BAYERN MUNICH: AN IDENTITY CRISIS?

pep guardiola presentation

Pep’s presentation. Welcome to Bayern Munchen, Guardiola!

In January 2013,  Bayern München announced Pep Guardiola as the new manager to take over Bavarian club at the end of the 2012-13 season, a season that ended with a treble. Juup Heynckes, who was indirectly forced out against his wish couldn’t have left on a note higher as his third spell produced a glorious exit when compared to the others.

heynckes, guardiola

Former (Heynckes), Present (Guardiola)

Since the arrival of the former Barcelona coach at Saberner Strasse, the German champions have the acquired the services of several Spanish-speaking players. Though Javi Martinez arrived before Guardiola era, Thiago Alcantara, Juan Bernat, Xabi Alonso and Pepe Reina are all Spain internationals who have moved to Bayern. Reina left this summer for regularly playing time in Italy, Arturo Vidal who is about to sign will join the growing list of Spanish-speaking tongues.

Pep’s arrival at Die Roten turned global spotlight more on the Bavarian club as well as the Bundesliga with greater attention from the Spanish media. This globalization effect or new commercial strategy could be what Bayern directors are trying to cash in on.

spanish contigent

The Spanish Contingent

Whilst these additions should not raise eyebrows at a big club like Bayern whose ambition is to be the best not only in Germany but in Europe hence the need for a large squad, it is the rate at which German internationals and club symbols are leaving the club that is worrying. Last summer after Germany conquered the world in Brazil, Toni Kroos moved to Real Madrid. His arrival signaled the end of Xabi Alonso at the Spanish club but it is quite unbelievable that Bayern lost Kroos to the club’s refusal to offer him a worthy contract. The club decided to replace him with a player who is nine years older.

This summer, club legend, Bastian Schweinsteiger has been allowed to move on to Manchester United with relative ease. The Die Mannschaft captain who spent 17 years at the club and still in his prime has been shipped out with further stars like Thomas Muller and Mario Gotze being linked with Manchester United and Juventus respectively.

Traditionally, Bayern München has always been a second home for the Germany national team where German stars are made or bought but in this era, the focus has been on importing foreign stars. In a relative quite summer, Brazilian forward Douglas Costa has arrived to provide competition for Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in a league where Julian Draxler or Marco Reus,  both German internationals ply their trade for other German teams and are being courted by foreign clubs.

Former Bayern München coach Ottmar Hitzfeld has added his voice by advising the Bundesliga champions not to lose their German identity.

kroos, schweini

Basti and Toni…. No more Bavarians

“Bayern should be wary and make sure German remains the No.1 language in the team – and not Spanish,” Hitzfeld was quoted as saying by Kicker.
“This appears to be a new trend at Bayern. FCB previously always had the goal of signing the best German players. “Mario Gotze is the perfect example of a German player who was made for Bayern. This fantastic player should challenge himself and convince Guardiola that he should be an undisputed starter.”

With Guardiola current deal at Allianz Arena expiring at the end the new season and an extension not firmly in sight, Bayern will have to reconsider its new policy in the eventuality of both parties walking away.

gotze and muller

Gotze and Muller…. The next set to leave?

If Guardiola stays on, will the club’s board continue to back him to bring in foreign stars at the expense of German players (home grown or bought). If he leaves, what does the future hold for Bayern when a new man walks into the cosy office at Sabener Strasse  training ground?

 

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One response to this post.

  1. Another good insight. As I read this, it just occurred to me that it is actually happening. That said, every coach brings his football philosophy to bear when he is in charge. What pep is doing is not strange Wenger did it at Arsenal. At a point Arsenal had many french player of the rooster. For me, it will be an issue if they are not playing well. The signs to me are justified as the club is doing well. The only thing that as eluded them is the UCL and they have been close. As you alluded, the directors may be looking at the business side of things too.

    Reply

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