Has Bayern’s domestic dominance scuppered their European chances?
Pep Guardiola recently guided Bayern Munich to their 25th league title, the club’s third consecutive Bundesliga crown, with the Spanish boss having now secured five domestic triumphs in his six years as a manager, but recent doubts have crept over the Allianz Arena following further European failures.
Since prematurely wrapping up this season’s German league, the champions have shockingly lost all four following fixtures, including a 3-0 European mauling at the hands of Guardiola’s former employers Barcelona in their Champions League semi-final first leg clash (16/1 with Coral to qualify).
Such an underwhelming semi-final showing, for the second successive season, can ironically be linked to the club’s early silverware success in Germany, with their rampant league triumph seeing players slack off in performances and Guardiola opting to heavily rotate his squad, to no avail.
The Bavarians have again completely dominated domestically this current campaign, opening a massive 11-point gap over closest challengers Wolfsburg, despite losing two straight league games, including a 1-0 home Bavarian derby defeat to Augsburg in their last encounter.
Despite leading his side to back-to-back Bundesliga titles, Guardiola has come under severe pressure in Germany, mainly due to the club continuously falling at the final hurdle in Europe’s elite competition under is reign.
The former Nou Camp coach had previously outlined a second treble in three years for the club as his target this term, but having been knocked out of the DFB-Pokal by bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund and a Champions League final seemingly out of reach, the Spaniard has come under immense scrutiny.
A portion of recent criticism has come from former Bayern sweeper Lothas Matthaus, who helped the club secure seven of their 25 league titles during his career, with the record Germany appearance holder claiming Munich’s current crop of stars have lost faith in Guardiola.
“Guardiola has already said that their season is over and he’s been rotating his team so much that he’s unsettling the team,” stated Matthaus.
“His team no longer has the stability they had for over eight months, enchanting football fans up and down Germany.”
“It seems the players are losing a bit of belief in the coach, and he hadn’t expected that.”
Guardiola has been heavily tipped as the long-term successor to Manuel Pellegrini as Manchester City boss, with last season’s Premier League champions reportedly increasing their attempts to lure the under-fire manager to England this summer, but the 44-year-old angrily dismissed speculation.
“I’ve already said 200 million times – I’ll be here next season. That’s it,” slammed Guardiola. “I have a year left on my contract. Next season I will be here.”
To recover any hopes of finally succeeding in Europe with Bayern, Guardiola will need to instrument a comeback over his former club Barcelona, with Lionel Messi, a player the Munich manager helped become the world’s deadliest forward, striking a dazzling double in the first leg.
Last season, similar dominant domestic success scuppered Guardiola’s chances of securing a Champions League victory, having been completely out-gunned by Real Madrid at the last four stage, including a 4-0 hammering on home soil, after bagging a Bundesliga crown earlier that year.
To thwart this recurring rut and overcome the link between domestic dominance and European struggles, Guardiola must guide his Bundesliga champions to a historic revival over freescoring Barcelona.
Although, having overturned a 3-1 quarter-final first leg deficit to claim an emphatic 6-1 victory against Porto, there is always hope, and the battling Bavarians are 33/1 to somehow lift his year’s trophy in Berlin.