It's been a few weeks since the 'Triple' that FC Bayern won under the previous coach Jupp Heynckes and the dust seems to have settled under all the fanfare surrounding the new coach, Josep Guardiola. FC Bayern were a near perfect team last season and very rarely did they look out of touch with their habit of winning (3 losses in the entire season, to be precise).
Neuer continued to impress everyone including the 'Koan Neuer' brigade. The rather unassuming but disciplined defense (notwithstanding the injury to Holger Badstuber) held up astonishingly well against most of Europe's elite and the Doppelsechs of Martinez - Schweinsteiger pairing worked very efficiently, especially at breaking the opponent attacks and instantly redistributing the ball ahead for Bayern's next wave. Wing-backs Alaba and Lahm earned the repute of being Europe's best, performing both offensiv and defnsiv duties with top notch quality. FC Bayern's attack department was perhaps Germany's best ever as Robbéry wrought havoc at the wings and Super Mario strikers finished games with the raumdeuter Thomas Muller often scoring the goal that mattered. FC Bayern attained the place in Europe they had perhaps also deserved a year ago. Super Bayern indeed.
Fastforward to a month later, Heynckes had retired and a new coach comes in saying, "I have to adapt 100% to my players.. Football belongs to the players, not the manager". Seemed believable, this was "Europas beste Mannschaft". Never-mind that he is seen as one of the best coaches in the world and such was the hype surrounding him that some thought it necessary to remind that Pep Guardiola hadn't invented football.
It seems one couldn't have been more wrong. Pep does seem to want to (re)invent football. He seems to try to be this post-modern Football manager of an FC Bayern team that is filled with "Intelligent players". What this means to him is that a right-back can be a midfielder, a midfielder be a defender and one of the best strikers in the world, dispensable. Doesn't matter the fact that these players are among the undisputed best in what they've been doing . Yes it takes time to learn these new 'Guardiola' things and unlearn the 'impure' football that made them European champions and German Champions with a best-ever record but that won't be a problem as this team is filled with 'intelligent' players (as opposed the feces flinging ape players of FC Wherever).
First it was Ribéry, then Lahm, now Pizzarro and Robben, trying to tell Mr. Guardiola that Football needn't be this complicated but there are little signs that the Spanish coach is in any mood to listen and perhaps only time will answer if he should. In fact Pep's signing of Thiago Alcantara has already seemed to threaten the place of Basti, perhaps the most sacred of the sacred cows at the club.
Such stubborn uni-focal-attack-obsessed tactics of a larger-than-life coach aren't new at FC Bayern. A few years ago such cavalier and shall we say 'ballsy' tendencies were attempted at the club and it is well known how that Dutchman's stint at Bayern ended.
To sum it up, this club needs at most, certain tweaks and nip tucks and most of all, building of a dynasty that provides lasting European dominance that does justice to the worldclass talent it is inundated with. The last thing the players would want is to unlearn what has been accomplished over the last 4 seasons but that is precisely what Pep seems to want to do.
For closing arguments, Louis van Gaal came in when Bayern languishing under the burden of severe damage by a certain Mr. Klinsmann whose choices, let's face it, haunt Uli Hoeness till date. Bayern needed a fresh strategy, structure, philosophy that the Dutchman (thankfully) provided but it's his stubbornness and arrogance that were eventually his undoing. This is a Europe-winning team that's just had a near perfect season. Stubborn, trigger-happy coaches with a rigid lust for shaking up things and blindly marrying foreign philosophies aren't exactly topmost on the list of needs. One can only hope or perhaps as a Bayern fan pray, that Pep's new philosophy, if it has to be at all, endures the test of time and yields another European victory or two.
And lastly, sorry to burst your bubble, Pep but this is Der Rekordmeister.