The Pep Episodes XVIII
This article is part of a partnership with Grup 14, an organization dedicated to Futbol Club Barcelona and supporters around the world. The Pep Episodes are created by Alex Truica and originally published at Grup14.com
The week didn’t particularly start the way supporters, players and officials of Bayern Munich are used to. It started with a loss. Their first of the season. In an interesting game, Bayern was defeated by Arsenal at the Emirates (0-2). Some say it was an unlucky defeat, others say it was a deserved one because Bayern showed their same old flaws – probably a bit of both. They had some chances, Arsenal defended well and had chances too, especially through Walcott, whose header was miraculously saved by Neuer. Just when everybody on the internet was still busy praising the heroics of the world champion, he made an error, charging off his line to punch a free-kick away, only to miss it completely. Giroud was the beneficiary. Again, there was astonishment and disbelief everywhere, but this time a rather unexpected one. But Bayern were over and done with the unusual feeling of losing a game, more so because not much happened in their Champions League group, since they are still top of the table.
On Saturday, the mood at the Allianz Arena was up to its best (or same old) again. The atmosphere was dominated by celebrations, cheerfulness and free beer. It might be repetitive and somehow even exhausting, but Bayern set yet another milestone in an autumn full of records. The Bavarians crushed opponent 1. FC Köln 4-0, bagging their 1000th win in the Bundesliga. They are, of course, by far the first German team to achieve this. “A thousand wins is outstanding. All credit goes to our fans, players, coaches and staff at FC Bayern who contributed to this. We coaches know just how hard it is to achieve wins. 1000 shows how big this club is. I’m proud to be Bayern Munich coach,” Pep Guardiola was full of praise in his post match conference.
They expected a rigid, deep lying and bus-parking opponent. Therefore, Guardiola played a risky line up with six attacking minded players. The front five have been Lewandowski, Müller, Costa, Coman and, yes, Robben, who had his much awaited comeback. Needless to say: he immediately scored the opener on his return. “I’m so happy about returning to the pitch,” Robben said afterwards. His coach was happy too. “He has the mentality, professionalism and charisma and a feeling for scoring goals. And of course an incredible ability in one-on-ones,” Guardiola said about the Dutchman, “We need that and I missed it.” They are “insatiable”, noted Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), explaining: “More than ever, the team developed a mentality of never being satisfied. The current win doesn’t count, only the next one matters.”
Guardiola knows Bayern need Robben to achieve their objectives – all three titles. But since the Bundesliga is pretty much a sure-fire success, they need him especially for the long awaited Champions League triumph under the Catalan’s reign.
The Bavarians are piling up win after win, and they want to pile up trophies too – for both they need Guardiola. At least that’s what they are thinking at the club, and that’s what they said to him too. His contract ends next summer, and captain Lahm admitted that he talked to Guardiola, asking him to prolong his stay in Munich. “We want him to stay,” Lahm said, revealing that he was talking on behalf of the entire dressing room. Chairman Rummenigge added: “There is much on the plate for Bayern, but probably there are other good looking brides out there too.” That quotation caused Süddeutsche Zeitung to write: “The bride is still waiting”, while FAZ said it’s “waiting for Santa Claus”, since Guardiola is Bayern’s Santa and his signature would be the biggest “gift” for the Bavarians.
And what is Guardiola saying to all this? You can surely figure it out by yourself: Nothing. Asked about a contract extension, he said, fed up with the question: “Please, stop asking.” Maybe Bayern really have to wait until Christmas for his decision. Until then, they surely will celebrate after a couple more comfortable wins and probably even more records.
The Pep Episodes is a weekly column about the adventures of Pep Guardiola in Munich exclusively written for Grup14 by Alex Truica, a freelance sports journalist and editor. You can follow him on Twitter .