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Pep Guardiola, Bayern Munich in a Tough Position at the MLS All-Star Game

The Bayern manager had a trivial time in a high-stakes preseason balancing act

Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

With so many variables at play, Bayern Munich did their best to manage their schedule to suit their promotional ambitions and their players' needs. That included developing the drastic strategy of having their eight remaining World Cup players fly in and fly out to Portland on the same day to play just a fraction of the MLS All-Star Game.

Robert Lewandowski's early goal provided a nice buffer for the German giants going into halftime, but once Bradley Wright-Phillips and Landon Donovan found the back of the net, things got a little more complicated. Pep Guardiola's careful balance was becoming off-kilter, having to weigh the result with the inclusion of his superstars.

"We came here with seven players who traveled 12 hours play 15 minutes to respect this game, to respect Portland, and to respect MLS, and we did it," Guardiola said post-game.

Once Guardiola brought on Robben, it seemed that he was just hoping that his players remained fit. To Bayern's frustration, the All-Stars' desire to win created a more aggressive environment, which culminated when Portland Timbers midfielder Will Johnson took out Bastian Schweinsteiger. The German eventually left the pitch with an ankle bruise, and Guardiola's dismay boiled over such that he refused to shake All-Stars coach Caleb Porter's hand.

The Bayern gaffer was short in his post-game response, and did not address the interaction with his counterpart.

"It happened that way, it is the way it is," said Guardiola. "We tried to play and we did it."

Given all the factors of the situation, the incident between Johnson and Schweinsteiger was just unfortunate. One cannot fault Johnson for his actions, for he one of the best in Major League Soccer in balancing enforcement with discipline.

With his fitness issues of the past season, Schweinsteiger is a player Guardiola would have avoided fielding if there were not brand implications attached. Bayern physician Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfarth suggested two weeks ago that the 29-year-old should receive six weeks rest following his World Cup, but with fans hoping to see their favorite Bayern stars, Guardiola did not have much of a choice.

"That will always be a debate," said Schweinsteiger. "It was hard, but one can always debate because we were only here for a few hours."

Ultimately, the position that Guardiola and Bayern were in made the 1-2 result less significant than the experience the club had in the United States. All of the players praised their Portland experience, even the ones that spent less than 12 hours there.

"It was great to see everything here," said Schweinsteiger. "Even though we were only there for a few hours, it already had a self-impression. I hope that we can come here again, and we spend more days in America."

Despite all of his difficulties, Guardiola accomplished what he came here to do. The variables that he had to equate into a clean solution was a lot to handle, but it is an experience that he would want to do again.

"I expect they will invite us next year for the revenge," said Guardiola. "I will prepare a little bit better, and now we will be sure what was going on."

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