While many fans and pundits have deemed Pep Guardiola’s time at Bayern Munich to be a failure, due to the fact that he was unable to win the UEFA Champions League during his tenure, there were many reasons to think other wise:
1. Expanding the International Brand
After Bayern Munich’s historic treble in 2013, they wanted to capitalize on their success they earned on the pitch. They sought to expand their popularity around the world. The first order of business was to sign the best available manager on the market at the time. With the signing of Pep Guardiola, they were able to attract big name players to the Allianz Arena such as Xabi Alonso, Thiago Alcantara, Mario Gotze, Robert Lewandowkski, and Arturo Vidal. Bayern no longer have to lure top players on the basis of guaranteeing first team playing time. Players are willing to compete for their spots in the line-up. Also, after Bayern signed Guardiola, they opened up offices in the United States to promote themselves to an American fanbase. Pep Guardiola was instrumental in attracting more fans from the United States to support Die Roten.
Before Pep Guardiola arrived at Bayern Munich, clubs like Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund were able to dethrone Munich as Champions of the Bundesliga. In the Bundesliga, Pep Guardiola was able to capitalize on Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga success in 2012/2013. As a result, Munich won the Bundesliga three times in a row during his tenure.
When it comes to the Champions League, before Bayern’s historic treble in 2013, they had a bipolar time in the knockout rounds, as they one season go to the final, then the next, get knocked out in the last-16. Despite Not winning a Champions League title during his tenure, Bayern Munich have consistently reached the semi-finals of the competition, cementing their status as a consistent contender for the Champions League Crown.
While many people consider Pep to be a failure Bayern Munich, the elephant in the room was injuries. Throughout his time at the Sabener Strasse, Pep was unable to pick his best-XI consistently throughout the entire season. Against FC Barcelona in the semi-finals, Guradiola was unable to pick star winger Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, hinder their ability to hit the Blaugrana on the counter-attack. During the 2015/2016 season, the injuries piled up to a point where Pep Guardiola did not play a recognized center-back for a certain period of time. Against Juventus in the last-16 of the Champions League, he was forced to play left-back David Alaba and midfielder Joshua Kimmich in the center of defense. While they progressed at the scruff of their necks, they had a difficult time in defending during crucial points during both matches.
4. The margins between winning and losing are so small.
While Munich were beaten by clearly better teams in Real Madrid and Barcelona in Guardiola’s first attempts in the Champions League, last season’s semi-final bout against Atletico Madrid was decided by fine margins. Even though Munich lost 1-0 away at the Vincente Calderon, the tie was all to play for at the Allianz Arena. In the second leg, Xabi Alonso put Munich on the board early on in the match, then just before half-time, Madrid center-back Jose Gimenez took down Thomas Muller in the box. Muller had the opportunity to put Bayern Munich up 2-0, but Muller had his penalty saved by Jan Oblak. Had Bayern been up 2-0, they could have saw the game out and had the opportunity to play in the Champions League final.