As managerial departures go, Jupp Heynckes’s name doesn’t quite seem to fit the bill.
Following his side’s devastating form domestically and throughout Europe, the unjust call for his departure, is now looking a rather foolish one. Despite Bayern’s ruthless demolition of fellow European heavyweight’s Barcelona last week, the Munich boss will still be remarkably replaced at the end of the season by, the much sought after, Pep Guardiola. In a game, which showed the contrasting fortunes of both sides, goals from Thomas Muller, Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben secured a significant victory in Bayern’s conquest for European supremacy.
Within the electric atmosphere of the Allainz Arena, Bayern, purposeful and potent, bullied the Catalan giants into submission, and intern reinforced Guardiola’s decision to join the club. Barcelona, overly dependent on an unfit Lionel Messi, had no answer to Bayern’s overwhelming pace and physicality. Unable to deal with the constant barrage of Bayern attacks, Guardiola’s former club, let Bayern roll them over and tickle their tummies. Renowned as the competition’s so called ‘team to beat’, Barcelona looked a far cry from the side which ruled Europe under the wing of club legend, Guardiola.
After watching Tuesday’s game, it was clear to see that Guardiola is needed at one of these famous clubs, but not at Bayern Munich. Since his departure at the end of last season, Barcelona have shown increasing signs of fallibility in Europe. Despite being top of La Liga, Tito Vilanova’s side have regularly relied upon the untenable genius of Lionel Messi to escape a premature Champions League exit. Under par performances against lesser teams like AC Milan and PSG prove that the Munich mauling was no fluke. Regarded by some as the greatest club side ever, Barcelona seem to be descending.
Although the Catalans will probably clinch the La Liga title, they have been unable to defeat their bitter rivals Real Madrid all season. In Guardiola’s absence, Madrid have gained sufficient ground on their El Clasico rivals, knocking them out of both the Spanish Cup and Super Cup in the process. Living in the shadows of Barcelona’s recent achievments, Real Madrid, like many other teams around Europe, have learnt how to diffuse the dimming Catalan spark. Apparently, to the delight of Guardiola, not anyone can manage the mighty Barcelona.
Revitalised and ambitious, Bayern have bypassed Barcelona, looking to regain a stranglehold on European Football. Whilst Guardiola is ready to fill the shoes of his, more than capable German counterpart, it is clear that his services are still required in Catalonia. Blessed once again with an incredibly talented squad, will Guardiola, if his stint in Munich is successful, be viewed as a great manager or the ultimate opportunist?