Pep and Bayern Play Barca’s Way and Lose Their Way

You can only beat Barcelona when you take the ball away from them. When they have the ball they are too strong.

~ Pep Guardiola, 12 May 2015

Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola is vastly different from the Jupp Heynckes team that won the Champions League Final in 2013. Just two years ago, Bayern was thrashing Barcelona. It was a different Barcelona that lacked the strength provided by Luis Suarez. It was the aging, creaky Barcelona that Xavi and Iniesta still led. Pep was already gone. Now, Barcelona looks unstoppable. They are as good as the best team Pep assembled. So the question is whether or not Pep should try to re-create a German version of his greatest Barcelona teams or create something different, that’s maybe better.

This particular Bayern showed a lot of courage and heart in the return leg. They were dynamic, pressing, and creative, but still were exposed defensively by arguably the best front three ever assembled. Pep’s Bayern pressed and did an admirable job of keeping possession, and, despite winning the match, lost the tie and are now out of the Champions League.

After last night, if Bayern Munich is going to try to become Bavarian Barcelona, it’s time to rebuild. Personally, I think they should look to build on the strength they already have. Pep’s going to get it right. It will be interesting to see where he and Bayern land.