Gauging Guardiola's Expectations

Martin Rose

Following up a treble season is hard for any manager. Doing so as a replacement adds a level of scrutiny. Expectations, whether appropriate or arbitrary, is what measures a managers tenure.

From the minute he stepped up to the podium, Josep "Pep" Guardiola's charisma shone off his cleanly-shaved head.

"Guten Tag, Grüß Gott, meine Damen und Herren," he greeted the sea of journalists that came far and wide to see the Spaniard in his first day on the job. "Please excuse my German. I’ve spent a year learning it in New York – not the optimal place to learn German. I hope to improve my knowledge of German here in the time to come." (fcbayern.de)

Pep looked a little uneasy, possibly overwhelmed by the attendance of his presser. The language barrier was one thing, but the Munich standard is another.

Pep becomes the first successor to a treble-winning manager. Whether he likes it or not, many will measure the 42-year-old on a Heynckes-scale. FC Bayern fans expect their team to win, and every loss is met with ensuing bewilderment and degrees of displeasure. Add to the fact that FC Bayern have already added a €37 million Mario Götze, and Guardiola's gargantuan task will test will test his guile.

By the same token, is it fair to expect a first-season manager to win every competition put in front of him? The "triple" has only occurred once in German Fußball for a reason; it is extremely difficult. Even if a manager has done it once before, like Guardiola, the treble has only happened in back to back years once in Europe, and no European club has ever completed it twice.

What is reasonable to expect is a continuation of German dominance, and for Pep Guardiola to show the world that FC Bayern is the best club in Europe, despite who is on the sideline.

"It would be be arrogant to say that a new era will commence," Guardiola stated. "Give me some time, my German is not good enough. I will attempt to continue the high standard of Jupp Heynckes." (Spiegel)

As great as European competitions are, domestic competitons will measure Guardiola's first term. The Bundesliga title is a fundamental achievement for any manager of die Roten, and anything below that will be a disappointment. The DFB Pokal carries just as much weight, as retaining the dominance in the cup will confirm Bayern's rightful place as Germany's best club.

The Champions League is still a priority, but criticism for not raising the Champions League trophy would be unjustified. Barcelona, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid are all trying to reload for another Champions League run, and the English clubs will once may once again be a player in Europe. That being said, a Chelsea-esque performance would be unacceptable. Reaching the semifinal would be a fair bar to set, showing the top Spanish sides that they belong in the annual conversation as well.

Ultimately, Guardiola has more of an opportunity than an expectation. He is walking into a side with top-to-bottom skill and a world class starting XI. His main rival, some could argue, is the Bayern team of the early 70s that won the Champions League three times in four years. The Guardiola era could be greater than that of Barcelona, and his personal exploits could push him to strive for more.

He has already started to cement his standing at the club, putting a few of his former generals on his chief of staff. He's recruited Domenec Torrent as one of his assistants and Lorzen Buenaventura as his fitness coach, according to several sources. Manuel Estiarte is also coming on as a consultant.

His transition to Bavaria could be as difficult as his adjustment to the German language. To say the least, he will need more than charisma in his trophy chase.

The bar has already been set, and Guardiola's task will be to grab it and raise it higher than FC Bayern could even imagine.

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