Pep Guardiola will leave Bayern Munich when his contract expires at the end of the 2015-16 season and be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.
The former Barcelona boss still has six months left to run on his deal, but a period of intense speculation over his next move is now in store, with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United linked with making a move.
Following his decision to leave Germany, here are some of Guardiola’s best and worst moments of his Bayern career to date ahead of an end to the season that is set to define the success of his reign…
LOW – Loses first game in charge to Dortmund
Guardiola’s debut match saw two goals from Marco Reus give Dortmund a 4-2 win over Bayern in the DFL-Super Cup. He also went on to lose to Dortmund in the Super Cup the following season.
HIGH – Beats Jose Mourinho in UEFA Super Cup to win first trophy
In a match heavily publicised as the former managerial rivals at Barcelona and Real Madrid did battle, Bayern beat Chelsea in a thrilling contest on penalties after Javi Martinez had made it 2-2 in the final moments of extra-time.
HIGH – Wins 2013 Club World Cup
Having won the competition twice with Barca, Guardiola led Bayern to a convincing success in the tournament. After beating Guanghzou Evergrande 3-0 in the semi-finals, goals from Dante and Thiago Alcantara sealed a 2-0 win over Raja Casablanca in the final as the Germans were crowned world champions.
HIGH – Wins Bundesliga in record time
Bayern were utterly dominant in Guardiola’s first season, winning the league with seven matches to spare – which had never been done before. The final winning margin to second-place Dortmund was an astonishing 19 points, with the champions only losing twice in 34 matches.
LOW – Thumped by Real Madrid in Europe
In the Champions League semi-final, Bayern lost 1-0 away at Ancelotti’s Real Madrid in the first leg. They then suffered a humiliating 4-0 loss at the Allianz Arena, with Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice, sealing a 5-0 aggregate defeat and one of Guardiola’s worst moments as a coach.
HIGH – Wins DFB-Pokal to seal domestic double in first season
Bayern beat Dortmund 2-0 in the DFB-Pokal final thanks to extra-time goals from Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller, giving Guardiola a league and Cup double in his first season in charge.
HIGH – Stunning seven-goal show in Rome
In one of the statement results of the European season, Bayern romped to a stunning 7-1 Champions League victory away to Roma en route to topping their group.
HIGH – Fourteen goals in two games en route to another league title
Bayern were again imperious in the Bundesliga during Guardiola’s second campaign, highlighted by a stunning week which saw them smash Hamburg 8-0 before beating Paderborn 6-0 in the space of seven days. The title-winning margin was eventually 10 points over Wolfsburg as Guardiola celebrated back-to-back-titles.
HIGH – Smashing six past Porto to reach another semi-final
Bayern Munich’s Champions League place had been in jeopardy after a 3-1 loss away to Porto in the first leg of their quarter-final tie. Any doubts were emphatically put to bed in the second leg, though, with the hosts winning 6-1 to reach a fourth consecutive semi-final. They had also hit seven past Shakhtar in previous round in a free-scoring continental campaign.
LOW – Knocked out of DFB-Pokal
The holders crashed out of the 2014-15 DFB-Pokal as Dortmund gained revenge for their loss in the previous year’s final. Having edged through against Bayer Leverkusen on penalties in the quarter-final, they were not so fortunate in suffering defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s 10-man opponents on spot-kicks after a 1-1 draw in 120 minutes.
LOW – Another Champions League exit
Former club Barcelona scored three times in the final 13 minutes to win the first leg of the semi-final tie 3-0 at Camp Nou. That left Bayern with too much ground to make up, with a 3-2 win in the second leg seeing them lose 5-3 on aggregate and fail to reach the final again.
LOW – Another Super Cup defeat
Guardiola suffered a third straight loss in the DFB Super Cup to kick off his third and final season in charge, this time losing to Wolfsburg on penalties after Nicklas Bendtner had scored a late equaliser in normal time.
HIGH – Lewandowski magic against Wolfsburg and a thumping win over Dortmund
Wolfsburg and Dortmund had finished second to Bayern in Guardiola’s first two seasons in charge, but Bayern romped to stunning 5-1 victories over both sides. The Wolfsburg match was particularly memorable, with Robert Lewandowski scoring five times in the space of nine minutes after coming on as a half-time substitute as Guardiola’s men roared back from behind.
The results have Bayern well on course for another league crown – they are eight points clear at the top of the table having won 15 of their first 17 games in 2015-16.
HIGH – Smashing Arsenal to top Champions League group
Having lost at the Emirates Stadium, Bayern gained sweet revenge over Arsenal by winning 5-1 at the Allianz Arena as they comfortably topped Group F, setting up a mouth-watering round-of-16 clash against last year’s finalists Juventus as Guardiola looks to end his tenure with a European title.
VERDICT – You cannot say that any coach who has won the league for three consecutive seasons – which Guardiola is well on course to achieve – has completely failed, but the pressure is certainly on for the Catalan coach to mark his final campaign in charge with a Champions League triumph. A glorious treble and another European title won outside of Camp Nou would be a fairy-tale finale to his reign and ensure his stock has never been higher.
Not picking up a Champions League crown after taking over a side who won the tournament under predecessor Jupp Heynckes would certainly not have been what he or Bayern expected to happen when he took the job. Whatever happens, though, Guardiola will not be short of suitors after his time in Germany.