Following the news that FC Bayern has reached a deal with former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, club chairman Karl-Heinz Rumenigge released an official statement that welcomed Guardiola and paid homage to outgoing manager Jupp Heynckes.
The club's official site says as follows (roughly translated):
"We are pleased to have brought Pep Guardiola to Bayern, as he was sought by many teams. Guardiola is one of the most successful coaches in the world."
And team president Uli Hoeneß says of the deal:
"Following the decision of Jupp Heynckes [to retire at the end of this season], for whose work we are extremely thankful, we want the team to give this great coach a proper farewell. Pep Guardiola was the only one of the caliber to be an adequate replacement."
As we discussed earlier this week, Jupp Heynckes and the club's brass agreed that he would think about his future and let the boys know. As many people expected, Heynckes determined that he should step aside after this season. This move was always thought to be the most likely (JH having had an amazing career), but the decision was probably helped along by several factors:
(1) the fact that Pep hinted he was willing to come out of his brief retirement and manage again;
(2) the fact that several other clubs, including some of the Premier League's brightest lights, were interested in him, making time something of an issue; and
(3) the stellar play of the club this season, which leads to an excellent likelihood that Heynckes can "go out on top" with a big season and multiple trophies.
And Uli is right - with everything Jupp has done, it's only proper that the club send him off with a big farewell. We looked at the run-in to the season's end a few days ago. Give then talent and depth on our roster, our current position in 3 major competitions, and the added motivation of sending off a respected coach with championships, we have no excuses now. And when Pep comes in, we want him to realize that expectations here are going to be just as high as they were at Barca. If we can finish this season with a Champions League title at Wembley, we'll give notice to everyone that Pep's arrival is designed only to continue our winning ways, not to "fix" anything.
Needless to say, we'll be back with more as the story develops. Several rumors have indicated that Pep may want to lure Barca players across the continent ... of course, depending on who these players are, it remains the be seen where we could even fit them in. No work on an introductory press conference yet, but we'll have information on that as soon as it becomes available. And, of course, we'll be back to preview this weekend's match with SpVgg Greuther Fuerth tomorrow. Thanks for reading.