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'We have to perfect the details'

100 days of Guardiola: A good start

The biggest culture shock is still to come for Pep Guardiola: on Sunday the team will be going to the Oktoberfest. At the moment, it is looking like the Catalan will be able to master the performance. He has the Lederhosen and has found some inner joy with the combination of dress, beer and party. “It is fantastic. I like it,“ he said, speaking about Munich’s famous Wiesn. After 100 days with Bayern, this is not the only reason that everyone feels something big is developing here.
New culture, new language, new club, new team and a new league: many things were different for Guardiola when he was unveiled on July 24th. “I need time,” he often repeated, knowing he would not have a period of grace at FC Bayern. Guardiola had to show results immediately, and he did. Not only did he win the UEFA Super Cup, but only one coach has had a better start with Bayern in the Bundesliga. Otto Rehhagel opened with seven wins in 1995/96. Guardiola has six wins and one draw (like Ottmar Hitzfeld in 1998/99).

“It was obvious he would need time to combine the system of Barcelona with Bayern Munich. But I’m sure the two are slowly merging, and I’m convinced that something great will come of it,”  Uli Hoeneß said, very pleased with the early weeks of the ex-Barcelona coach. In spite of his great success with Barcelona, Guardiola is working “meticulously and ambitiously,” the president reports. “It is a lot of fun to work with him. I’m very happy that we have him. There’s always a feeling we’re getting somewhere.“

It is clear something has changed since Guardiola's arrival. “I love to attack,” he said when he first started. He plays with a 4-1-4-1 formation, with very attacking full-backs and very flexible attacking players. The holding midfielder often drops very deep. The latter is a concession to the Bundesliga. “I’ve noticed you have to guard against counter attacks in Germany. We have to keep control of the game and possession to be successful.”

The players are enthusiastic after the first few weeks. “His ideas are incredible,” Bastian Schweinsteiger said. “it’s obvious he’s having a lot of fun. He gives great team talks,” Thomas Müller reports. Sporting director Matthias Sammer describes the atmosphere created by the team and coach to be “fantastic from the first day. The basics are there, now we have to work on details.”

Guardiola’s ideas have met with approval from Karl-Heinz Rummenigge: “He has changed quite a bit at the club. That’s precisely what we needed after our huge success last season. Looking back you have to admit, everything he’s changed was sensible and has helped the team reach a new level,” the chairman enthused: “We know we have a superb coach, probably the best coach in the world. We’re extremely happy about that.”

Guardiola is “pleased” with his first 100 days. “I'm getting to know the team a bit more every day, and I’m getting the feeling that we work very well together. I feel the players are prepared to follow my lead.” The Oktoberfest may be the one exception, because that’s where the team may lead Guardiola.