Well, this is it: the last press conference of the season with Pep Guardiola (unless you count the post-game presser which will follow Saturday's game). If you believe the English press, it's also the last for Pep at Bayern, but, we all know how reliable those blowhards are. In an interesting bit of trivia, this is the 107th press conference of the season for Bayern's Spanish coach, across all competitions, before and after games. What a busy, busy boy, and he has to find time to coach too.
Pep Guardiola and media director Markus Hörwick sat down for the customary press conference with the sports media representatives.
FC Bayern Press Conference, May 22nd, 2015
The media director apologized for being a few minutes late, explaining that they were delayed because they had to greet a new player for next season. It turns out, he was talking about Holger Badstuber, who had just returned from across the big pond in the USA, where he had been recovering after his latest surgery. The injury-plagued defender was back in time for the last game, the ensuing celebrations in the stadium, and the big shindig on Sunday, in downtown Munich, on the balcony of city hall. As an update, Badstuber is still on crutches for a few days, and, according to Hörwick, will be starting his rehab during the summer break, and hopes to be back sometime next season (no indication of when).
Here are the highlights of today's questions and answers (my interjections in italics):
On whether Robert Lewandowski will be taking penalty kicks tomorrow - (Lewandowski is three goals behind Alexander Meier of Eintracht Frankfurt for the goal scoring title) I don't know, I haven't thought about it. We want to win the game, and, of course, if we can help Lewy get the Torjägerkanone (goal scoring canon, the traditional trophy, awarded by kicker magazine, since the beginning of the Bundesliga), that's good. The most important part is that we won the Bundesliga, and that is, in part, due to Robert.
On what to expect from Mainz 05 - They've done an outstanding job with the new trainer, they are aggressive, they have good players, good quality. They have a very good midfielder in Johannes Geis. In the Hinrunde, we had a lot of trouble controlling him. In Mainz, they played very well, better than us. We were lucky to win three points.
On the accusations from Wolfsburg, Paderborn and Hannover, that Bayern weren't playing hard in the last games - The people here in Germany talk too much. They need to show more respect for the German champions, for these players. Their problems are not Bayern's fault. We've done our job, this is their problem, not ours. But, when you've played for two or three months with 13 or 14 players, with all the injury problems we've had, when you reach your goal, it's normal that you might not be able to play all out. We lost against Leverkusen, because the opponent was good. We played against Augsburg with ten players for 80 minutes, and did a good job. Freiburg played well, why can't these people acknowledge that? I understand if journalists say this, but not the sport director (in this case, he's referring to Klaus Allofs, Wolfsburg manager). Take it easy, that is my advice.
On the rumors of Bastian Schweinsteiger going to Manchester United - I think Bastian Schweinsteiger will decide his own future. He is under contract with FC Bayern. Bastian is an outstanding legend at Bayern Munich. He has to make his decision, not Pep, not Kalle Rummenigge. If he wants to stay two, three, four more years, he will stay. I have a lot of respect for the players that have accomplished outstanding things for this club. He has a contract, and in my mind, and in my plans for next season, Bastian Schweinsteiger is here.
On when planning for next season will start - On Sunday, after the festivities at Marienplatz, it's vacation time for everyone. I will be here for a few more days, because my kids are still in school, but I will be on vacation too. Of course, I'll be talking every day to the appropriate people, to see what's going on, but the club has to continue to work.
On Pep's analysis of this season - Outstanding. Super. When a team wins the Bundesliga, loses in the DFB Pokal semfinal, the way we lost, and lose in the Champions League semifinal, then it's good. If Bayern Munich wants a coach that will win the triple every year, I can't do that, I'm sorry. I'm not good enough for that. But, this season and the last, we tried to the last minute. I have already said, the Bundesliga title is the most important. Sure, the Champions League may the nicest, but the Bundesliga is the most important, and we did a good job.
On looking forward to the Weissbier showers - I wanted to invite Daniel van Buyten, because he was the best at doing the beer showers last year. Maybe we still have his number. (Hörwick assures him that the big Belgian will be there tomorrow, as part of the festivities celebrating the milestone of 25 championships).
On whether they will be bidding farewell to players who are leaving the club - (Markus Hörwick jumps in, and answers for Pep) No, there are no plans. There have been no final decisions, so, as of this time, we are not saying goodbye to anyone.
On whether David Alaba will get a few minutes -(The Austrian international made his return to full team practice today) No, no. He's not fit yet.
On whether Pep will attend the CL final, after being invited by Barcelona - No, I'm staying here. I'm on vacation.
On the upcoming China trip in the summer - Every big team in the world makes these kinds of trips, to China, United States, or other places. It's good, we have to do this, and I'm looking forward to going to China. This will be our summer training camp, we will practice. I've been told that the conditions are good, the hotel is close to the practice fields, everything looks well organized, just like last year in the USA. If they tell us next year, we have to fly to Australia, we will fly to Australia.
On mistakes that were made this season - Normally, when we lose, there have been a lot of mistakes. Of course, I've made a lot of mistakes, that happens when you're a coach. We have to make a decision every five minutes, so it happens. Of course, I accept all the criticism. It's part of my job.
On whether Pep is a better coach now - Yes, of course. In two years, I will be better, and in four years as well. Experience is very important. My German is a little better, I know the club more, and the Bundesliga, the journalists, and the legends [of Bayern]. You become a better coach when you have to deal with problems, you become better.
On when training camp starts -(Hörwick tackles this one) Start of camp is July 1st for those that don't play on their national team, the rest will join ten days later, on July 11th, when we have the team presentation.
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.