Jan 16, 2013, 11:27 AM EST
Speculation’s over. This is official. Pep Guardiola — he of two Champions League titles during his time at Barcelona — will take over Bayern Munich this summer, the club confirmed today. The 41-year-old will get a three-year deal, (undoubtedly) a Volkswagon’s worth of cash, and the expectations that he’ll raise the German titans back to their previous Europe-dominating heights.
It’s not like Bayern’s that far from there now. The team’s been to two Champions League finals in the last three years and are running away with this year’s Bundesliga (up nine points on Bayer Leverkusen after 17 rounds). The club lacks for nothing — resources, facilities, talent, prestige — yet still has much to accomplish. It’s the perfect landing spot.
The situation is reminiscent of Barcelona when Guardiola replaced Frank Rijkaard. Only a few years removed from Champions League glory, Barça had become an inefficient and unfocused squad, one some felt was moving away from its core principles. At least, that’s how Guardiola felt upon ascending to the A-team, letting Ronaldinho and Deco leave while building the team around its La Masia products. The results cast the Cruyff protegé as one of the best coaches in the world.
Bayern aren’t inefficient and unfocused. They’re one of the favorites to win this year’s Champions League, but it’s a place they’ve been for the last three years. Perhaps they’re better this season, but that’s not enough to take away the sting of losing last year’s Champions League final at home to Chelsea. Or overshadow dropping the league for a second straight season to Borussia Dortmund. Or see Jurgen Klopp’s side counter them into submission in the German Cup final. Jupp Heynckes has the team playing at a high level, but it’s not where the likes of Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Matthias Sammer, and Uli Hoeness see this team.
In Munchen, Guardiola will have as much talent as anybody: Mario Gomez, Mario Mandzukic, Thomas Müller, Franck Ribery, Arjen Robben, Toni Kroos, Xherdan Shaqiri, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Javi Martínez, Luiz Gustavo, Philipp Lahm, Dante, Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boeteng, David Alaba and Manuel Neuer. I type all that out so you can see the ridiculous amount of talent Bayern’s been able to accumulate – a few homegrown prospects augmenting their perpetual farming of the Bundesliga. He won’t have Messi, but the moment he touches down in Germany, Guardiola will have more depth than he ever had at the Nou Camp.
That’s one of the reasons why this is a ridiculously good fit. Because their league doesn’t have the international profile of Spain’s or England’s, many forget how huge Bayern is. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Bayern – those are the biggest clubs in the world. That FCB (Guardiola’s new FCB) has that profile yet hasn’t won Germany in two years (Europe in 12) means Guardiola can be messianic once more.
They have the talent to play his way, the resources to back him, and the profile to lure the whale. And they need him.
They play in an amazing arena with huge support in one of the best leagues in the world.
It’s a ridiculously good fit.
It looks like this will be our story of the day. Stick around as we continue talking about the big move from Guardiola and Bayern Munchen.
Dec 24, 2014, 7:43 PM EST
Toronto reportedly wants to either keep Defoe or sell permanently, and while Redknapp is interested, that would be a problem.
Dec 24, 2014, 6:30 PM EST
With Saido Mane headed to the AFCON and Jay Rodriguez struggling with his knee injury, Ronald Koeman has added another outside threat.
Dec 24, 2014, 5:07 PM EST
Only England plays matches on Boxing Day, and that means something to the Arsenal manager.
Dec 24, 2014, 3:49 PM EST
With a new style of high-pressing play not suited to Balotelli’s style, Brendan Rodgers is admitting his summer signing no longer fits.
Dec 24, 2014, 2:35 PM EST
Here’s how PST’s lead writer and editor sees things panning out on Boxing Day.
Dec 24, 2014, 12:10 PM EST
Arsenal’s likeable winger just hasn’t seen the field, and could be headed to Serie A as a result.
Dec 24, 2014, 10:46 AM EST
The new Manchester United boss is sweating the heavy injury list, both those that need treatment and those in the recovery room.
Dec 24, 2014, 9:23 AM EST
They don’t play for over a month, and therefore Manuel Pellegrini isn’t thinking about Chelsea despite being three points off the Blues for the top spot in the Premier League table.
Dec 23, 2014, 11:13 PM EST
And yes, we’re opening that unfortunate Pandora’s box of discussion again this fine Tuesday in December.
Dec 23, 2014, 10:42 PM EST
Torres is staying in Major League Soccer after a loan stint in Liga MX, and both MLS and Houston are looking solid after the deal.
Dec 23, 2014, 10:03 PM EST
Three cheers for James Milner, who sank his teeth into the idea that his holiday would be simply mundane in this hilarious video.
Dec 23, 2014, 9:10 PM EST
The article also provides us with anecdotes like the following tale of Colts quarterback Luck, one of the many stories that make us wonder, as always, “What if?”
Dec 23, 2014, 8:20 PM EST
The L.A. Galaxy striker doesn’t sound absolutely certain of his MLS future despite appearing at a press conference for an Ireland friendly.
Dec 23, 2014, 7:30 PM EST
Four matches in 10 days is not a situation unique to Arsenal, but it’s still something the club boss is concerning himself with this holiday season.
Dec 23, 2014, 6:40 PM EST
The serial kit-leakers at Footyheadlines.com have brought us an image that may or may not be the United States international away jersey for 2015.
Dec 23, 2014, 5:57 PM EST
In honor of LVG this Christmas, let’s all dedicate ourselves to becoming total human beings.
Dec 23, 2014, 5:00 PM EST
Zelalem has only represented Germany at youth levels and would be valuable to their system despite not appearing for the nation this year.
Dec 23, 2014, 4:37 PM EST
We’re down to nine days before the opening of the January transfer window.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic named No. 2 Swedish athlete of all-time; believes he should be Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Dec 23, 2014, 3:46 PM EST
Zlatan was asked for this thoughts, and his thoughts were, by nature, extremely Zlatan.
Dec 23, 2014, 3:28 PM EST
From LVG’s blazer to grim reaper and sideshow Bob… Let’s take a look back at some wacky moments in the PL.
- Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks: Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United 1
- Report: Lukas Podolski agrees to terms with struggling Inter 2
- Houston Dynamo massive winners in the Erick “Cubo” Torres sweepstakes 1
- Gedion Zelalem, an American flag emoticon, and the Twitter account that wasn’t 4
- Tuesday’s transfer rumor roundup: Strootman, Rodriguez and that crazy Bale/Man Utd talk 0
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic named No. 2 Swedish athlete of all-time; believes he should be Nos. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. 2