Pep Guardiola makes long awaited Bayern debut

With the world’s eyes geared towards Munich, Pep Guardiola made his official entrance at Bayern Munich today.  A long line of reporters and photographers eagerly (nearly 300 from countries around the world) awaited the former Barcelona’s coach first ever press conference at the Allianz Arena and Guardiola did not disappoint, charmingly greeting everyone in the room in German and hailing in what many hope will be a new great era at the club.

It did not take long for Guardiola to start warming up to a quite dedicated audience, excusing his German and then elaborating on his new job and opportunity in German football.

It’s an honor, a real gift, not only to be here but also that Bayern Munich thought I would be deserving of being here.  There are only very few clubs with such a great history in the world – and it is for that history that I came here.

Guardiola will succeed Jupp Heynckes with whom the club won a historic first ever treble in German club football, raising the bar and putting immediate pressure on the 42-year-old to mirror that success.  But pressure is something he has always been familiar with, Guardiola said at the press conference.

I have to be able to live with this pressure. There is always that kind of pressure at a big club and here is no different.  I am aware of that. But I take on this big challenge as a coach. That’s why I am working as a coach. Sometimes you take over a club that has recently been relegated – that was the case in my first year with Barcelona B – and sometimes you take over a club that had trailed the champions by 18 points.

Expectations are already enormous in Germany with the official Bayern website set to cover the first training session as well as the team’s first couple of practice games with media coverage going into overdrive leading up to and following Guardiola’s conference.  Guardiola’s job, as well as the rest of Bayern, will now be to live up to and try deal with that pressure as best as possible without losing sight of the team’s development.

It would be arrogant to say that a new era is beginning at Bayern Munich.  I am going to try to maintain the great level and standards set by my predecessor who did an incredible job.

There has also been much speculation about how Guardiola would affect or influence Bayern’s style of play, particularly after such a successful year and how the squad would go from a father figure like Heynckes to what is essentially an unknown commodity in German football.  But if Guardiola’s dedication to learning German is any indicator, the team should be in good hands and Pep is not beyond making adjustments to a new league and environment to succeed.

I have to adjust to the players 100%. Football belongs to the players at the end of the day. The fans come to the Allianz Arena to see the players. I have to adjust to the high quality of the players at Bayern. The players are different to the players from Barcelona. The system does not matter.

Guardiola posing in the Bayern locker room for the very first time.
Guardiola posing in the Bayern locker room for the very first time.

Guardiola, whose great work with Barcelona’s youth team, set the foundation of his success with the first team has a similar structure in place at Bayern which aided his decision to ultimately take the job there and he is very much looking forward to working with the first team and the youth teams.

I was told many good things about the youth players here.  We will integrate a lot of them in training.  When you have a foundation like this you can only be grateful.

Pep finished the press conference by saying, “I am ready”.  And so will the fans.  25,000 are expected at the team’s first training session.  Whether he wants to admit it or not, a new era has definitely begun at Bayern.

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Cristian Nyari

Cristian is a football writer and analyst living in New York City, fascinated with the history and study of the beautiful game and all it entails. Follow Cristian on twitter @Cnyari

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