Pep Guardiola during Bayern Munich's loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday. Odd Andersen / AFP / April 29, 2014
Pep Guardiola during Bayern Munich's loss to Real Madrid on Tuesday. Odd Andersen / AFP / April 29, 2014

‘Our limitations have been exposed’ says Bayern chief as Guardiola feels heat



Bayern Munich’s humbling Champions League defeat against Real Madrid will increase the pressure on coach Pep Guardiola to change his methods, which were being questioned even before Tuesday’s debacle.

Hailed as the world’s best coach when he arrived at the start of the season, Guardiola’s constant tactical switches are now seen as too clever for his own good while his side’s possession-based football has become predictable and toothless in the eyes of the critics.

Guardiola may have won the Bundesliga with seven matches to spare but domestic honours are seen as little more than an obligation at a club who want to be considered the best in the world.

Bayern looked anything but that on Tuesday as they crashed to a humiliating 4-0 home defeat in their semi-final second leg, ending their dream of becoming the first team to retain the Champions League.

It will be fascinating to see how Bayern respond in the summer transfer window after a night that exposed the shortcomings of the current crop of players.

“Real have a magnificent team at the moment and our limitations have been exposed to a certain extent tonight,” said chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge. “You get games like these, but we need to hold our nerve.

“Despite the anger you feel welling up inside, I think on days like these you have to stay calm, go home and try to do things better as of tomorrow.”

Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer looked insecure and his forays out of his penalty area were so reckless that he at times resembled maverick former Colombia keeper Rene Higuita.

The central defensive pairing of Dante and Jerome Boateng were all at sea, Bastian Schweinsteiger failed to dictate the midfield while Franck Ribery continued a miserable run of form in attack.

Striker Mario Mandzukic spent more time squabbling with his opponents that creating openings and was taken off at halftime. With Robert Lewandowski arriving from Borussia Dortmund in the summer, the Croatian forward’s place looks increasingly under jeopardy.

Bayern appear to have lost their way since winning the Bundesliga and Guardiola could be at fault for that as he has chopped and changed the team, making an average of five switches to the starting line-up for every game.

Yet the season is not over for Bayern as they still have the DFB-Pokal final against bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund, where defeat would pour more fuel on the fire.

In accepting the blame for the defeat, Guardiola insisted he would stick by his possession game.

“The reason for the defeat is that we didn’t do enough with the ball,” he said. “I can’t change what I feel and what I feel is that we must play with the ball and attack as much as possible.”

That would not have made welcome listening to Bayern’s plethora of influential former players, led by honorary president Franz Beckenbauer who is fast becoming the leading critic of Guardiola’s football.

A quick look at Bayern’s recent coaches shows that, for all their much-admired football administration, they are not a club who tolerate failure and Guardiola will be under intense scrutiny next season.

Four years ago, flamboyant Dutchman Louis van Gaal was flavour of the month after leading Bayern to the Bundesliga title and the Champions League final.

Less than one year later he was gone after failing to take on board suggestions from above about team selection and tactics. Uli Hoeness, the club president at the time, complained that Van Gaal was a one-man show who never took any advice.

He was among seven different Bayern coaches to have occupied the hot seat in the last 10 seasons.

Beckenbauer even suggested Bayern would struggle to beat relegation candidates Hamburg on Saturday.

“That is the best chance for Hamburg,” he said. “If Hamburg don’t take this chance, against such a battered team, then they really do belong in the second division.”

Follow us on Twitter @SprtNationalUAE

The specs: 2019 Mini Cooper

Price, base: Dh141,740 (three-door) / Dh165,900 (five-door)
Engine: 1.5-litre four-cylinder (Cooper) / 2.0-litre four-cylinder (Cooper S)
Power: 136hp @ 4,500rpm (Cooper) / 192hp @ 5,000rpm (Cooper S)
Torque: 220Nm @ 1,480rpm (Cooper) / 280Nm @ 1,350rpm (Cooper S)
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic
Fuel consumption, combined: 4.8L to 5.4L / 100km

Getting there

Etihad Airways flies daily to the Maldives from Abu Dhabi. The journey takes four hours and return fares start from Dh3,995. Opt for the 3am flight and you’ll land at 6am, giving you the entire day to adjust to island time.  

Round trip speedboat transfers to the resort are bookable via Anantara and cost $265 per person.  

Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff
By Sean Penn
Simon & Schuster

Washmen Profile

Date Started: May 2015

Founders: Rami Shaar and Jad Halaoui

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Laundry

Employees: 170

Funding: about $8m

Funders: Addventure, B&Y Partners, Clara Ventures, Cedar Mundi Partners, Henkel Ventures

Company Profile

Company name: EduPloyment
Date started: March 2020
Co-Founders: Mazen Omair and Rana Batterjee
Base: Dubai, UAE
Sector: Recruitment
Size: 30 employees
Investment stage: Pre-Seed
Investors: Angel investors (investment amount undisclosed)

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Director: Peyton Reed

Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas

Three stars

SPECS

Engine: 4-litre V8 twin-turbo
Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
Transmission: 8-speed Tiptronic automatic
Price: From Dh599,000
On sale: Now

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8


Abtal

Keep up with all the Middle East and North Africa athletes at the 2024 Paris Olympics

      By signing up, I agree to The National's privacy policy
      Abtal