Friday, September 22, 2017

Detailing Pep Guardiola’s struggles with Bayern Munich in the latter stages of the Champions League

Crippy Cooke in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 27 Apr 2016

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Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has struggled in the latter stages of the Champions League with the German giants

Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola has struggled in the latter stages of the Champions League with the German giants

Bayern Munich suffered a narrow defeat against Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final clash on Wednesday night at the Vicente Calderon, and their chances of making the final in manager Pep Guardiola’s last season are in jeopardy. For the third year at Bayern, the head coach is struggling to get the best from his side, and it’s perhaps not a coincidence.

Bayern fared better in Europe prior to Guardiola’s arrival

Guardiola took over the German club in controversial circumstances. Predecessor Jupp Heynckes departed in 2013 after having sealed the treble, but there was a feeling that he was forced out of the door to welcome Guardiola to the fold. The Spanish coach was inheriting a side who were European and league champions so he was expected to win a host of major honours in his spell at the Allianz-Arena, but Guardiola’s fallen short in Europe.

Bayern Munich made the final of the Champions League in three of their last four seasons prior to Guardiola’s appointment, but they haven’t made it past the semis since. The ex-Barcelona boss has breezed through the group stages every season, but when the quality in opposition has been elevated in the latter stages Bayern have struggled to maintain their consistency.

Bayern’s results in the latter stages of the Champions League (under Pep Guardiola)

2013/14
(19/2/14) Last-16: Arsenal 0-2 Bayern Munich
(11/3/14) Last-16: Bayern Munich 1-1 Arsenal
(1/4/14) QF: Manchester United 1-1 Bayern Munich
(9/4/14) QF: Bayern Munich 3-1 Manchester United
(23/4/14) SF: Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich
(29/4/14) SF: Bayern Munich 0-4 Real Madrid

2014/15
(17/2/15) Last-16: Shakhtar Donetsk 0-0 Bayern Munich
(11/3/15) Last-16: Bayern Munich 7-0 Shakhtar Donetsk
(15/4/15) QF: FC Porto 3-1 Bayern Munich
(21/4/15) QF: Bayern Munich 6-1 FC Porto
(6/5/15) SF: Barcelona 3-0 Bayern Munich
(12/5/15) SF: Bayern Munich 3-2 Barcelona

Present
(23/2/16) Last-16 Juventus 2-2 Bayern Munich
(16/3/16) Last-16: Bayern Munich 4-2 Juventus
(5/4/16) QF: Bayern Munich 1-0 Benfica
(13/4/16) QF: Benfica 2-2 Bayern Munich
(27/4/16) SF: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich
(3/5/16) SF: Bayern Munich TBD Atletico Madrid

Guardiola continues to be outfoxed by opposing managers in Europe

Seven wins from 17 games in the latter stages is a woeful return for a side of Bayern’s standing, and the reasons behind their failure is simple too – Guardiola doesn’t play to the weakness of the opposition but the strength of his side. As a result, when Bayern come up against a side on their level, they struggle to come out on top. This season, their squad is notably deficient compared to the side that won the competition in 2013.

In 2014, Bayern were languid and had an ageing side incapable of matching Real Madrid’s energy levels and pacey threat on the break, ultimately being eliminated in the semis. In 2015, an in-form Barcelona side boasting the best attack on the planet tore Bayern to pieces at the Nou Camp in the semis. And this year, Atletico Madrid scored an individual goal and were defensively resolute to frustrate the Germans, again in the semis.

With home advantage in the second leg, Bayern Munich are 11/4 to win the Champions League, but will they fall short?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Crippy Cooke


Crippy Cooke has somehow written for the Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London24 and Bleacher Report among others, despite knowing less about football than your average Fan TV member . The weekly accumulator enthusiast is saving up his winnings to pay for a much-needed hair transplant but grows more on his chin than his head. He lives and breathes football and somehow makes a living writing from it.

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