He was the most wanted man in football, coveted by Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. Yet as Pep Guardiola was officially unveiled as Bayern Munich’s manager today, the former Barcelona boss says he has “no fear” about taking on arguably the toughest job of them all.
Bayern’s unprecedented success last season – they became the first German club to land the treble of Bundesliga, DFB Pokal and Champions League under Jupp Heynckes – means Guardiola will have his work cut out just to maintain standards but, significantly, bwin make him just 6/1 to repeat last season’s remarkable trophy haul.
Guardiola won 14 trophies in just four years as coach at Camp Nou and became the most sought-after manager in world football upon taking a 12-month sabbatical in the summer of 2012.
Yet despite strong interest from the Premier League, Guardiola surprised most observers by agreeing to move to the Allianz Arena, becoming the first ever Spanish manager in the Bundesliga.
Since deciding to join Bayern, the club have had their most successful season ever.
Yet the 42 year-old, speaking in fluent German, said in his inaugural press conference that he had no problem with the expectations he now faces and is pleased that, in contrast to the situation he inherited at Barcelona, the team is in great shape.
“I must accept the comparison,” Guardiola said. “I have to be able to live with that. I am under pressure, of course, but I know this and I accept this challenge without fear and that is why I am the coach.
“Sometimes you take over a team on the way down… like in my first year as professional coach. This situation is completely different. It is a good thing it is different. I take over a team that played exceptionally in the last season. They won three titles. This is the situation. When you are Bayern coach you always have pressure to play well.”
So the pressure is on – but how will Guardiola fare? Perhaps there is no bigger sign of the expectation of success than bwin’s quote of 6/1 for Bayern to repeat the triumphs of last season by winning the same treble: a very short price for such a rare achievement.
But if winning all three trophies will be difficult even given the team he inherits, Guardiola can surely bank on bagging at least some silverware. Bayern are just 11/50 to retain the Bundesliga, even money to win the German Cup and just 51/20 to win a second successive Champions League.
In our Guardiola specials section, we also look at how he will fare relative to his former club.
Bayern are 7/5 to go further in next year’s Champions League than Barcelona, who are 33/20 to do better than their German rivals (the tie is 2/1), while Munich are 11/10 to win the Champions League under the Spaniard before his contract ends in 2016.
And as if they weren’t good enough already, Bayern are 28/1 to sign Lionel Messi while Guardiola is manager.