Pep Guardiola was hired as the trainer of Bayern Munich last summer to fulfill one single purpose ai??i?? to make the German giants the team to beat both domestically & in Europe. While the former is being achieved there is a long way to go if the latter target is to be made a reality.

For most managers winning the domestic double in their first season at a club would amount to unqualified success. Add to that a couple of other trophies and the manager would be hailed as a miracle worker & would be talked about as a legend of the club.

Pep Guardiola though is not your average run of the mill manager and Bayern Munich FC is not a normal club. The former Barcelona legend was hired by Bayern after the most successful season in their history when former trainer Jupp Heynckes led the club to an unprecedented treble. The expectation for Guardiola was therefore to not only impose a new style of play for the Munich based club but to do it in such a way so that they build a trophy laden dynasty in much the same way that Barcelona had done between 2008 & 2012.

Heynckesai??i??s Bayern were all about pace, power & precision whereas Pep wanted to further evolve Bayernai??i??s play and make them more appreciative of the ball. Slowly but surely he got his players to adapt to his methods and Die Bayern were breaking all sorts of records on their way to sealing the Bundesliga.

However, in Europe they were dismantled 5-0 on aggregate by a Real Madrid side who were playing in a way similar to the Bayern side of 2012-13. There were two main reasons for this defeat.

Firstly, Bayern had won the domestic championship in March and had switched off thereafter and as anybody who is well versed with the beautiful game will tell you, form is not like a switch which can be turned on and off at will. The match sharpness, zeal & vigour which were so apparent throughout the season dropped a few notches and it was enough for Real to take advantage of.

Scoring Goals For Fun!

Ronaldo helped Real script a famous win over Bayern last season

Secondly, like Bayern had found a way to play against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals of 2013, Real had found a way to play against the Germans a year later. The tactics were simple ai??i?? play on the counter & make set pieces count.

Why a look back at last season is so important when assessing this season and its possibilities for Bayern is because a similar trend is developing this year.

Despite a slow start to the Bundesliga season Bayern Munich have now hit top gear and are scoring goals for fun and if they continue in the same vein then the title will be theirs in all but name by the time the rA?ckrunde starts especially with Borussia Dortmund struggling. This eventuality will again result in a situation where Die Bayern might be half cooked when the latter rounds of the Champions League come to pass.

Bayernai??i??s main rivals for the Champions League ai??i?? Barcelona & Real Madrid do not face the problem of a league title being decided early. Their rivalry along with the emergence of Atletico Madrid ensures that the La Liga will be decided in the last few matches of the season. Pep therefore will have to ensure that he keeps his players sufficiently motivated until the end of the season even if the Bundesliga is secured in early spring.

The one thing that Pep Guardiola has learnt from last season is that he has to use the 3-4-3 formation a lot more than he does. This formation allows the full backs to not only help in midfield when Bayern have possession but also reorganize into a 5-4-1 when facing a quick opposition break. The Spaniard has used Rafinha & Juan Bernat along with the ever dependable Philipp Lahm in these wide roles. These tactics also give Guardiola the freedom to use Mario Gotze or Thomas Muller in a floating role between the half way line and the opposition 6 yard box.

The only problem in using this formation is that it requires three quality centre backs and with the injuries to Javi Martinez & Holger Badstuber, Bayern are a little stretched in that department even after the addition of Medhi Benatia.

That though is a problem for another day as none bar the most elite teams in Europe will stretch Bayern to such an extent that they will start missing the defensive duo. But Pep will have to ensure that when they do meet these elite teams he has his tactics in order & his team charged up so as not to repeat the nightmare at the Allianz 6 months back.

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