The only thing more gut wrenching than calling a predictable defeat to your own team is actually watching it happen just as you imagined.
Barcelona took their sweet time finding the back of the net against Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions league semi-final, but it was something that could not have been stopped as long as the current Bayern coach is in charge and the current game plan continues to be the main strategy.
Upon winning the Champions League, the DFB-pokal and the Bundesliga trophy in 2013 Bayern had finally reached the summit. A humiliation of Barcelona in the last four cemented them as the favourites to win the competition that season and they did so in enormous fashion.
Jupp Heynckes installed a fearless, back and forth brand of football that allowed the players to be themselves while at the same time reminding them that they were bigger, faster and stronger than the competition. It worked. Bayern out-muscled and out-hustled every single one of their opponents that season and were in a league of their own.
After Heynckes' sudden retirement a suitor had to carry on the legacy that had been established.
Based solely on track record Pep Guardiola seemed to be the perfect fit.
He is credited for making Lionel Messi into one the greatest goal scorer of this generation, he is credited with inventing the technically-advanced tiki-taka brand of football, and he has had success at every single level which he has coached. It seemed ideal for a German side oozing with talent at every position. Looks and track record can be deceiving.
At first I was very excited to hear that Bayern had snagged the best coach in the world. He is
heralded by the players for the time he takes to coach players individually in practice. At first, like many Bayern supporters would have thought, he is the perfect candidate to take our
individual players to the next level thus continuing the dominance that Bayern displayed in the 2012-2013 season.
Initially this seemed to be going along quite nicely. Pep simply introduced his 4-1-4-1 formation in addition to the very successful 4-2-3-1 which allowed the current Bayern players to play in roles that more-so suited their strengths.
Lahm was introduced as a very capable anchor midfielder, Schweinsteiger was allowed more freedom to roam forward and have more attempts at net, the wingers were free to do as they pleased which has been successful for the past five seasons and Mandzukic was brilliant with his efficiency in front of net and hold up play.
Slowly but surely, tiki-taka was introduced. It is boring to watch to say the least and is best-suited for a team full of fundamentally sound and technically gifted midgets, much like the Barcelona team Pep coached prior to coming to Munich.
This is simply not a style that bodes well with any German team. This style of play is good for beating up lower-tier teams but simply doesn't work when matched against teams who are individually up to par with your team.
There are two strategies that can be used to beat tiki-taka. The first is the press. This was how Bayern destroyed Barcelona en route to a treble in 2013. The front players simply hustle their butts off, take away any passing lanes in the back that may be afforded to your not so fleet-footed defenders and goal keeper, and use this to create goal chances.
The second is to sit back, let the team pass ten thousand times in your half, wait for an opportunity and send your fastest three players bolting forward at the speed of light in order to create one on one opportunities with the keeper.
The counter attack lead to Bayern's 7-1 aggregate defeat against Madrid in Pep's maiden voyage, it has lead to splitting all three season series with Wolfsburg, Monchengladbach and Leverkusen, and has now lead to an unsurprising 3-0 away defeat in the first leg of this year's semi-finals.
Pep's response: "But we dominated possession." Not only does his brand of football not work against teams who can apply the press or counter very well, but he offers no plan B.
Time to go
Never in his life will Pep Guardiola admit that tiki-taka has weaknesses like any other strategy and needs to be supplemented by different game plans in order to maximise a team's roster talent and success. This is why he needs to go.
It's one thing to get beaten 7-1 by a squad that picked your game plan apart at the seams but it's a completely different slap in the face to the Bayern management, the players and the loyal fans to keep it up and insist that nothing is wrong.
It is time for Pep Guardiola to take an early exit from the Allianz arena. These will be the two seasons that I remember as not being able to stay awake through an entire Bayern match. The two seasons where I fell asleep most of the matches that I watched rather than being on the edge of my seat and screaming my head off with joy.
The two seasons that we were supposed to continue to dominate Europe but watched my team pass the ball around eight million times. The only things I have screamed over the past two seasons have been, "Make a run!", or "pass it forward!". It's time to end.
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