As his managerial reign at Bayern Munich, Pep leaves having dominated the German domestic scene but he faltered in Europe. With just 3 matches remaining at the helm of the Bavarians, Pep’s record at Bayern stands as
Goals for: 407
Goals Against: 124
Trophies won: 3x Bundesliga, 1x DFB Pokal (with a possible 2nd before he departs), 1x UEFA Super Cup, 1x FIFA Club World Cup.
Statistically, he had a successful stint at Bavaria. Not as successful as Barcelona in terms of trophies, but Pep won a staggering 76% of his games. Yet in his impressive trophy haul, he has not been able to win a 6th Champions League for the Bavarians. His 3 attempts have seen him beaten by the top 3 Spanish teams in the semi-finals each year. He has failed to win the German Super Cup as well in 3 attempts.
When he took the helm, Bayern had completed a treble. What he had at his disposal, was a talented, deep and balanced squad, high on morale and confidence. He made his changes, over the 3 seasons at the helm. Gotze, Vidal, Lewandowski, Kingsley Coman, Douglas Costa, Xabi Alonso, Mehdi Benatia and Juan Bernat were some of the names transferred into the Bavarian Giants. Notable departures included Mario Gomez, Mario Mandzukic, Dante, Luiz Gustavo, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
On the face of it, Bayern have improved their squad depth and talent with their transfers. On the domestic scene, Bayern have been utterly dominant. Of their 3 league titles, 2 of them have been won with a tally of close to 90 points (they scored 90 in the 2013/14 season, a league record). In the German Cup, they have won it once and might win their second before the season reaches its end. Their complete dominance in German football, sees Bayern wrap up the league in March-April, and ensure they are in the Cup semi-finals by April itself. The only competition he failed to win is the German Super cup, where they were twice beaten by Dortmund and once by Wolfsburg, at the start of each season. With the league and cup secured, its theoretically possible for them to rest for their European ambitions.
German competition is minimal. Dortmund and Wolfsburg, the two main teams that gave a degree of competition to Bayern, are unable to match their financial resources. Good performances by the players of these two clubs, make them ripe targets to be taken, not only by Bayern, but by other European teams. Notable examples of this include De Bruyne (Manchester City), Mario Gotze, Robert Lewandowski and now Mats Hummels(Bayern Munich). Bayern are also able to buy the best talent across the world. These two factors ensure, that in the Domestic scene, Bayern will always have an edge over its rivals.
In Europe, they dominate their way in the group stages, averaging close to 17 goals in the group stage as they have taken the first spot convincingly in all their 3 years. In the knockout stages, they began to show their frailty. In 2013/14, Arsenal took a draw at Allianz Arena and a struggling Manchester United took a draw. Real Madrid would comprehensively defeat them in the semi-finals of that season en route to winning the title.
The following season, they would struggle in the away legs against Shakhtar and FC Porto before taking strong home wins, but once again, they’d be stopped in their tracks, outplayed by FC Barcelona in the 2015 semi-finals. This season, Bayern had nervy encounters against Juventus (going into extra time), and against Benfica. They would be defeated by Atletico Madrid courtesy of a Griezmann away goal.
Pep’s primary objective was to win the Champions League, yet his side were continually exposed in the Champions League knockout stages. Tactics and the nerves seem to be the reason. Against Atletico Madrid of the first leg, he played with 3 holding midfielders, foregoing an attacking player. This saw Thomas Muller, who has enjoyed his finest season, benched for the game. Against a team that pack the midfield and sit back, a player like Muller who excels at exploiting even the tiniest amounts of spaces would have been key. Bayern who created more chances had no goal to show for 19 efforts as they were largely reduced to long shots, while Atletico grabbed a crucial 1-0 win.
The second leg saw Bayern create more chances, but most of them were floundered and Griezmann’s away goal resigned them to defeat. In 2014/15, Barcelona were able to comprehensively outplay the Bavarians, with the back 3 and supporting cast not able to keep out the MSN trio. In 2013/14, Madrid were able to beat his possession play, matching the Bavarians in attempts as he would once again keep Muller on the bench, for a defensive player in Rafinha. It’s now been 7 consecutive away matches in the Champions League where Bayern are yet to find a win.
Injuries did have their part to play in limiting his options. Robben, Ribery, Alaba, Javi Martinez, Thiago Alcantara and Mario Gotze have been some who have spent a lot of time on the side-lines.
So on the whole, his stint at Bayern can be called a fairly successful one. However, with the squad he had, he should have made it to the UEFA Champions League final at least once. He dominated the German scene, and did no harm in adding to his trophy cabinet and winning ratio.
Manchester City will be a major challenge, as it’s a squad that needs a massive overhaul, but it seems Pep has already been planning for this after the announcement. It will be interesting to see if he can win his 3rd UEFA Champions League in England.