By Karolos Grohmann
REUTERS – Champions Bayern Munich look unstoppable as they charge towards a record fourth consecutive Bundesliga title with the future of coach Pep Guardiola the only real mystery in the Bavarians’ squad.
Seven points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund and a record-breaking 10-match winning streak for a maximum 30 points since the start of the season, Bayern take on Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday and can extend their lead to 10 with their rivals in action against Werder Bremen a day later.
But reporters are unlikely to focus on Eintracht and more likely to keep pressing Guardiola over his future.
“It is always the same issue, the same question,” the Spaniard, whose three-year deal runs out at the end of the season, told reporters this week ahead of their 3-1 win over holders VfL Wolfsburg in the German Cup on Tuesday.
“I am not going to answer this. I am not in the mood any more.”
With the questions likely to persist as long as there is no definite answer, it is not only the media who want to hear from the coach, who has led Bayern to two consecutive German league titles and a German Cup in his previous two completed seasons at Bayern.
Club bosses and players would love Guardiola to stay on and boost their silverware haul closer to his 14 titles he won in his four years at Barcelona, with the Champions League crown the ultimate prize.
A string of transfers in the close season with wingers Douglas Costa and Kingsley Coman among others, have proved a hit so far and made Bayern even stronger despite the injury absences of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery in the early part of the campaign.
But the Spaniard has yet to give any indication of which way he is leaning.
“The opinion of the players is very clear,” said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm. “We like working with our coach and he is an outstanding coach.”
“I can only say what the team wants and that is for the coach to stay on. Everything else is not in our hands,” he said, adding he had passed on this message to his coach.
Victory over Eintracht will only increase the number of questions regarding Guardiola’s future with CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge saying contract talks would take place before the end of the year.
Having won the last six matches against Eintracht without conceding a single goal, Bayern are odds-on favourites to extend their winning streak against them.
Eintracht have won just one of their last six league matches and suffered an ignominious German Cup second round exit on Tuesday to third-tier Erzgebirge Aue but slim hopes of an upset by the underdogs are still alive.
“It would not be smart to go into the game doing damage control,” warned Eintracht CEO Heribert Bruchhagen. “Bayern are a mighty force. But that does not mean that sometimes they may not win.”
(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)