Tomorrow marks the first steps on a journey that ends with Pep Guardiola leaving Bayern Munich. It's an amicable split between the coach and the club, with Guardiola himself even acknowledging if he didn't feel there was more he needed to do, he'd be staying. But ambition is a driving force in the life of any coach. It's the reason the best and brightest in South America make their way to Europe and it's the reason Pep Guardiola wants to win all the titles possible among the biggest leagues in Europe.
But for Bayern Munich, the question is what can Guardiola accomplish in the next six months?
In his two previous season, Guardiola has brought home six major trophies. Two consecutive Bundesliga titles, one DFB Pokal, one Club World Cup, and a dramatic UEFA SuperCup win on penalties just for good measure. And considering that the Club World Cup and UEFA SuperCup are rewards for winning the Champions League, it's fair to say that Guardiola has won 3 of the 6, or 50%, of the trophies available to him in his tenure.
That's a rate that only Luis Enrique's Barcelona can match that in the last two years and it took a treble to do it. And for all the arguments about the Bundesliga being a one-horse race, it's still a slog through a quagmire of 3-game weeks, international breaks, injuries, and parked buses. It takes consistency week-in and week-out.
Winning the Bundesliga is the hard part.
The rest of the schedule? That's the easy part.
Even Pep Guardiola knows it. In his first conference back since announcing his departure, Guardiola addressed the idea the idea of not winning the Champions League, saying "I can live with that. Perhaps we will win the Champions League."
Show up, play your heart and soul out, and hope you move on. That's the DFB Pokal. That's the Champions League. It can be over in the blink of an eye.
The Bundesliga is going to be there every week staring you in the face, daring you to blink.
That's the measure Pep Guardiola should be judged on. Sure, his stint comes on the back of a treble winning team built by Jupp Heynckes and Guardiola can downplay it as much as he wants. Speaking yesterday, he noted "Jupp Heynckes and Ottmar Hitzfeld will always be more important to the club than me. They are German and were here longer than me." That is the legacy upon which a coach as highly touted as Pep Guardiola is judged.
And the legacy Guardiola is going to leave behind at Bayern Munich is rivaled and matched in silver only by the likes of Hitzfield, Heynckes, and the great Udo Lattek. He's already well on his way to being one of the greatest coaches in Bayern Munich history and all it really takes is one more Deutsche Meisterschale.