Pep Guardiola needs Champions League for positive Bayern Munich legacy

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After months of rumour and speculation over his future in the Hinrunde, Pep Guardiola eventually confirmed an inevitable exit at the end of 2015/16.

The Spanish manager may be heading to the Premier League but his work at Bayern is not quite finished, with a third straight Bundesliga and elusive Champions League crown within his sights.

Bayern have evolved under Guardiola’s strict methods and silverware subsequently followed both domestically and worldwide, with Super Cup and World Club Championships to boot.


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Yet after all the stellar signings, titles and overall dominance of German football, there are still questions over his reign.

Did Guardiola’s stint leave behind a true legacy or a sense of unfulfillment at the Allianz Arena?

Why Guardiola needs European glory

The holy grail for Bayern’s board is the Champions League; the only trophy Guardiola has failed to deliver.

His first two attempts collapsed in semi-final defeats to eventual winners, Barcelona and Real Madrid. It guaranteed their place among Europe’s elite four but these were not just defeats – they were eviscerated, humbled, embarrassed on the big stage.

Guardiola may have been without key players in both instances but the catastrophic collapse, more pertinently against Barcelona, epitomises their inability to conquer the continent.

Bayern chief Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insisted the Bundesliga took priority upon Guardiola’s appointment in 2013, seeing a 34-game season as a better barometer of success over the lottery of Europe’s two-legged knockout stages.

But given their vastly superior standing over other German clubs in the two-and-a-half years since, surely even Rummenigge would have expected most top level managers to secure back-to-back league titles. Perhaps not in such dominant fashion, which is where the Spaniard’s meticulous tactics stand out from the rest.

The reign has not been without on-and-off field battles, including key injuries at important times plus the Uli Hoeness tax evasion scandal that rocked the club in 2014.

To that end, credit must lie with Guardiola for maintaining his own impeccable high standards across a full league campaign and it looks like they will thrice canter towards winning the Bundesliga.

But when all is said and done, another failed Champions League attempt would lead many to conclude Guardiola did not exceed expectations – he merely fell short.

It may well be that his legacy hinges on the outcome of three games - the semi-finals and final of Europe's finest club competition.

Where are the young prospects?

Guardiola's intense management style makes longevity in any of his jobs unlikely but during his short stint, Rummenigge reportedly wanted to blend talent in with an experienced squad.

And while the current squad is barely short of talent, from Germany and further afield, the board could be frustrated at the lack of academy players graduating to Sabener Strasse during Pep's reign.

Of their regular first team players just two have come from Bayern’s own system; Thomas Muller and Philip Lahm, two established internationals.

Young talent waits patiently in the wings but Pep has stuck with the old guard instead of nurturing others.

Xavi Alonso and underwhelming summer signing Arturo Vidal started all-but two of the opening 17 Bundesliga fixtures, limiting talented 20-year-old Joshua Kimmich to 352 minutes of action. Pierre-Emile Hojberg, a highly regarded attacking midfielder, was farmed out on loan to Schalke after starring at Augsburg last season.

Guardiola is also yet to fully utilise Mario Gotze, instead preferring injury-prone duo Arjen Robben or Franck Ribery alongside Douglas Costa.

It means Carlo Ancelotti is likely to take on a squad with a number of players past their prime - hardly fitting the brief of preparing the next generation without requiring a total transfer-led overhaul.

And if the Spaniard also exits without a Champions League to boot, any thorough assessment will look back upon an unfulfilling time in Bavaria.

Do you think Bayern will win the Champions League this season? Have YOUR say by commenting below!

Carlo Ancelotti
Bayern Munich
Germany Football

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