In his first test as Bayern Munich manager after taking a year off from football, Pep Guardiola, who had previously won 14 of 19 titles available to him in four years at Barcelona, lost the German Super Cup — the most important of the totally unimportant domestic titles — by a score of 4-2 to Borussia Dortmund. This, mind you, is a rival who Bayern finished 20 points ahead of in the Bundesliga and beat in the Champions League final (and the Super Cup) on their way to winning the treble under Jupp Heynckes last season.
In the 76th minute, with Dortmund up 3-2 despite Arjen Robben scoring in both the 54th and 64th minutes, Guardiola's released his frustration with a slap to Thiago's face. This could be explained by the fact that Thiago and Guardiola already have a comfortable rapport, having both joined the club from Barcelona, and that Guardiola has a tendency to get a bit heavy handed in the heat of competition (just ask Cesc Fabregas). But it's more dramatic to assume that Guardiola has already lost his mind before the season has even begun.
While Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp was full of praise for his victory, Guardiola further displayed this insanity by claiming that it was Bayern who "did things right" in the match while playing without first-choice goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and UEFA Best Player in Europe nominee Franck Ribery. From the AP:
"The game was simply brilliant," Dortmund coach Juergen Klopp said. "To have won it is just awesome." [...]
"I don't have the feeling that they played much better than us," said Guardiola, who will have to wait a bit longer for his first title with Bayern. As Barcelona coach, he had taken 14 of the 19 titles on offer during four years in charge.
"It's football. It can happen," Guardiola said. "We played well, we did things right. We played against a strong team, who played the Champions League final. But I'm honored for my players. It's a good lesson for us. After one month, I am very happy with our performance."
Yes, Bayern played a strong team who played the Champions League final (and lost to Bayern). And above all, Bayern did things "right." They had 64.1 percent of possession (despite allowing four goals — including one in the sixth minute and an own goal in the 56th minute), which, to Guardiola, is better than having an orgasm while eating ice cream and winning at blackjack. Because to Pep, there is virtue and sin. Black and white. A right way and a wrong way to play football. And his way is the right way, even when it's not.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Jupp Heynckes, who retired as an infallible saint and possibly also a mythical dragon, was not pleased with this result. Yet he still knows Guardiola can only succeed with his fashionable clothes and the perfect team comprised of guys who are still Jupp's. It's the kind of undeniable situation that Heynckes might even try to jinx by asking, "What could possibly go wrong?" From Goal.com:
"I barely managed a team which was that perfect and so focused to succeed," he told ZDF Sportstudio. "Of course I'm not amused [by the loss], these are still my guys.
"The team isn't that far from showing a top performance. Pep looks very good, is well-dressed and has a perfect team.
"What could possibly go wrong?"
We could say that it takes time to implement a new system, even with a great team at a proven manager's disposal and that Guardiola was far too busy building towards a new, previously unthinkable level of sustained dominance done the right way to care about the result of a Super Cup match. But impatience is a virtue in football. So instead we will panic on his behalf. THE SKY IS FALLING! PEP IS SLAPPING! JUPP IS NOT AMUSED! Arjen Robben will never survive.
- Sports & Recreation
- Pep Guardiola
- Bayern Munich
- Jupp Heynckes
- Arjen Robben
- Borussia Dortmund