A few changes – not an overhaul – are expected when the former Barcelona manager takes charge at treble-winning German Bundesliga club on Monday.
Bayern Munich look to Pep Guardiola's 'new generation'
BERLIN // Pep Guardiola will give his first news conference as Bayern Munich manager next Monday, with the former Barcelona boss having been declared the right man to lead the Uefa Champions League winners' new generation by the coach he replaces.
Jupp Heynckes stood down as Bayern manager 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 seasons at Barcelona, this will be Guardiola's first appointment after a year's break with his family in New York, where, according to his brother, he has been learning German diligently.
Bayern have stressed Monday's opening news conference at Munich's Allianz Arena will be in German with Guardiola set to show off his hard-earned language skills from the start.
"Pep's done it like he always does things, obsessively. Four hours, every day, like a madman," his brother Pere Guardiola told magazine Spiegel, revealing how a German tutor was at the Spaniard's side on a recent trip to Europe.
Guardiola inherits a Bayern team in the rudest of health, ahead of his first training session on June 26, after the team broke or equalled 25 Bundesliga records, dropping just 11 points in the league last season.
Having signed from arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund, Germany midfielder Mario Goetze will only serve to strengthen a squad stacked with talent, once his hamstring injury has healed.
Both new additions centre-back Dante and defensive midfielder Javi Martinez were outstanding in their first season at Bayern, while Franck Ribery dazzled on the left wing and Thomas Mueller made the right flank his own.
Only injury to Toni Kroos forced Mueller to move into central midfield, allowing Arjen Robben to come off the bench to return to the right wing and the Dutchman went on to score the winning goal in the Champions League final.
Guardiola is unlikely to make too many initial 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.
"There are parallels between Barcelona and Bayern. They are both historic clubs with a huge history and he knows they develop players.
"Players like Philipp Lahm, Holger Badstuber, Thomas Mueller or Bastian Schweinsteiger came up through the system. That's something he would like."
Having removed Samuel Eto'o, Deco and Ronaldinho from the squad in his first season at Barcelona in 2008, Guardiola has shown he is not afraid to drop players not guaranteed first-team football.
The likes of striker Mario Gomez, who has already been linked to Italy, and to some extent even Robben, may soon be looking for employment elsewhere.
"He will look at the squad and then make decisions," said Fernandez. "Additions and disposals are part of the business. That will not be much difference at Bayern than at any other club.
"Still, it is a big squad and they aren't Champions League winners for nothing."
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