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Guardiola era dawns for Bayern Munich

24 Jun 2013 00:18:06

Guardiola era dawns for Bayern Munich

Josep "Pep" Guardiola will bring a touch of glamour to the Bundesliga on Monday when the 42-year-old faces the world's media in his first press conference as head coach of European champions Bayern Munich.

Since it was announced on January 16 that Guardiola will replace Jupp Heynckes, the arrival of the ex-Barcelona manager in the Bavarian capital has been hotly anticipated.

Expectations are high: Bayern have switched Guardiola's first two training session to Munich's Allianz Arena with up to 25,000 fans expected.

After six months of intensive tutoring, his opening press conference at 1205 local time (1005 GMT) is expected to be in German, with a translator for the Spanish media.

His mother tongue is Catalan, but he has a flair for languages having picked up his first English words as a seven-year-old then learnt Italian during spells with Brescia and Roma, but is working hard on mastering German.

After winning 14 titles between 2008 and 2012 at Barcelona, Guardiola was in hot demand by the world's top clubs during his self-imposed year's sabbatical with his family in New York.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris St Germain all wanted him, but "he opted for Bayern, because the club offered the most interesting project," explained Guardiola's advisor Joseph Maria Orobitg.

Guardiola first approached Bayern in July 2011 when he casually mentioned to chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and president Uli Hoeness that he could imagine coaching their team.

Further contact was established in April 2012 and the three-year contract was finally signed "just after Christmas" according to Rummenigge.

Orobitg has said the Bayern deal was not the most lucrative on offer, but is still estimated to be worth around 15 million euros per season (US$19.7m, £12.7m), before tax.

His backroom staff will be made up of assistant coach Domenec Torrent, scout and video analyst Carles Planchart, fitness trainer Lorenzo Buenaventura and confidant Manel Estiarte.

His brother and agent Pere will also be with him and Bayern's assistant coach Hermann "Tiger" Gerland stays on having served under Heynckes.

Much has been written of the Tiki Taka quick-passing football Barcelona perfected under Guardiola, but it remains to be seen whether he switches from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-3 formation.

He has the players to do that with Germany's Thomas Mueller and Franck Ribery on right and left wings respectively with new arrival Mario Goetze in the middle.

"Nothing is more dangerous than risking nothing," Guardiola once said, favouring an offensive game although last season's treble success under Heynckes was built on a rock-solid defence.

New arrivals so far are Goetze (from Borussia Dortmund) and Jan Kirchhoff (from Mainz 05) while Anatoliy Tymoshchuk signed for Zenit St Petersburg and Nils Petersen for Werder Bremen.

Germany striker Mario Gomez is set to leave having lost his first-team place to Mario Mandzukic.

Gardiola's first training session on Wednesday will be without midfielders Luiz Gustavo and Javi Martinez, as well as defender Dante, all on Confederations Cup duty in Brazil.

Likewise Holland's Robben, Croatia's Mandzukic and Austria's David Alaba are all away with their nations, while Goetze has a hamstring injury and defender Holger Badstuber has a long-term knee injury.

A free spirit Guardiola, campaigned for the independence of Catalonia and intimate Barcelona connoisseurs have described him as "manic-obsessive" in his quest for "perfection".

Bayern became the first German team to win the treble of European, cup and league titles, breaking or equalling 25 Bundesliga records in the process and dropping just 11 league points last season.

A desire for perfection may not be a bad character trait for the new Bayern boss.


AFP

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