In the last 25 years, Bayern Munich have won 13 Bundesligas and have never gone more than four years without lifting the Deutsche Meisterschale.
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Although not as prolific in the DFB Pokal, they have still claimed the trophy nine times during the same period – four times more than the next most successful club, Werder Bremen.
Since arriving at the Allianz Arena he has won both competitions and bar an almighty collapse, will successfully defend the Bundesliga over the next fortnight and face Borussia Dortmund in the cup semi-finals later this month.
In short, Guardiola is a little over par in his tenure as Bayern Munich boss. Which sounds ridiculous but the Catalan was brought to the club for much more than just what is expected of a Bayern coach.
At Barcelona he created perhaps the greatest club side the world has seen, permeated by an identity and method of playing that ran contrary to the overtly-physical approach dominating the game towards the end of the last decade.
Barca were rewarded for their excellence with 14 trophies during his reign including two Champions League titles – in 2009 and 2011 – and it is that crown the Bayern hierarchy, like at Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and so many others, crave the most.
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 20, 2015
Not because the Bundesliga has become a cakewalk, but because it’s the Champions League or European Cup which define eras and iconic sides.
Bayern have had their’s in the past: the 1974-1976 side of Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Muller, Paul Breitner, Sepp Maier and Uli Hoeness which won three European Cups in succession.
And while they’ve lifted ‘Old Big Ears’ in 2001 and 2013, it’s about sustained success on the continent and creating a new legend in helping establish themselves as the best football team on the planet, not just in Germany. So far, Guardiola has fallen a little short of expectations.
Tonight, to fulfil not just the desires of the Bayern board and fans but also his own, Guardiola’s side must become the first in club history to overturn a two-goal first-leg deficit.
As Thomas Muller pointed out yesterday, 2-0 to Bayern is not such a big surprise, but they are up against a Porto side unbeaten in the competition and playing an exhilarating brand of free-flowing offensive football which has seen them go 15 matches since they last failed to score. One may be all it needs with away goals such a priceless commodity.
That would especially not be such a surprise, given how Bayern teams have defended under Guardiola in Europe.
In the first leg there were some dreadful errors – Dante in particular – and a total breakdown in the system as Porto’s pace cut through them.
It was eerily reminiscent of the second leg of last season’s semi-final against Madrid where they were ripped apart by the velocity of Real’s counter-attacks and Guardiola’s suicidal high line.
Twice losing 3-2 to Manchester City – at the Allianz last season and Etihad this term – also stand out, and for all their wonderful midfield interplay ala Barca, married with Teutonic steel and the attacking capabilities of Mario Gotze, Robert Lewandowski, Muller and friends, there remains a fragile core.
Guardiola needs a big result tonight. It’s extremely unlikely, verging on nigh impossible he’ll walk away if they didn’t progress tonight, but failure at a club like Bayern is simply unacceptable.
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