Lothar Matthaus believes that Pep Guardiola has successfully imposed his tiki-taka brand of football on Bayern Munich this season.
The Bavarians have started the campaign strongly following the DFL Supercup defeat to Borussia Dortmund, with the 1-1 draw with Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday moving them top of the Bundesliga just a few days after an indomitable performance against Manchester City in the Champions League.
And former Bayern star Matthaus feels Guardiola has begun to mold the current Roten side into a similar shape and style to that of previous club Barcelona.
"I would say that it's tika-taka in Bavaria," Matthaus told Sky Deutschland. "This is football as we have known it in the past from Spain. These are the innovations in the Bayern team."
Another significant shift this season has seen Philipp Lahm displaced from his accustomed position at fullback and utilized by Guardiola in midfield, an experiment Matthaus insists has been vital in the absence of Javi Martinez.
"He smells the ball," Matthaus said of Lahm. "He realizes what the enemy is up to. It is so important for Guardiola, because he is a defensive-minded player, not like [Bastian] Schweinsteiger or [Toni] Kroos."
Bayern moved a point clear of Borussia Dortmund on Saturday after the draw with Leverkusen, and Matthaus believes the club has benefitted from favorable refereeing decisions along the way to augment its improved play.
"That's a feeling you can get," Matthaus admitted when asked if Die Roten received preferential treatment from officials. "There have been some situations this season and one can already get the idea that Bayern is preferred [by referees] in one situation or another."
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- Borussia Dortmund