Bayern Munich waits for Pep’s ‘new generation’
BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
Catalan football icon Pep Guardiola has replaced German Jupp Heynckes as the Bayern Munich coach. REUTERS photoPep Guardiola will give his first press conference as Bayern Munich coach next Monday with the ex-Barcelona boss having been declared the right man to lead the Champions League winners’ new generation by the coach he replaces.
Jupp Heynckes stood down as Bayern coach at the start of June having steered the Bavarian giants to an historic treble, becoming the first German club to win the league, cup and European titles in the same season.
Not even the great Bayern team of the 1970s matched the feat when they won three European Cup titles in consecutive seasons from 1974-76.
Munich have reached the Champions League final three times in the last four seasons and Heynckes is backing Guardiola to build on Bayern’s success, insisting the Spaniard’s appointment is the “right decision for a new generation.”
“I wish Guardiola the very best and lots of success, because his team was mine,” said the 68-year-old Heynckes, 26 years Guardiola’s senior.
“I would be happy if Bayern win the Bundesliga and the Champions League again.”
Having won 14 titles, out of a possible 19, in four years at Barcelona, this will be Guardiola’s first appointment after a year’s break in New York, where he has been learning German diligently.
Guardiola inherits a Bayern team in the rudest of health, ahead of his first training session on June 26, after the team broke or equaled 25 Bundesliga records, dropping just 11 points in the league last season.
Having signed from arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund, Germany midfielder Mario Götze will only serve to strengthen a squad stacked with talent, once his hamstring injury has healed.
Both new additions defender Dante and defensive midfielder Javi Martinez were outstanding in their first season at Bayern, while Franck Ribery dazzled on the left wing and Thomas Müller made the right flank his own.
Pep is unlikely to make too many changes, according to his friend and former Barcelona teammate Abelardo Fernandez.
“I think he will come in, make a personal assessment of the team and will analyse each player,” the 43-year-old former defender told the Bundesliga website.
“He knows, of course, that it will be incredibly hard to top this incredible season by Jupp Heynckes. But he also knows that he has, just as he had at Barcelona, a huge squad and great conditions to attack the targets he has been set.
“If he had any doubts, you can be sure he wouldn’t have accepted the new challenge.”