When Pep Guardiola came to Bayern Munich in 2013, they were the undisputed Champions of Europe. Jupp Heynckes had taken the German club to glory in the Champions League and the DFB-Pokal, Germany’s domestic cup competition, and lead to them to the league title, finishing 26 points clear of second place Borussia Dortmund. Since arriving at the Allianz Arena however, Guardiola has failed to conquer Europe, being knocked out in the semi-finals in three successive years.
The Spaniard was no stranger to European success, winning the Champions League twice at Barcelona in his first job in management. He had built a team, based around the magic of Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi, that was being talked about as possibly the best club football had ever seen.
The 45-year-old hasn’t found it as easy in Germany however. In every season he has spent with the Bavarians they have been among the favourites to win Europe’s biggest price, but on each occasion have fallen at the penultimate stage, every one of which to Spanish opposition.
In 2014 they were outclassed by Real Madrid, and a similar story followed against his former club Barcelona the following year. Tuesday’s tie with Atletico was the tightest of the three, but they were deservedly knocked out by a tactically superior team.
Although he won the title in all of his three seasons with Bayern, Guardiola’s reign will be remembered for his performances in the Champions League. His closest rivals during the period, Borussia Dortmund have failed to mount a serious title challenge until this season, and even that looks likely to fall short.
Guardiola can have no excuses for his failure to bring the trophy back to Munich. He has had transfer funds made available to him, and one of the top strikers in the world, Robert Lewandowski. For a man who prides himself on the success his clubs have had in Europe, his time there must be remembered as a failure.
In February, Manchester City announced Guardiola as their new manager in a move described by some as the greatest managerial coup in English football history, but they will certainly hope he has more success in the Champions League than he did at Bayern Munich.