And we're down to the last game before the well-deserved (and sorely needed) winter break, when Bayern travel to Hannover, to face off with a desperate and struggling team that is wallowing in 16th place, and, despite having one of the German national team keepers on the roster (Ron Robert Zieler), sport the third-worst defense, with 28 goals allowed.
Pep Guardiola and media director Markus Hörwick's next-in-command, Hans-Peter Renner, sat down for the customary press conference with the sports media representatives.
FC Bayern Press Conference, December 18th, 2015
Maybe it was because Hörwick wasn't there (he has put a stop to contract questions in the last few pressers), but once the reporters noticed that questions about Pep's future weren't taboo today, that became the main topic at this press conference.
Here are the highlights of today's questions and answers (my interjections in italics):
On whether Pep is happy with this year - We have our last game of the Hinrunde, and, in my opinion, the results have been insanely good, because this team, this club, has won many, many titles in the last three years, and at the end of the year, it's hard to keep your concentration and to focus on every game. It's easier in the beginning of the Champions League or DFB Pokal, because it's one game, but week after week [is tough]. When we had all our players, we played very, very well, the best since I've been here. We only had one draw and one loss in the Bundesliga, huge compliment. Of course, we still have one game, but I didn't think we could play the way we did in the Hinrunde. Compliments to the team, Merry Christmas to everyone, a Happy New Year, and we'll see each other in January.
On what the highlight of the year was - Even though Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben weren't there, but when we were all healthy and fit, we played very well. As a coach, when I sat in my seat and watched them when everyone was there, it was good. That was the best moment for me. Of course, sometimes we played well, sometimes not, but the professionality was good, not just the players, but all the employees.
On the injury situation - We have 13 players, plus two goalkeepers (hey, maybe Rode will finally get another chance!). That's it, but I'm optimistic. I think we will have a good game.
On the reports that Pep will not sign an extension - (No, he didn't bite the reporter's head off, apparently he knows he can't ignore it any further, after all the stories have leaked to the media) Karl Heinz Rummenigge and I have said many times that we will talk after the last game in Hannover. We've said that for the last two months, and today, I'm saying the same thing.
On whether this conversation, and his final decision, have already happened - I talk a lot with Karl Heinz Rummenigge, about many different topics, about the club, the employees, the coaches, the players. We talk often (Wow, what a dodge, and nobody called him on it).
On why Pep can't announce it now - We've said it for two months, the day after the Hannover game, we will talk. The fans, the media, everyone, will know. What's one more day? Sorry, I'm focused on Hannover and their players.
On whether the club already knows his decision - (Someone tries again) Kalle knows everything. Not just this week, since June, July, August, September, we talk often, about many topics. I always give my opinion, on what is happening with the team, I talk to him.
On whether Rummenigge knows his decision - (Take three, this time in English, I guess so that Pep can't say he didn't understand the question) Rummenigge knows everything. Everything. He is at the top (now Pep is smiling, probably because he knows he's not going to give a clear answer, no matter how many times they try).
On whether Pep is feeling pressure, after the reports from Marca - Pressure? No. The last two months, I've already been announced as the coach of four different teams. I've said it many times, the day after tomorrow, we will know.
On whether Pep can concentrate on Hannover with all the reports about his future - Of course, I'm thinking about Hannover. The last two days I've been watching Hannover - Schalke, Hannover - Gladbach, Hannover - Borussia Dortmund. Yesterday and today, I talked to my coaches, and we'll talk when we fly to Hannover. I have a lot of experience with this kind of situation.
(There's a slight pause in the questions, so Pep prompts the reporters with "Problems with the doctor, let's go!", getting laughter in response. "That's the next question." There were reports recently that Pep has again had a conflict with the medical staff, over the handling of Ribery, and the Frenchman's most recent injury.)
On whether Pep threw Dr. Volker Braun out of his office - (There were reports that Pep had gotten into a heated argument with the team doctor, and had booted him out of his office) Normally, I don't comment on false reports. Above being a coach, I try to be a polite guy. Never in my life have I told someone [makes a clicking sound, and gestures with his thumb, "get out"]. Never. I'm sorry, kicker, but that is false information (the respected magazine kicker was the one reporting on the alleged argument).
On Hannover, their next opponent - This is the last game, this doesn't happen in Spain, where they only get a break of a week. Here we have the winter break. In the last game before the break last season, we played Mainz, and they were much better than us. If not for Juan Bernat's cross, and Arjen Robben nose for the situation in the penalty box, we wouldn't have won. And that's the problem, already being on vacation (he points to his head). Hannover is not in a comfortable position in the standings, and I saw how well they played at home last week against Ingolstadt. Of course, we have to concentrate on our 13 players, but I trust these 13 players to perform well, and to finish the Hinrunde in style. We showed our playing style, not just to Germany, but to the world, especially when we had our whole roster. We worked well together, and did a good job.
On whether Carlo Ancelotti would be a good successor at Bayern - (Pep tries to cut off the reporter in mid-sentence, before the reporter convinces him that it's not the same old question about Pep's future) I don't buy or sell players, same goes for coaches. Sorry, that's not a question for me. I can tell you, Carlo is a great person, and, of course, a great coach. I have a great relationship with him. When he was in Milan, and I was in Barcelona, or when he was at Real Madrid, whenever I've met him, I have a great relationship with him.
On when Pep is leaving for the break - The day after the game (Sunday), I am flying to Barcelona, my mother and father deserve to see their loving son. Afterwards, I'm flying (realizes he doesn't want to tell people where he's going, cuts himself off). First a week in Barcelona, then I fly.
On Philipp Lahm missing the game, and Ribery's muscle tear - Everyone will get healthy on January 4th, when we start practicing in Qatar. In the Rückrunde, we will all be fit. Philipp will not be available against Hannover (thigh muscle strain, apparently. He avoids answering the Ribery injury question).
Disclaimer - Due to the nature of having a coach whose native language is not German, the translation of the quotes is not exactly word for word, but includes some interpretation on the part of the author of this article, in order to more accurately portray what the coach is intending to say. There is some necessary guesswork involved.