|Coveted coach Guardiola opts for Bayern
Bayern Munich have pulled off a coup for the German league by recruiting Pep Guardiola as head coach for next season in a move that can only serve to enhance the Bundesliga's profile.
Having hinted at future plans to coach in England in London, Guardiola was then announced as Bayern's new coach for the 2013/14 season with current boss Jupp Heynckes, 67, to step down in June, AFP reports.
Since walking away from Barcelona last June, Europe's top clubs have all been vying for the Spaniard's services.
The 41 year-old’ record is extensive: twice winning the Champions League title as Barcelona coach, in 2009 and 2011, and claiming nine Spanish league titles, plus lifting the Spanis League Cup four times as either a player or manager.
Compared with him, Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson's 12 Premier League titles and five FA Cup certainly betters Guardiola's record, but the Spaniard is exactly 30 years younger.
Having finished the last two seasons without winning any silverware, Bayern rightly feel the flush of their coup having attracted someone of Guardiola's calibre.
The Bavarians are still smarting from last May's misery when they conceded both the German league and cup to current champions Borussia Dortmund, and then lost the Champions League final at their own stadium to Chelsea.
Chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was in buoyant mood as Bayern upstaged their English rivals to secure Guardiola's signature.
“We are delighted we've succeeded in bringing expert coach Pep Guardiola, who has been pursued and contacted by many big-name clubs, to FC Bayern,’’ he said with Guardiola set to be presented in a press conference on Friday.
“Pep Guardiola is one of the most successful coaches in the world, and we're certain he will add great flair to both FC Bayern and German football. We're looking forward to the partnership from July 2013.’’
Despite all his success at Barcelona, Guardiola will have his work cut out at Bayern, where immediate success is demanded.
Ex-German national coach and current USA boss Jurgen Klinsmann lasted 10 months before he was sacked in April 2009 with his team second in the league as VfL Wolfsburg won the league title. Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal was dismissed in April 2011 despite winning the league and cup double, plus having reached the 2010 Champions League final, the season before.
But Switzerland manager Ottmar Hitzfeld, who coached Bayern to their 2001 Champions League win and five Bundesliga titles, said Guardiola will fit in.
“He's one of the best coaches in the world, has worked successfully and fits the mentality of Bayern Munich,’’ said the 64-year-old. “He is a coach who shows restraint and is very communicative within the club, which is also important at Bayern Munich. He's young and now has half a year to learn the German language. This fits perfectly.’’