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Guardiola enters the Bayern spotlight

23 Jun 2013 10:18:20

Guardiola enters the Bayern spotlight

Pep Guardiola will hold his first press conference on Monday as Bayern Munich head coach with club captain Philipp Lahm insisting the European champions want to embark on a new era.

Six months after his appointment was announced in January, the ex-Barcelona boss takes charge of the Champions League winners looking to bring the same success to Munich he enjoyed at the Nou Camp.

"The goal is to turn this memorable year into an era," said Lahm after Bayern became the first German team to win the treble of European, cup and league titles last season.

"Our best years are yet to come, as odd as that might sound after winning the triple."

The 42-year-old Guardiola faces three key challenges following his year-long sabbatical from football in New York having won 14 titles in four years at Barcelona.

A new club: success is expected at Bayern and the demand for titles is relentless.

A poor season means they failed to win the Bundesliga while finishing outside the top three -- and the Champions League places -- normally leads to the coach being relieved of his duties.

Guardiola's predecessor Jupp Heynckes not only claimed the treble, the team also broke or equalled 25 records en route to the league title, dropping just 11 points last season.

A new team: Guardiola inherits an embarrassment of riches.

Despite scoring the winning goal in the Champions League final, Dutch wing Arjen Robben only returned to Heynckes' first-choice side following injury to Toni Kroos.

Mario Goetze's arrival from Borussia Dortmund means competition for midfield places will be fierce and Guardiola will have to deal with the inevitable ego clashes.

A new language: Guardiola is expected to give Monday's press conference in German and will show the results of his reported four hours of study per day while in New York.

German is not an easy language, but Guardiola can endear himself if he tackles Munich's Bavarian dialect spoken by several members of his squad.

From the moment Monday's press conference starts at the expected time of 1205 local time, the scrutiny will begin.

"Things will be a little bit hard for him," said ex-Bayern president Franz Beckenbauer, who captained and coached West Germany to World Cup titles.

"He has to repeat Jupp Heynckes' success, that can't be topped, unless he wins the Club World Cup in December.

"It will be damned difficult to match this success."

France winger Franck Ribery had a more tongue-in-cheek appraisal: "I don't know what more we can do. Invent a new trophy, perhaps?"

The on-field challenges will come thick and fast after Wednesday's first training session, open to fans with capacity for 25,000 at Munich's Allianz Arena.

Guardiola's ex-club Barcelona come to Munich for a friendly on July 24, then they face rivals Dortmund away on July 27 in the German Super Cup.

Borussia Moenchengladbach are the opening opponents when the Bundesliga starts on August 9.

Bayern take on Europa League winners Chelsea, who beat them in the 2012 Champions League final, in the European Super Cup on August 30 in Prague.

The German Super cup, Club World Cup and European Super Cup titles can all be added to the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles already collected in 2013.

"We will be hungry for more titles next season," said Lahm, insisting the team want the same success Bayern enjoyed in the 1970s when they won the European Cup three times in succession.

"We want to imitate the team of Sepp Maier, Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Mueller." Europe has been warned.


AFP

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