First of all I have to express my admiration for Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola and his achievements at Barcelona. He helped create one of the best club teams in the history of the game.
However at Bayern Munich he has under-achieved, in Europe anyway, as on Tuesday night the Bavarians exited the Champions League at the semi-final stage losing on the away goal rule against Atletico Madrid, who are now evens to be crowned European champions.
It was Guardiola’s third attempt at winning Europe’s elite competition with the German champions and all have ended at the last four stage.
Out-done by the excellent Diego Simeone
Guardiola is regarded as one of the great modern day bosses and one of the best in the world, but Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone is one of the most promising bosses football has seen for a long time.
The Argentinian has inspired Atletico to over-achieve in both La Liga and the Champions League in the last five years. This year will see Los Rojiblancos in their second Champions League final in three years. Simeone is becoming adept at causing upsets.
Atletico’s success over Bayern was not completely unexpected, simply because we are now accustomed to Simeone and his team giving the big boys bloody noses at home and abroad.
Even the great Guardiola did not have an answer to Simeone very special brand of football philosophy. Simeone is likely to come across the Catalan again in the future and you would not bet against the Argentinian coming out on top yet again.
Can Pep repeat Barcelona achievements elsewhere?
Pep Guardiola was an unmitigated success at Barcelona and his work in his hometown club will be studied and lauded for a long time. His team broke records in La Liga and in the Champions League. Guardiola won the Champions League twice while managing the Catalan giants.
When he joined Bayern there was the inevitable question of whether Guardiola could repeat his success elsewhere. In some ways he has, but on a smaller scale. Bayern have dominated the Bundesliga since his arrival in Bavaria and are playing a highly-easy on the eye brand of football.
However, Guardiola took over a Bayern team that had just won the Champions League under Jupp Heynckes. The Spaniard was hired to build on that European triumph, but he was in a no-win situation, as Heynckes team had done a clean sweep of the trophies the previous season.
Guardiola has improved the playing style of Bayern and the Bavarians could clinch their fourth consecutive Bundesliga title this weekend. His failure in securing the big trophy with one of the favourites will have his critics asking questions about Guardiola and his managerial methods.
Manchester City a new challenge
Manchester City nabbing the services of Guardiola this summer was regarded as a major coup for the Citizens. It was in many ways. City are reported to have beaten city-rivals Manchester United to the Catalans signature, which is something of a victory before the Citizens have even played a game under the highly-rated boss.
Guardiola is likely to re-establish the Citizens as a major force in the Premier League and create a very attractive style of play at the Etihad Stadium next season.
However, if Guardiola is to be successful at City he will need to go beyond the semi-finals stages to satisfy City’s highly-ambitious owners, as City have made it to the semi-finals of the Champions League this season and could even will the trophy.
The challenge at City is very different to the one Guardiola faced when he first arrived at Bayern. The former-Barcelona boss walked into a success story in Bavaria, but when he arrives at City he could have a lot more work to do.
City’s squad are aging and the Citizens have not exactly been fantastic in the Premier League and worst case scenario could see City miss out of the Champions League spots this season.
Guardiola is still seen as one of the great bosses of modern football, but maybe it will be good for City if he arrives at the club with doubters to prove wrong and a score to settle.
I have no doubt that City will improve under Guardiola in the Premier League and if the former-Barcelona boss can achieve European success, then he will disprove the theory that he will only ever be truly successful at one club.
Has Pep Guardiola failed at Bayern Munich?