It all started for Bayern Munich against Borussia Dortmund in the Super Cup. Pep Guardiola determined to leave his own mark on an all conquering treble winners changed everything in his very first game in charge" the double pivot was gone, a false No. 9 was on the cards, a very high back-line. The result was a disaster, Dortmund countered and scored.
Almost nine months later towards the end of campaign, Real Madrid did the same. Bayern played a high line with no effective shield and a possession based game, the same story was repeated, Real countered, Bayern defence nervous, no one to cut it off, same result.
Another game that comes to mind is the City game, leading 2-0 in 15 minutes, Bayern stepped the foot of the gas, no shield, high line, counter and three goals.
In all fairness, till the Allianz Arena debacle vs Real it was still an exceptional season, the game lost to City was a dead rubber. Within 15 minutes of second leg, Bayern were leading 5-1 on aggregate, the way we were playing it's easy to understand why the players went into hibernation, they had battered one of the best teams on the planet for 105 minutes, for the first 70 minutes of first leg (before Robben Ribery and Schweini were subbed) and the first 15 minutes of 2nd leg(without Robben Schweini etc) Bayern had annihilated one of the finest teams on the planet playing almost perfect football.
In the second half of season came a noticeable drop, the results were still the same but an injury to Ribery(after the Ballon D'or fiasco) alongwith injuries to Schweinsteiger and Robben had an effect, specially Ribery who never recovered from his injury till the end of season.
53 games unbeaten, Champions in Record Time, Semis of CL, the results were still coming but ever since the Hoffenheim game when we conceded 3 goals the writing was clear on the wall, the players were fatigued and disinterested.
Pep's policy of extreme rotation, we rarely played a game with the same team throughout the season, there was a game when we played with Weiser Sallahi and Hojsberg Raeder, kids who had never been given a chance were starting the game and then started the downfall, Augsburg ended the streak, BVB humiliated us at Allianz, Real did the same, in 2 of the biggest games of the year at Allianz we had conceded seven unanswered goals.
The attack looked impotent, defence was in tatters, sterile possession and end of tiki-taka were trending worldwide.
No one except David Moyes has faced as much criticism as Pep, not only the neutrals, opposition fans or the media were writing him off, even the fans and even the Legends of the Club openly voiced their dissatisfaction. Der Kaiser said after some time we will become unwatchable.
English media and English fans were especially very buoyant by his failure. They forgot that this Bayern had beaten the then champions of England, the current champions of England and all four Champions League contenders from England at some point in the season.
It took Pep exactly an year to understand the importance of Bayern's record signing Javi Martínez, there's a reason why Bayern broke the bank for him, Jupp had realised after the 2012 final that he was the last missing piece of his jigsaw puzzle and he proved right.
Javi was one of the best players of Bayern last season, specially in the final when Bastian seemed overwhelmed by the occasion again, He led like a leader, winning every ball and driving forward, he was the man who helped Bayern win the Super Cup vs Chelsea, the last minute goal was just the tip of iceberg, his introduction had acted as a wall, he did the same vs BVB in the Pokal final, nullifying the threats of Lewandowski and Reus and making a vulnerable Bayern defence look world class. Javi won two Bundesliga titles without having lost a game as a player and winning the treble in his first season.
It was only in the last game of season when he played in his preferred position and proved to be a beast of a footballer.
Overall the season has still been great, winning a treble can never be a benchmark of success, no Team has ever done it twice, No manager has ever managed to win CL thrice, not even Sir Alex Ferguson in his 26 years as a top manager.
No team has successfully defended the Champions League crown, it's a burden to heavy to lift, Bayern's battering at the hands of Real takes the shine of the season but that's it, Ribery is almost 32, his Neuromuscular velocity has decreased, for a player whose Speed is his weapon, it would always be disastrous.
You can't blame the manager if you concede three goals in a semi-final from dead ball situation, specially when you have towering defenders and won 25 corners without scoring even a single goal.
The lack of motivation can't be an excuse, Rotation can't be an excuse, Tactics can't be an excuse for wasting every Free Kick and Corner and conceding every time Real tried the same.
Pep needs to adapt, he needs to be less arrogant in his approach. Yes his tinkering approach has led to unearthing a talent like Hojsberg, it has led to Lahm turning into an elite midfielder, it has led to Rafinha getting back his confidence(I still don't find him Bayern class), it has led to Robben and Muller playing False 9, effectively (BVB Pokal Final, City CL), it has led to so many different systems, we have played with 2 Poachers, we have played with just two defenders(United game when Lahm and Alaba were almost playing in the centre).
We have even tried a three-man defence with Javi as sweeper, Contento has played in centre, Rafinha on left, Muller everywhere, Kroos everywhere in midfield. Robben, Gotze, Muller centre.
We have played so many different systems, different players, different ideas, Rotation was never something Jupp tried, he once said he prefers playing with a winning Team and a winning idea, we never ever saw Pep playing with the same team that won the CL final and the Epochal CL semi final, those group of players never played as a Unit ever in Pep's era, never did we see a proper double pivot as used by Pep, Jupp's starting 11 was always certain.
Rafinha, Contento, Shaqiri rarely got a game, it was only when one of the main players was injured or suspended that others came in the fray, under Pep no one is certain of a position except Neuer and maybe Lahm.
This is start of a different era, a different Bayern, perhaps it won't be as Perfectly gelled like the Bayern of 2012, it won't be a Machine where every part exactly knows what's the role and performed accordingly, this is a different Bayern where you have to learn and change.
You have to appreciate the change and plan as per the imagination of a man called Pep Guardiola, it might take time, tiki-taka is not in our DNA, it's impossible for players to imbibe so many ideas and plan differently for every game with different players and everyone having to play more than a role, but if they do understand the ideas and Pep learns to adapt to the team's strength instead of forcing his ideas, this can be a very beautiful time for our football.
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