrid, Chelsea, AC Milan and Juventus coach has been employed to replace the departing Guardiola as coach of Munich.
Though Guardiola’s legacy will be summarized in Munich as not a complete success by some, only time will tell though if he will be missed like a departed good housewife!